We want to respect other cultures and their unique tastes in food and drink. But sometimes, they’re simply wrong. There are soft drinks on the market around the globe that are clearly unfit for human consumption. Here, you will find out the strangest soft drink from rainbow-colored beer to “Viagra” made from frogs, there’s an unusual beverage to delight or disgust just about every taste.
1. Celery Soda
Not just some kooky novelty beverage, Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray is a drink extracted from celery seeds that have been around since the 18-freaking-60s. We’d imagine the ads featured guys cracking open a cold can and rubbing it across their sweaty forehead after leaving the Civil War battlefield.
Since then, Cel-Ray has become a common item in the city of New York, and in Jewish delicatessens here and there, having totally captured the market in celery-flavored soda that, for some strange reason, no other beverage maker has even bothered to enter in a century and a half.
2. Cannabis Drink (For Kids)
Switzerland has apparently produced several varieties of this product, which manufacturers claim is made from hemp resin but has no THC (the stuff that gets you high). We’re assuming that kind of defeats the point for their target customers, especially considering the can above promises you’ll “get the magic power” of hemp seeds.
3. Panda Dung Tea
A Chinese entrepreneur is hoping pandas will do for tea what the civet did for coffee. An Yanshi, a calligraphy professor at Sichuan University, has patented a way to grow green tea in the poop pandas. Sichuan is home to the Ya’an Bifengxia panda base, which houses 80 captive pandas.
A markets his creation under the name Panda Ecological Tea, which is divided into three grades and sold in a limited edition of 21 50-gram (1.7oz) packages. The highest grade was offered for 440.000 (US$72,000) per kilogram, 10 times the cost of a rare 1960s box of Wu-Yi narcissus oolong tea from Hong Kong.
At the presentation of his new tea, An, dressed in a panda suit, said that pandas absorb less than 30 percent of the nutrition from their food (bamboo), and that the remaining 70% of the nutrients is passed out in their feces, making his panda poo tea both nutritious and delicious.
4. Placenta 10.000
For the female consumer seriously concerned with aging, nothing beats products based on placentophagy, the practice of ingesting a baby’s placenta after giving birth. The placenta—a temporary uterine organ that supplies oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby via the umbilical cord—contains high levels of iron, vitamin B-12, and hormones. Eating it is said to increase a new mother’s energy and breast milk production, while decreasing postpartum depression and bleeding, and making her younger look. But what if you want the benefits of the placenta without all the fuss of giving birth? Enter Nihon Sofuken’s Placenta 10000, a sippable, peach flavored jelly made from the placental extract of pigs. Never mind that the benefits of placentophagy haven’t been scientifically proven. Plenty of companies still sell placenta as a youth-enhancing ingredient, in everything from chips and tablets to drinks and smoothies.
5. Cow Water
Four years ago, India’s leading Hindu cultural group developed gau jal (“cow water”) as a “healthy alternative” to soft drinks. Hindus have long worshiped cows for their life-sustaining dairy products, but Ayurvedic tradition also holds that bovine urine and feces can be used to cure ailments ranging from liver complaints to diabetes and cancer.
The good folks in the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh said they hoped the group’s new soft drink would give a wider market the chance to enjoy the health giving properties of cow piss, in a form they promised would not smell or taste like urine.
Although gau jal has yet to appear in US supermarkets, it has found a niche market in Italy, where it is sold as “acqua di vacca.”
A brewery in Hokkaido, Japan, recently released a low-malt beer using milk. The idea came from the son of a liquor store who is in the dairy farm industry. After having a problem of discarding milk, he proposed the local brewery to produce the milk beer. As one-third of beer is milk, it is the good way to help local farmers. The taste of the beer is like a taste of fruits and it goes well with sweets. Because of its fruity flavor, Bilk hopes to be popular among women.
A drink called Cocaine, marketed as a “legal alternative” to the drug? Add in 350% more caffeine than a can of Red Bull and a throat-numbing ingredient to simulate the effects of the drug, and it sounds like you’ve got a recipe for a real beverage winner. The FDA disagreed, and in 2007 briefly mandated that the drink could no longer be marketed under the Cocaine name. Its name was changed to Censored and eventually Insert Name Here (no doubt inviting customers to come up with their own, less flattering name), but it was pulled from shelves altogether later that year. Like its namesake, though, the drink may have proved a hard habit to quit: it is apparently being sold again under its original name.
8. Peruvian Viagra
Lake Titicaca in Peru, the highest navigable lake in the world, is home to Telmatobius coleus, the main ingredient in rana y maca (“frog juice”), also known as “Peruvian Viagra”
Rana y maca is made by taking a live frog from an aquarium and banging it against a counter until it is dead or unconscious (reports on this point vary). Two incisions are then made in the frog’s belly, which is skinned as if husking corn. The frog is liquefied in a blender with the hot bean broth, honey, aloe vera, and maca (an Andean root also believed to boost stamina and sex drive). Once strained, the result is a starchy, milkshake-like liquid that stings the throat.
Unfortunately, the fad consumption of “Peruvian Viagra” has led to the endangerment of Telmatobius coleus, which according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, threatens Lake Titicaca’s entire ecosystem.