Red Bull: Blue, Silver, and Red Edition

Christmas is over, the bounty of Thanksgiving leftovers has come and gone. Soon, the world will be getting ready for New Year’s Eve, the unloved drunken baby of the winter holidays. These days, staying up late and getting drunk is roughly as edgy as a Snuggie-wrapped newborn. Fresh on the heels of surviving yet another threat of an apocalypse, we need to up our game and appreciate life as the Mayans could not. And what better to up it with than three new flavors of Red Bull, the official drink of 2007, er, 2013?
Well, maybe you should wait before answering my rhetorical question, because it turns out there are a few better things to celebrate another orbit with than Cranberry, Lime, and Blueberry Red Bull, like milk, chocolate milk, milkshakes, straight up caffeine yo, soda, ice cream, raw sewage, Go Go Juice, champagne and scotch, chocolate syrup from the bottle, and bleach, to name a few palatable beverages off the top of my head. Despite an aggressive and patriotically-colored marketing campaign in all of the countries for whom blue, white, and red are relevant (suck it, Belgium!) these liquid Benedict Arnold Palmers are shameful mars on an otherwise decent year.

Classified in “editions” like some sort of limited release Encyclopedia Brittanica set or a numbered Audemars, the terrible triad features a sleek can design aping off the majesty of the Lamborghini without the finesse in engineering. In fact, the only thing they have in common with the cars are their mutual shared usage, or in the case of the Red Bull, incorporation, of motor oil. At least, as the texture of these drinks would imply. If motor oil wasn’t used in the composition of this beverage, someone on the staff was surely drinking it. I don’t see how it made it off the production line otherwise. The drinks are viscous and lurid in color, moreso than the traditional Red Bull and have an aggressive, slightly sinister overarching sweet scent to them, like the drink itself is trying to conceal its contents and drug you.

The first of our ill-fated ingestibles is the Red Edition, not unlike the Red Edition your piss will later be emulating. This is easily the most offensive of the drinks, mollified only by the fact that it is the sole soda of the three to not contain the creepy-sounding “bleu brilliant FCF” food coloring. However, it comes out of the bottle as red as the can, smelling like Jell-O powder. It tastes like a mixture of various red-colored and red-flavored hard candies, with a flat, sweet flavor and a sour aftertaste, not tart like a cranberry ought to be, but metallic. Next is the lime-flavored Silver Edition. This one goes down with the least resistance with a seltzer-like flavor, but has a powerful Windex nose. I’m thinking that this would make a fantastic knock-off Sprite. We’ll call it “Spite.”

Finally, the most intriguing of the special flavors, blueberry Red Bull, which sounds like the first of many unsuccessful cocktails on the Absentee Parent happy hour menu. This has a mild blueberry flavor, with a slightly acidic aftertaste like blueberry yogurt, but the resemblance ends there and it tastes like Warheads. I won’t even recommend this for New Year’s Eve cocktail shenanigans. If you need to chug these to stay up until midnight, you are either twelve, or out of touch like this MAD Magazine hilarity. Either way, the perfect demographic for these weird limited editions. I still wish I could have tried Mango Fratboy Heave. Stay classy!

Fanta Chateau Grokiff (Elderflower and Citrus)

I can justify many purchases, but rarely does soda make that list, the reason being that while I can’t suffer through low-calorie desserts, meat, or Wasa crackers, diet soda is actually something I enjoy. Yes, I’m one of those jerks, the kind who will tell you without prompting that they’re happier to have aspartame shakes or aspartame flippers in forty years than diabetes. I’ve even held off on trying all the Japanese Pepsi flavors I love so dearly. But now the cap is on the other bottle. Fanta France has me entranced and in love with its strange, French flavors. It has wooed me, wined and dined me, given me Fanta clap, and I still want more.
Although I’m sure this is a decade-long bottled (zing!) expression of the jaw-dropping terror and arousal I felt as an eleven-year old sitting in the dark of my local movie theatre at a showing of Girl Next Door (sorry, Mom, I never did see Ella Enchanted that night) watching the Fanta girls whiz by on jet-skis singing their trademarked theme song, I’ve always had more of an affinity for Fanta than I have for any of the other tinted, fruit-touched sodas on the market. And now that Fanta has incorporated one of my other favorite past-times into their soda, wine and pretension, I am now irresistibly compelled to buy it and nothing else. Your marketing dollars at work, people!
I cannot convey to you how amazing this is without buying each of you a ticket to France, taking you to my Monoprix on the Metro, and buying you a bottle to take home in addition to the special extra baggage cost imposed by Every Airline Ever, Incorporated. But I’m not Oprah, (ed. note: BlogHer, am I Oprah? Can we look into that?) so all I can give you are photos and a whimsical sip-by-sip essay because screw you, Robert Parker Jr. This is delicious. Fanta has managed to not only make an adorable soda label design, but the drink inside is the best non-artisanal elderflower drink I’ve ever had, somehow ranking above IKEA’s Swedish craftsmanship.
The elderflower is the most present flavor, with citrus notes to boost its tartness after each sip. It has the price of a store-brand beverage and the quality of one with cursive writing and a man burning $500 bills embossed on the label. It’s definitely sweet, with a thick, sugar-heavy texture, but matches that with plenty of effervescence and a good tang to offset the sugar, like more complex, herbaceous lemonade. I really enjoy it, despite my moral objections to sugary water. And the label. That label will literally be taped to my wall after I have finished the soda. Chateau Grokiff, from the coveted 2010 vintage, is officially my new 100-pointer under 99 cent recommendation, a phenomenon that certainly doesn’t exist in the wine world.I almost hate it for not going all the way and incorporating a cork, glass bottle, and actual alcohol. But their chateau is a drawing of an inflatable castle. I believe we’re done here.

