90s, Blog, Food — July 7, 2017 12:54 pm

Make Your Own Orbitz: The Drink with BALLS.

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Chances are you have a memory of Orbitz, whether it was gleefully chugging chunky sugar water or side-eyeing someone as they chugged chunky sugar water while you, smartly, abstained because wtf are those balls and why are they floating?

One thing we can agree on: Orbitz sure made an impression on us. It was just so weird and out there, and since it went to the defunct beverage graveyard back in 1997, nothing has compared.

I guess bubble tea might be in the same family, like a weird distant cousin you only see when someone dies. The boba, or tapioca pearls, sink to the bottom, unlike the Orbitz balls that stayed suspended in the liquid. The difference is that Clearly Canadian, the company behind Orbitz, used science. Here are some words from Wikipedia explaining it better than I can:

“The small balls floated due to their nearly equal density to the surrounding liquid, and remained suspended with assistance from an ingredient known as gellan gum. The gellan gum provided a support matrix—something like a microscopic spider web—and had a visual clarity approaching that of water, which increased with the addition of sugar.”

But we here at Pop Rewind aren’t the science-y kind, so I had to think of something a little less intimidating to act as floating balls. Bonus points for being edible. That’s when I remembered the weird buoyancy of chia seeds. They’re not the same as the Orbitz balls, but it’s edible and hey– actually healthy? What? Check out the recipe below to learn about our mystery balls.

Raspberry Cherry Peach Blackberry Chia Orbitz

Remember when I mentioned Clearly Canadian a couple paragraphs ago? I planted that seed for a reason.

Since Clearly Canadian was behind Orbitz, and Clearly Canadian has returned after charging my credit card two years ago, I figured their product would be the best bet for the drink portion of our Homemade Orbitz.

Besides the balls, one of Orbitz’s other quirks was their strange flavor combinations: Raspberry Citrus, Blueberry Melon Strawberry, Pineapple Banana Cherry Coconut, Vanilla Orange, and Black Currant Berry.

We’re mixing all four current Clearly Canadian flavors together for a refreshing (?) Raspberry Cherry Peach Blackberry Chia Orbitz.


Liquid Portion:
-75 mL each:
-Country Raspberry Clearly Canadian
-Wild Cherry Clearly Canadian
-Orchard Peach Clearly Canadian
-Mountain Blackberry Clearly Canadian

-1 tbsp chia seeds
-1 cup of water
-dab of pink food coloring gel (or any color)

Before we get too far, chia seeds can be dangerous so make sure you soak them and don’t eat them dry and choke on them. The more you know.

Eight hours before you want to chew your refreshing beverage, mix the chia seeds, water, and food coloring in a bowl. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

After the chia seeds have absorbed some of the water and have become weirdly gel-like, dump them into a fine mesh strainer. Gently rinse the chia seeds– you want the water to run clear so you don’t inadvertently dye the base of your Orbitz.

When your colored chia seeds are ready, add a couple spoonfuls to the glass or bottle you’ll be drinking from. Carefully pour in the Clearly Canadian flavors. Make sure you get the time on the stove clock so you don’t forget you spent your whole afternoon doing this.

So, how does it taste? I mean, I just threw together four flavors of Clearly Canadian that don’t go together, so not great. But it’s not like anyone fondly remembers Orbitz for its taste. We’re in it for the mouthfeel. While the balls are not as gelatinous as the original, they’re still an easy way to make any beverage gross. Just a little something to hold you over until Clearly Canadian cranks out the real thing!

Enough glamour shots… let’s see this thing in action:

Have you ever tried making your own Orbitz? Let us know how it went!

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