This is not the first time we have had melon cola in Japan. Lotteria, a burger chain, also has it as a fountain drink, and if I recall correctly I first got it by mistake thinking "melon" was a weird pronunciation of "lemonade." (Intriguingly, they have coke, melon cola, and ginger ale, but no "cider," or Sprite-style drink, and what looks like orange cola in the fountain is actually orange juice. The things we learn by trial and error!) But it is the first time we have had The Melon Cola, with a capital The. Since I come from the city of The Ohio State University, emphasis on the The to distinguish it from all those fraudulent Ohio State Universities out there, this did not strike me as odd until just now, when I had to type it.
The best thing about The Melon Cola is the awesome penguin packaging:
If you look at the bottom line of text in the top picture and on the left, by the kicking penguin foot, in the second, you will see the same "No Fruit Juice" characters which should have been my tip-off back with the Hypno-Cow Apple Milk. The more you know!
Back in Edinburgh, Justin and I made our Norwegian friend Anne Marie taste a sour apple Jolly Rancher, not because it's any good (she spit it out almost immediately) but because it is a critical point of reference for Americans. How else could I describe the color of this beverage? Nothing else in this world is quite the same shade of unnatural nuclear green.*
Fortunately, The Melon Cola tastes nothing like sour apple Jolly Ranchers, and much better than Hypno-Cow milk. It was mild, not anywhere near as syrupy and tart as I expected. It doesn't taste like melon in the sense of cantaloupe, which would be the most logical assumption, but maybe sort of like a sweet green apple plus green grape juice. Totally acceptable, although probably not something I'd seek out.
I also want you all to know that in the pursuit of this blog post, I spilled The Melon Cola all over my kitchen table and floor:
Admittedly my own fault for holding the open bottle in my hand while trying to pick up a glass of water by the rim with the same hand. Did you know liquid flows out when you tip the bottle over? To my surprise, a bit of soap and water on that washcloth seems to have taken care of it. I was anticipating weeks of sticking to the floor when I walked by. I thought this might mean that The Melon Cola is sugar-free, so I took a closer look at the nutrition facts label:
The first is calories. The second is protein and the third is fat, with 0 grams of either. Number four, best I can translate, is "Charcoal water transformation substance," which I appear to have consumed eleven grams of. (Alternately, if you go by the description near the penguin butt, it is "charcoal acid drink material," which I'm not sure is an improvement.) This may explain why the soda did not leave a sugary residue on the floor, but does make me wonder what sort of residue it left on my digestive tract. But at least it had zero mg of sodium!
*Although maybe you could make an argument for mutagen.