New York, Listen Up: Top Five "Healthy" Sodas, From Cola to Lychee

Categories: Making The Call
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3. Reed's Light Extra Ginger Brew & Virgil's Root Beer
A true ginger ale is not an evil soda, but most companies put out a sugar-saturated facsimile that contains barely or no actual ginger. Not Reed's though. The company's products contain more ginger than any other brand and are sweetened with honey and stevia. How sweet is that? Reed's Light Ginger Brew contains only 55 calories per bottle and the company's got you covered if you're a root beer aficionado with its Virgil's Root Beer. The root beer is microbrewed with herbs and spices, including American molasses, Spanish anise, balsam oil from Peru, and vanilla from Madagascar. At a 160 calories a pop though, make the root beer an occasional treat and stick to the ginger ale.

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2. Hot Lips
Okay, okay. This brand may have earned the number two spot due to its name, but it did also win us over with its mantra, "Made to worship the magnificent fruits and berries of the Pacific Northwest," and the fact that the availability of flavors depends on the season. Think apple and pear soda in the fall and berry-flavored sodas in spring and summer. The recipe is simple: pick fruit, cook fruit, add water, add natural sugar, bottle, and carbonate. The company even leaves most of the fibrous pulp in the mix. Hot Lips also forgoes ascorbic and citric acids as preservatives and uses organic lemon juice instead. We like them apples a lot.

1. Bionade
You know you must be doing something right if Coca-Cola makes an offer to take over your company. That's what happened to Bionade, our number one choice. Bionade, German-owned and extremely popular all over Europe, turned down the Big C (Coke, not cancer) and continues producing its own naturally fermented beverages. Made from malt and water, like many beers, Bionade is certified organic, and contains only 14 grams of sugar and 60 calories. Don't expect cola and lime flavored pops though, Bionade is much too urbane for that nonsense. Try flavors like elderberry or lychee instead.

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