Strange Snacks of the World: Natakhtari Tarragon Soda


While flora like cherries, grapes, and limes were long ago co-opted by the soda industry, tarragon remains something of a domestic rarity. Not so in Georgian restaurants, where tarragon soda is as common as khatchapuri and floor shows. Looking like mouthwash and smelling like licorice, the beverage, which is marketed as “Georgian natural fizzy drink,” presents intriguing possibilities.

But sadly, although its radioactive green hue would suggest otherwise, there is no actual tarragon in tarragon soda. Instead, there’s spring water, sugar, “natural fruits flavor,” lemon acid, caramel color, sodium benzoate, and natural carbonate. “Natural fruits flavor” tastes nothing like the herb and everything like cough medicine.

On the whole, the beverage, which is made by Natakhtari, is disappointing, although sugar fiends may appreciate how tooth-decayingly sweet it is and its color may delight sci-fi and fantasy aficionados. Any interested parties can easily locate it in one of the numerous storefronts lining Brighton Beach Avenue — this particular specimen, which cost $1.59, was procured at the rather extraordinary M&I International Foods.