The Soda Pop Sommelier

This week, I got the joy of catching up with Mila McWarren on the day her wonderful debut novel, The Luckiest, was released. (Seriously. Buy it. Read it. If you're like me, you'll love it.)

Mila was in town with her kids on their way down south to San Diego for the annual rite known as Comic Con, but first, she gave her kids decision-making authority over their Los Angeles itinerary. Her daughter chose the Santa Monica pier—a solid choice. The weather's been lovely this week and there's plenty to see down there. But her son chose something off the predictable path.

He chose a market. Not just any market, mind you, but a specialty store in Highland Park  known as Galco's Old World Grocery. And if you've ever heard of Galco's, you know it's known for one thing—an amazing collection of soda pop.


How did an East Coast kid learn about a soda pop shop in Los Angeles? From a food podcast, of course, and he decided it was his go-to destination on his LA road trip. Armed with a note pad, he quizzed the store owner about how to go about a proper "tasting," and what flavor and scent notes to detect on certain obscure sodas. 

By the time I arrived, he had sampled and taking tasting notes on colas, flat root beers and a cucumber soda that Mila and I decided really belonged in the bar collection as a mixer. 

"I pick up ginger in this one, what do you think?" he said, handing over a bottle. "And I think maybe a little lavender."

We then concocted our own custom sodas—I stuck with simple things I knew would work together: pomegranate, lemon and lavender. The kids got a bit more creative. 

One thing is for certain: As Mila's son gets to an age where he starts considering careers, he should make sure to add Soda Pop Sommelier to that list.