I managed to live a good stretch of my teenage years without vomiting. Into my early twenties, actually. Not drinking any alcohol probably contributed to the longevity of that streak. I was also fortunate enough to avoid food poisoning and influenza. After going at least 8 years without upchucking the possibility of puking terrified me. This clip from Stand by Me was my mental image of losing one’s lunch:

My run of good luck came to a dramatic end while I was living in Comayagüela, Honduras. I was 20 years old, shared a simple home with several other foolish young guys, and held a late-night Uno tournament in honor of someone finishing the term of their missionary service. We made a giant bowl of taco filling (no memory of what exactly that required) and ate a dramatic amount of food before falling asleep on the mattresses we had pulled out to the back patio.

I woke up a couple hours later with the undeniable impression that I was about to get a detailed reassessment of my intake of the evening’s refreshments. Panicking, I scoured the kitchen for alka-seltzer, or a witch doctor, or anything else that would put out the fuse racing towards the powder keg of my stomach. It was hopeless. I used the last minutes of my mortal existence to rush to the detached bathroom (yeah, it was outside) and hurl every ounce of my bad decisions into the toilet. If memory serves, this toilet required manual flushing via pouring a five gallon bucket of water into the bowl. I felt much better afterwards and went back to sleep on the patio mattress. I woke up with about 30 mosquito bites on one forearm and was lucky I didn’t contract dengue.

They were the best of times, they were the worst of times.


When I think of “barf” I think of that night in Comayagüela. I saw that Rocket Fizz carried a “Barf” soda and I needed to know if the soda could invoke those memories I hold so dear.

Barf Soda is actually much more palatable than I expected. There’s a bit of a floral smell, or like lightly fermented fruit. Maybe peaches. The color is a pastel rose, and despite the label there is absolutely no presence of chunks. In contrast to the horrific label the smell and appearance are fairly pleasant.

With only a brief beat of hesitation I downed a few ounces of the soda. It was okay. The taste is comparable to the smell, but most importantly it stayed down where gravity intended. The taste of fruit is about as light as the smell of fruit. I still think that it’s peaches, but whatever it is they’re just a little off. I tricked my wife into drinking some as well and she thought it tasted floral…like roses. If I closed my eyes and bleached the memory of the label out of mind I might have believed that this was a sweetened sparkling kombucha. That light fermented flavor is somewhat reminiscent of stomach acid but it’s not the nightmare that it’s marketed as.

The Barf Soda isn’t very enjoyable, but I appreciate the novelty of it. It doesn’t taste bad, but that’s not the same thing as tasting good. This is a 4 out of 10 on my rating scale.

Sampled on 1/11/2017. Purchased at Rocket Fizz in Seattle, Washington for about $2.50

To see other sodas I’ve tried available at Rocket Fizz, click here.

UPDATE! 1/20/2017 – I heard from Rocket Fizz and apparently the flavors in the soda are Pineapple, Orange, and Guava…so yeah, it’s a POG soda. The label is very influencing! Tropical fruits can have a sort of “off” quality to them (especially papaya, that tastes like pure vomit), so I can understand the power of suggestion convincing you of that there’s something stomach acidy going on. Too funny.