(Unfortunately, Metafilter got to this before I did. But they didn’t have taste tests!)
If you’re in Singapore, and someone asks you what you want to drink, you may want to think before saying “oh, I’ll have whatever”. The reason?
Read on to find out what was in my Schrödinger’s soft drinks.
Anything and Whatever have been the subject of an advertising blitz at bus stops and on billboards right across the country – a blitz that achieved momentary notoriety when the empty cans used to frame the billboards were opened and turned into breeding grounds for dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
After that little incident, they seem to have gone on sale without too many hiccups (unless you drink too many cans of Anything).
Here’s the deal. Anything is the carbonated version, and Whatever is the non-carbonated version. They each come in six flavours – cola, apple, root beer and lemonade predominate in Anything, while the Whatever flavours are all spins on “iced tea”. You pick your carbonation and go for it.
And before you ask, they don’t print the flavour in the ingredients list. Instead of “cola flavour” or whatever, it’s “permitted flavouring, permitted colouring”. Clever.
(Editorial note: Unfortunately, due to lack of ice in the freezer, I don’t have any tempting shots of refreshing drinks being poured into a tall glass over tinkling icecubes – so you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you what flavours I got.)
I cracked a can of Anything, and found…. drum roll… cola!
It wasn’t particularly bad, as colas go. A little bit more tart than Coke, perhaps – I’m not a cola connoisseur, though, so take that opinion with a grain of salt. You’d probably be better off making some OpenCola.
Next, the Whatever… and it was… peach tea!
But I’ve never had peach tea with so much sugar in it – it was almost sickly-sweet. The chrysanthemum and white jasmine flavours might be a bit less sugary, but you’d need to purchase four cans to have a better-than-90% chance of nailing one of those, and at S$1.30 a can, that could get quite expensive.
The verdict? It’s a great idea. But the flavours – well, some of them – aren’t so great. If they can make all twelve flavours reliably good, and interesting enough to keep people coming back, Anything and Whatever could become the soft drink of choice. One day, you might even be able to order “anything” in a restaurant without confusing the waiter.