What Flavor Is Squirt Soda?

You might have seen Squirt soda on the shelf at the supermarket or in the cold case at the mini mart. While it may not have the popularity of Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper, it's been a quirky fixture in the soft drink industry for more than 80 years. Squirt was the brainchild of a man named Herb Bishop circa 1938, designed to fill the need for a slightly less sweet soda in the market. The original packaging included a small boy — a Lil' Squirt. Squirt has been around ever since, though it might have flown under the radar of many soda drinkers. Still, many have a big question about Squirt — what exactly does it taste like?

According to the text on the can, the traditional version of Squirt is a "naturally flavored grapefruit soda." The caffeine-free beverage gets its flavor from less than 1% grapefruit juice concentrate. The same is true for Squirt's "Zero Sugar" version. Those looking for a slightly different twist can try Ruby Red Squirt, described as a "naturally flavored citrus and berry soda," presumably with citrus flavors close to the namesake style of grapefruit — plus berries. Drinkers should also note that this version comes with 65 milligrams of caffeine, unlike the original style. 

Uncommon, but not totally unique

Squirt isn't the only major grapefruit-flavored soda brand on the market. Fresca is made with the same less-than-common citrus fruit, while international brands like Ting and Jarritos also produce grapefruit soda. At the end of the day, it may be more of a niche flavor than other popular types of soda, as Squirt ranked comparatively low when Mashed tried 18 citrusy sodas.

However, Squirt or any other grapefruit soda can still hit the spot in a cocktail. Tequila and mezcal are the spirits they pair best with, creating drinks like the classic Paloma. The tart acidity of the grapefruit perfectly complements the intense agave flavor of the tequila or the smokiness of mezcal. Squirt has actively promoted itself as a mixer for alcohol for decades. In fact, though Squirt's original advertising campaign featured a picture of a little boy, by the 1970s, its advertisements shifted to featuring all of the equipment needed to mix a stiff drink. So, the next time you see that bright, cheery yellow and green soda on the shelf of your local market, if you're in the mood for grapefruit, you might want to pick some up, whether you're looking for something to enjoy in a cocktail or just as a refreshing, tart treat.