Vanilla Coke

Coke has a new flavor. And of course I had to try it, cola fiend that I am. And I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised. A 16-ounce bottle sat unopened for a few days after being purchased, because every time I opened my refrigerator I eyed the newcomer with anxiety, afraid it would absolutely disgust me, and yet knowing that I somehow needed to taste it. So for the first few days, I stuck to my regular Pepsi. And to this day, I stick by my regular Pepsi.

But Vanilla Coke is worth trying. First of all, it is much more subtle than I would have thought. Usually anything added to cola spells sickly sweetness, as in Wild Cherry Pepsi. But Vanilla Coke, though it is, of course, sweet (it is, after all, a freaking cola), doesn’t overdo the vanilla aspect. The vanilla is more of an aftertaste, or an afterburn, like a scent that has been drawn in by breathing, having taken residence in the nasal cavity and therefore flavoring whatever enters through the mouth.

Vanilla Coke, as a beverage, is not to be had alongside other powerful flavors, or imbibed alongside a pizza or hamburger, but rather should be left on its own, and consumed as an every-now-and-then kind of synaesthetic experience. That’s right, I said “synaesthetic.” —JS