Every summer, drink companies release unique, limited-edition beverages. The 2020 editions have just arrived, and initial reviews are mixed.

Coca-Cola Japan’s latest fruit-flavored soda isn’t an original. Its Orange Vanilla Coke debuted in North America last year, but it has only just arrived in Japan’s convenience store coolers (¥140 per bottle before tax). The wait wasn’t worth it. The orange flavor barely comes through, leaving only the vanilla. It’s alright, but ultimately feels like an overly sweet waste.

Far better is the latest installment of Pokka Sapporo’s Gabunomi soda series. Its new soda float (also ¥140 per bottle before tax) tries to capture the taste of cider and vanilla ice cream, and does a much better job striking a balance between the two. The vanilla is subtle, and the drink is sweet, but never overly so. Go for this one when trying to beat the heat.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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