Review: Nissin Cup Noodle Sodas

The flavors of Nissin’s iconic Cup Noodles finally join the backbar. There’s Seafood, Curry, Chili Tomato, and standard variations. While today is April 1, this is a real review, and these are actual products.

Literally nobody: …
Nissin: What if you could drink our noodles as a soda?

I’m not convinced there weren’t drugs involved in the conceptualization of this product. Despite most mind-altering substances being illegal in Japan, the country comes out with bizarre stuff all the time. It’s high time we highlight one on this site.

Nissin’s Cup Noodles were the world’s first instant ramen cup, released in 1971. If you thought their popularity was waning, you’re wrong: the company broke sales records every year from 2017 to 2021. In fact, on their 50th anniversary, they hit 50 billion total cups served. Yearly, Japan produces about 4 billion servings of cupped ramen. That’s around 126 servings per second.

As part of their anniversary celebration, the company released these soda cans flavored like their well-known ramen cups. I guess it’s sort of a joke, since these were just a one-off gag product.

So will these make me gag? Or do they bring some legit flavors to the bar? Let’s find out.

Review: Nissin Cup Noodle Sodas

Let’s go with the standard flavor first. Recommended serve for this one is 30ml single malt whisky, 120ml soda. They call for a peaty whisky too. These cocktail servings come from Takano-san, a bartender at Keio Plaza Hotel’s bar Brilliant.

Nose: Ginger
Palate: Like a ginger ale you left out overnight.
Finish: Dry and slightly salty.
Score: C

This tastes like a crappy ginger ale. I notice now that the ingredients do say it uses ginger juice, and even soy sauce. I put some Tsunuki The Peated in this, but that somehow made it worse.

Next is Curry. I think of the four, this is probably my preferred flavor… if I’m eating the ramen. Recommended serve for this one is with 30ml of Bourbon.

Nose: Oh man, that’s curry alright. I definitely don’t hate the smell of curry, but it’s weird seeing it, uhh, carbonated.
Palate: This is more or less a “curry cola.” It has an odd viscosity on the tongue too.
Finish: Lasting spices, I think? And by lasting, I mean about 10 microseconds.
Score: B-

For the Bourbon, I went with Evan Williams 12. Not a terrible concoction, but not a great one either. next time I’d recommend a Jack & Coke instead.

Chili Tomato is next. This one contains 19% fruit juice. It’s orange juice though. It does use tomato juice too, but they haven’t said how much. Recommended serve is with 30ml of Campari. Disclaimer: I don’t like tomato juice to begin with, so how could I possibly like Chili Tomato Cup Noodle Soda?

Nose: Overwhelming sweetness of tomato
Palate: You can tell there’s quite a bit of citrus and orange backing up the tomato.
Finish: Slightly spicy kick of chili at the end
Score: C-

Actually, it wasn’t as bad as the nose would lead me to believe. I’ll give them a couple of points solely because of the complexity. But I’m not trying it again.

And finally, there’s Seafood flavor. If any spirit has a maritime history, it’s gin. 30ml of dry gin.

Nose: Rich buttery corn
Palate: Milk-like thickness and sweetness
Finish: Some kind of yoghurt essence?
Score: D-

Nope, nope. Nope. Gin can’t save this.

There’s a reason ramen-flavored drinks aren’t a thing. If anyone should have known this, it’s Nissin.

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