Hank's Gourmet Sodas Review - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Hank's Gourmet Sodas Review
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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Hank’s Gourmet Sodas

[1] Treat yourself to soda made with real sugar, not high fructose corn syrup (photo © Hank’s Beverage Company).

[2] A selection of Hank’s Gourmet Sodas (photo © Hank’s Beverage Company).

[3] Better sodas make better floats (photo © Shag Photo | iStock Photo).

[4] Incorporate Hank’s sodas into cocktails, like Caribbean Recipe Ginger Beer in a Moscow Mule (photo © Arch Rock Fish [now closed]).


Hank’s Gourmet Sodas were launched in 1996 in greater Philadelphia.

Initially, the line was sold primarily through bars and restaurants, as a tastier alternative to mass-market, HFCS-sweetened brands.

The quality carbonated beverages were a success, and the line grew in size and popularity.

Soda lovers—and we are related to a few of them—loved them when we shared our samples. We, too, became fans.

Made with cane sugar, the craft soda line has eight flavors (one is sugar-free), plus two fall seasonal specialties.

They’re sold in 12-ounce glass bottles:

  • Birch Beer
  • Caribbean Recipe Ginger Beer
  • Diet Root Beer (sweetened with aspartame)
  • Grape
  • Orange Cream
  • Root Beer
  • Vanilla Cream
  • Wishniak* Black Cherry
  • Seasonal: Caramel Apple Cream, Pumpkin Spice
    The pure flavor leaps out of the glass, whether straight from the bottle, in a glass or in an ice cream soda.

    As a feel-good bonus, the beverage orders are processed by SpArc Philadelphia, an organization that helps people with disabilities.

    The website sells 12-packs of individual flavors, plus a variety pack.

    We sent a some as Valentine gifts.

    Get yours at HanksBeverages.net.

    High-fructose corn syrup is an artificial sugar made from corn syrup. It’s a common sweetener in sodas and fruit-flavored drinks.

    Excessive consumption of fructose or HFCS can lead to insulin resistance, a condition that can result in type 2 diabetes.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, as the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup has increased, so have levels of obesity and related health problems.

    Per the CDC, as of 2018 10.5% of the US population—had diabetes. 34.1 million adults aged 18 years or older—or 13.0% of all U.S. adults—had diabetes.

    More than 34 million Americans have diabetes (about 1 in 10); approximately 95% is Type 2 diabetes.

    That’s the third-highest rate in the world, after China and India [source].

    Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens and young adults are developing it.

    Experts have attributed some of this to the HFCS in soft drinks, as well as other eating habits.

    Here are more potential risks of HFCS.

    High-fructose corn syrup is chemically similar to table sugar. Controversy exists, however, about whether the body handles high-fructose corn syrup differently than table sugar.

    *Wishniak Black Cherry is a Philadelphia thing. Other companies also make it. The flavor was originated by Frank’s Beverages, founded by Jacob Frank in 1885. Frank was a Russian immigrant who sold freshly-squeezed lemon soda on the streets of Philadelphia. When developing new flavors in the 1950s, company president Mulford Frank tried a cherry flavor and said, “This reminds me of a Wishniak.” Wishniak is a cordial made in Russia and Eastern Europe with cherries, and vodka and sugar. The name stuck (although, of course, there’s no vodka in the soda [source]).






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