Top five random soft drinks you can buy in central London

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We believe nothing creates understanding between nations like our shared love of sugared, flavoured water, so we set out to see which soft drinks of far-flung origins were available for purchase in central London, and within walking distance of our office. OK, it was a slow news day. Here are our top five, in descending order of deliciousness.

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aw

1 A&W Root Beer
Country of origin: USA

We're reluctant to give the top spot to the Yanks just because it seems so darned predictable, but for those who like the weird, medicinal taste of root beer (and we do), nothing else can match it. However, if we were judging design we'd be having words and the ill-advised barrel effect can. You're not fooling anyone. £2.70 (scandalous!), Bodean's, 10 Poland Street, W1F 

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calpico

2 Calpico
Country of origin: Japan

Like the Oblivion ride at Alton Towers, the most important thing to remember with Calpico is: don't look down. It's white, a little bit milky and also a bit translucent... You see where we're going. The taste is kind of like a thin, less yoghurty Yakult, and it's surprisingly delicious. Plus, we dig the spotty can. £1.40, Arigato Supermarket, 48-50 Brewer Street, W1F 9TG

guarana

3 Guaraná Antarctica
Country of origin: Brazil

Only Coca Cola tops this in soft drink sales in Brazil, and such is the brand power in South America they somehow convinced Diego Maradona to appear in an ad campaign, much to the indignation of the Argentines. It's flavoured with guarana, (a caffeine-filled berry, for those who don't frequent the "Herbal Highs" stall at Womad), so it'd make a good mid-afternoon pick-me-up. £1.00, Loja Bem Brasil, 44 Poland Street, W1F 7LZ

lemonpaeroa

4 Lemon & Paeroa
Country of origin: New Zealand

The food miles on this will probably send you straight to hell, but at least you'll have something moderately pleasant to drink en route. The taste is vaguely similar to dandelion and burdock (ie. a bit like lemonade but less nice) though the "secret ingredient" is a closely guarded secret. £1.95, Sacred Cafe, 13 Ganton Street, W1F 9BL

 

fanta

5 Strawberry Fanta
Country of origin: Lebanon (we're guessing here, the writing's in Arabic)

Full-marks for the fun packaging, but when you see the colour of the actual drink - neon Pepto-Bismol pink - your teeth might just fall out in protest. We gave it a try, just to be sure it tastes as grim as it looks. We're sure. £1.40, Comptoir Libanais, 65 Wigmore Street, W1U 1PZ