The sweet taste of nostalgia

TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTOS © EXOTA LIMONADE

After more than 40 years, the amazing lemonades of Exota are back on the market. Though the bottles look identical to the ones they used back then, the drink itself is tastier and more natural than ever.

Exota, one of the Netherlands’ most iconic carbonated drinks, is back on the market. From the 1930s until the ‘70s, the lemonade was very popular among kids as well as adults. Sadly, the company went under after a television show wrongfully claimed that their bottles could spontaneously explode. The Dutch, however, never forgot their colourful lemonade. In 2016, three young men decided to give the brand a second life. “First, we asked the grandson of the owner for permission to give the brand a second life,” sales and marketing manager Bas Pepers explains. “Then, we recreated and invented the flavours ourselves.” The more experienced sweet tooth will also recognise Exota’s flip-top bottle and vintage label, since it is almost identical to the bottle available decades ago. “These glass bottles are part of the nostalgic experience. Besides, they are more ecological than plastic and can be reused for water, sauces or even flowers.”

Their assortment mainly consists of old-school flavours like lemon, orange, grenadine and campagnepils (a flavour comparable to energy drinks, yet a little fresher). With mandarin and grapefruit, they also add two refreshing new varieties to the range. “Our lemonades are made entirely of natural and biological products. We therefore also use real cane sugar, instead of chemical alternatives. We don’t try to conceal that sugar since it’s a standard ingredient of any lemonade. Ours actually contains less of it than most sodas.” Together with syrup-manufacturer Monin, Exota has now created delicious alcohol-free cocktails like the Exota Orange Spritz. “From this year on, our lemonades will be available in bars and restaurants. These mocktails could go straight on their menus.”

After winning Dutch hearts, Exota now travels the world. Literally, since their mandarin lemonade is available onboard all Transavia flights. “It is an honour that our drink gets served in the air. Exota is very different from most sodas since it is artisanal and a tad more luxurious. As a local Dutch product, our lemonade welcomes visitors to the Netherlands, already on the plane.”

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