Pepsi Christmas Cola: If you’re going to leave a snack out for Santa, stick to milk and cookies

by Patrick ST. Michel

Contributing Writer

Happy holidays, here’s a novelty soda to celebrate! Pepsi Japan trails only KitKat when it comes to out-there flavor ideas for its signature item, with the past few years featuring cucumber and baobab among others. Now comes a slightly sweeter special — Pepsi Christmas Cola, which aims to capture the taste of a Japanese-style Christmas shortcake.

Well, the cream found in said dessert to be specific. But this has captured people’s attention for being a strange flavor to try replicating in cola form. The soda (¥140) goes the extra step in sticking to theme by also promising to deliver a subtle strawberry taste alongside all the sweetness. That’s dedication.

Yet good luck finding that supposed fruity touch. Pepsi’s attempt at a creamy taste completely dominates this beverage, and not in a good way. It tastes less like shortcake and more like Calpis, except this limited-run offering also packs a lingering aftertaste that is best described as “slightly stinging.” Of course, the actual taste doesn’t matter — the weirdness of the concoction is meant to score some easy media attention and give Pepsi’s bottom line a nice Christmas boost. Try it for the thrill of it, but don’t bother packing it into the kids’ stockings.