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With enough sugar even pine cleaner is tasty?

September 2, 2014

pine-drink-01

You know how South Korean pop music is perfectly familiar, totally weird, incredibly sweet and potentially addictive? Well their soft drinks seem to be a lot like that also.

I’ve just finished three cans of Solhinun, a pine bud drink made by the South Korean brand Lotte. Very interesting taste.

In case you’ve never tried it, imagine mixing Red Bull, coconut water and pine bathroom cleaner…in just the right combination.

It’s that good!

Well, okay…it tastes better than it sounds.

What does “Pine bud drink” exactly mean?

The main ingredients of Solhinun are concentrated pine bud extract, purified water, high fructose corn syrup. citric acid and glucose (mmm…glucose).

There’s vitamin C, which pine is naturally full of and trisodium citrate, a flavouring and preservative nicknamed “sour salt”.

Because it’s still apparently not piney enough, Lotte adds artificial pine bud and lemon flavoring.

The ingredients are rounded out by DL-malic acid (artificial malic acid), which is the “sour” in apples and rhubarb and finally, Gardenia Blue coloring.

Near as I can tell, pine bud drink, pine bud syrup, pine cough medicine and pine cleaners are all derived from essentially the same thing — pine sap or tar.

Pine’s reputation hasn’t always been in the toilet

Pine is an unusual food flavour in North America these days but it wasn’t always that way.

Up until the 20th Century, the flavours of several varieties of flowers as well as pine buds were commonly distilled as syrups to flavour both food and alcoholic beverages. Today pine syrup lives on largely in the form of herbal cough syrup,

Pine buds are baby pine cones. The buds and young pine needles are apparently quite edible and quite full of  goodness. Pine is stuffed with vitamin C and has all the “anti” properties you could ask for in a green plant: anti-fungal, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antioxidant.

It’s also quite astringent. All of which has made pine a bit of a cliche as far as cleaning products has been concerned.

It’s actually a bit shocking to me then, to find out that some varieties of the ubiquitous pine-based cleaner, Pine-Sol, sold by Clorox (the owners since 1990), no longer contain any pine derivatives at all (it originally contained about 8–12 percent pine oil).

A pine drink certainly cleans your palette)

There is a slogan on the Pine bud drink can in Korean that translates as “feel fresh from your mouth to the top of your head”. This is bang-on, assuming you can get past any association you may have of the pine taste with what one British writer described as “toilet bleach”.

It is actually a rather refreshing drink. The pine taste is not overpowering but I would still say it’s an an acquired taste.

The only truly objectionable thing about it, to me, was the incredible amount of sugar — more on a par with an energy drink than a refreshment. I really believe every bit of the sugar is needed to counter the bitter astringency of the pine.

The pine taste was a new experience I was happy to try it but otherwise it was way to sugary for me.

However, if you find you’re pining for a taste of Lotte’s Solhinuna Pine bud drink you can probably get your fill at any one of the four Metro Vancouver locations of the South Korean supermarket chain H-Mart.

And now, for your listening pleasure, more sugar; South Korean rappers CrispiCrunch and their 2011 single Thumbs Up:

 

2 Comments
  1. Slowcrow permalink

    Thank u 4 reminding me of this pine thing!! A guy once warned me of how powerful the new tips of evergreens (pine and ?) made into a tonic tea. Koreans love and respect my favourite plant (mention ‘min-da-lay’) and you get a big smile. Not as enthusiastic as after mentioning Kimchi tho, but darn close. Maybe get some Kimchi with ‘mind-da-lay’ in it, and toss it all in a blender with that magic potion you’ve discovered…… BTW, thanks 4 all the pine pointers, have u noticed Borax and its attributes? And check out the North Korean children playing acoustic guitars, I always used the excuse that MY fingers were too short for guitar playing……. They are on adult sized instruments……

    • It’s amazing how much widespread conventional herbal knowledge and practice in North America was mooted and otherwise deprecated by the development of antibacterial drugs beginning in the 1930s with penicillin and sulfa drugs.

      Though not a marijuana user I see it more as a beneficial herbal that a drug. So I was interested to red up a bit on pinene, an active chemical compound in pine stuff that, as alpa-pinene, is a compound in cannabis and may play an important role in cannabis potency.

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