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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

the happpygirl review: orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar

Here is what you need to know. I am not unbiased when it comes to orange vanilla flavor. The combination of orange + vanilla is sacred to me.

Our wedding cake was orange vanilla. It tasted just like a Creamsicle.

My signature scent is Jo Malone Orange Blossom.

We have an aromatherapy diffuser in our home scented with orange + vanilla essential oils.

When I worked in Massachusetts (several years ago) and commuted bi-weekly from Seattle, one of my suitcases (BOS---> SEA) always held four twelve-packs of Polar Orange Vanilla Seltzer.  That was all. Nothing else (9.6 pounds per case =  38.4 pounds of just seltzer.)  (Polar Seltzer in a Massachusetts-based brand was Polar Seltzer was not available in stores on the west coast until last year.)

THAT is how much I love orange + vanilla.

When I read that Coke was debuting Orange Vanilla Coke as their newest flavor (the first in ten years!) I put the release date (2/25/19) on my calendar. It was literally the first thing I thought of when I woke up (after the baby, obviously).  I headed out to the largest market in our city to pick up a case or two of Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar. No luck. Then I visited four others. I came up empty handed. I talked with the grocery managers and they didn't have an idea of when it would be in stock. (The most frequent response was "Really? Orange Vanilla Coke? That sounds good!") I called every supermarket and department store with a grocery section within twenty miles.  I made dozens of calls. No store had it in stock. Then, I found one store that had it but it wasn't stocked on the shelf yet.  They promised to held several cases for me.  I literally felt belted them in the front seat as tenderly as I had tucked our baby into her car seat. I held off on opening the Coke right there in the store and patiently waited until L got home and we could try it together. Like our wedding cake.

I didn't even let L get in the door before I said "It's here! It's here! Sit!" And so, like opening a bottle of the champagne you've been saving for a special occasion, I popped the top, and there it was. That unmistakable scent. Perfect. Orange vanilla. I poured the Coke into two glasses and we sipped.

Here's what happened: There was sunshine, a cloudless blue sky and I was tumbling,  doing cartwheels into beach sand with the Brothers Johnson "Strawberry Letter #23" playing on somebody's  beach blanket radio I was riding top down with my hair blowing in the wind, sipping a Coke, as we drove along the coast in a vintage Mustang convertible. You're seventeen. It's the first day of summer break. You're wearing a bathing suit as you dry off in the sunshine by the pool. That is what Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar tastes like. It tastes like summer.

To get more precise, Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar isn't cloying (which I was afraid it could be). There is no sugar substitute aftertaste. It has the same color as Coke Zero,. It isn't an orange/brown as I half-expected it might be. It has the same effervescence and the same sweetness as Coke Zero. The vanilla is more pronounced than the orange but the creamy vanilla/bright citrus balance is perfect. My husband is more of a Diet Coke fan than he is of Coke Zero, which he finds too sweet. He did like this take on orange vanilla but he thought it was too sweet.

Orange Vanilla Coke Zero is what you drink on a hot day spent by the water. It's what you bring to work to remind you that the weekend is coming and that you can still feel like it's summer, you're seventeen, the wind is in your hair and you're about to have your perfect day.

Bottom line: I love Coke's newest Orange Vanilla  flavor. It's happy in a can.

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