You could be forgiven for thinking “What the fuck Pepsi” upon seeing Salty Watermelon in the fridge of your local conbini for the first time.
Considering that their past novelty flavors have scored somewhere between “really nasty” and “gross” in the Michelin Soda Guide, the obvious choice was to not touch the stuff.
Or so I thought. You see, since pre-gaijin times, Japanese wise men have known that a dash of salt brings out that tasty watermelon candy taste. Salt doesn’t, as you’d expect, make watermelon salty.
Or so the wise old man next to me at the izakaya insisted. I decided it was a good time to go and test his theory, so put down my sake and rode home safely on a bicycle, carefully obeying all the relevant traffic laws.
The next morning, I hit the local 7/11 and found a bottle in the cooler. How could I resist a drink that promises to deliver “The refreshing taste of summer”. Sold!
The drink itself? Compared to Pepsi’s past outings, it is something of a revelation; it actually tastes (kinda) like watermelon!
Going down, Salty Watermelon hit the right note. The drink has just the right level of carbonation, which was a pleasant surprise. In fact, I was starting to get a little bit worried that a not guilty verdict might be delivered in the case of this particular conbini crime.
Then the aftertaste hit. Something in this drink (the salty?) turned my throat into a f#####king desert. Certainly not refreshing. Oh well, nice try Pepsi.
Otherwise, the red color is somewhat reminiscent of watermelon, unlike the toxic waste-green “shiso” from a few years back.
On the whole, if you have some water or coke at hand to re-hydrate your throat once you’ve actually drunk this thing, then it’s worth a try. Which for novelty Pepsi is absolutely high praise.
Conbini Crime factor: Stupid name and it’s like drinking a towel.