Original Cocktail: Banana Cola


I want to take a second to brag about my local corner store. It’s the absolute best, and it possibly includes a 4th or 5th dimension with all the stuff they manage to fit in there. The owners who took it over during the pandemic are Algerian and they've stocked this place with all kinds of wonderful treats. Every time I go in I leave with five items I didn’t need, and two of them will become staples in my household (damn you, fancy French Mayonnaise!).  It's getting out of control, honestly. I can pop around the corner to get braided Middle Eastern style string cheese, dried chickpeas in bulk, about 9 different kinds of couscous, fresh fruits and veggies, locally made baklava, halal sausages, and at least a dozen different imported cookies/wafers/biscuits. 

They’ve begun importing a selection of Algerian sodas and I picked up a can called Selecto Soda to bring home, because I cannot resist trying new things. There’s not a lick of English on the can so I had no idea what the heck was going to be in there, which makes it even more fun. 

Turns out Selecto Soda tastes pretty much like a banana cola, if such a thing exists. Okay technically this is supposed to be a pomme/apple soda, but it’s made using Isoamyl Acetate, the ester that gives us that classic “banana flavoring.” If you don’t care for artificial banana flavor, this is likely not the drink for you. I've personally avoided banana flavored *anything* after the 99 Bananas incident of 2004, however I did find that the profile of this soda didn’t turn me off that much, probably because of the acidity and the heavy caramel and cola notes. Short review: It’s fun!

I also used it to make a cocktail because of course I did.

**Fun fact: Selecto, which was launched in 1907 under a different name, is produced by a company called Hamoud Boualem, founded in 1878. HB is the oldest Algerian company still in operation! 

Banana Cola 

1.25 oz Don Q aged rum

.25 oz Tempus Fugit Creme de Banana

.5 oz fresh lime

3-4 oz Selecto Soda, chilled

Build in a Collins glass or double rocks glass, Cuba Libre style. Add spirits, ice, then top with soda and stir gently. Add the lime juice. Stir again.


  1. I could not love this story of discovering "banana" cola more. And of course you made a cocktail. Yes!! Also, I grew up on that braided middle eastern string cheese (food of my people on my mother's side). SO yummy.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. :) OMG I *love* the braided string cheese! It's also the closest thing I've found in CA that compares to authentic Oaxacan string cheese.


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