Reed’s Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer

I’m not in law school just yet, so I don’t know a lot about copyright law, but one thing I do have under my belt is a damned good sense of practical application of the law in real life. So when I see a soda bottle not even remotely trying to be subtle about tossing around references to butterscotch beer, the Flying Cauldron brewery, and Hogsbreath, England, it gives me a little pause to ponder the implications of screwing over my good friend Sui Generis. Case in point, Reed’s Butterscotch Beer, which whips out its caramel-colored goo and screams, “DEAL WITH IT” on the shelf. Just looking at it makes me feel like an accessory to a white-collar crime.

Where, oh where to begin with this one? Is it the vaguely Celtic-inspired font emblazoned across the bottle, as unique and special as a “mo chuisle” tramp stamp tattoo, or possibly the near-references to Harry Pot- er, Herman Trotter book places and themes? I could also bring up the flavor, the clip-art influenced flying cauldron, or as we eye-bearers call it, “pus-leaking beetle on a flaming H.O. scale rocket launcher.” Yikes. Without being too crass, it looks like a less-than-skilled child designed this after eating a ton of paste in art class. This is the worst violation of intellectual property laws since not-Pixar’s “What’s Up: Balloon to the Rescue.”

But I’m not here to debate the aesthetic merits of the bottle or the many potential legal ramifications of this flagrant asshattery. One cannot be an exceptional student, lover, and secretly embody Simon Schama and Billy Flynn simultaneously. Such are the limitations of men. The real question is, how does this taste? Reed’s markets it for “wizards and unrealized wizards alike.” Way to alienate the entire Muggle population. Suck my Patronus, Reed’s. And America’s, too. Well, through one way or another, this contraband has made it into the hands of a non-wizard FTW. And it tastes absolutely terrible.

 

Apparently, Slim Reedy just don’t give a fuck. This is what young Squibs get when their wizarding parents hate them. This is what real kids get when they drag their parents to the midnight book premieres. One positive aspect is that this does look a little like beer before you read the non-alcoholic part, so congratulations, you now look as cool as the guy drinking an O’Doul’s next to you at the bar. Also, nice wand. The flavor is sickly and sticks going down and it smells like butter, melted butter, and the candy dishes of old ladies everywhere. I feel like I’m playing an adult version of Candy Land where, when I land on the Sugar Booger Mountains, I have to take a shot of molasses and touch my nose with my foot. It’s barely drinkable. Each burp tastes like I’ve just downed a handful of kettle corn and before I could say Abra Kaglucopyranose, I found myself parched and hopped up on sugar at the same time. As much as I hate to say it, it sounds like a pretty good simulation of going to Universal Studios for a mere George Washington. I still hate this. Why? Because Reed’s is an awesome company. I hold them to a higher standard of performance and this isn’t cutting it.

Spindrift Soda Sparkling Half & Half

Wanna hear something kind of crazy? We’re fifty posts away from our 1,000th review. I find that to be completely insane. It felt like an impossible number when we were at 300, at 500, at 800. It seems like just a few months ago I was getting ready for college and procrastinating for it by starting this blog! And I’ve been procrastinating ever since. Sigh. Memories, guys. In honor of our not-quite-thousandth and not-quite-birthday, I’ve decided to start another theme week in celebration. Also because I have an excess of like-minded food in my pantry, but mainly because you’re an awesome set of readers! There might even be a giveaway, so stay tuned.
Tonight, however, deals with our regularly scheduled programming of “strange things I eat for America’s sake.” And while the classic combination of iced tea and lemonade isn’t strange, classifying it up like it’s Chateau Palmer and carbonating that libation makes me raise my eyebrows all the way up my face. It’s a scary sight. You get used to it. Spindrift Soda is a relatively new brand describing itself as a fresh take on soda. They definitely have the fresh part locked down. Of the six sodas they sent over, each tasted like it had been made that morning with ripe, fresh fruits, lightly sweetened. Think the flavor of an Odwalla with a little more levity and grace and you’ve got an idea of what Spindrift tastes like.
The bottle design is clean (and even gently pokes fun at itself by informing you that yes, despite its Coke-lacking iconography, it’s still a soda!) and the colors of the beverages are vibrant and mimic the fruits inside of them. Sodas have been cruel to your gastrointestinal tract in the past, but Spindrift won’t let that happen. It has a liberal arts degree from Hampshire College and a surfboard strapped to its Neon. In this instance, the soda is lightly brown with a murky, gentle pulp at the bottom. It’s one of the most refreshing summer drinks I’ve had, playing off the classic Arnold Palmer and de-cloy-ifying it with less sugar and a more prominent pekoe influence, orangy and herbaceous. It’s smooth and earthy, with an almost cane sugar-like sweetness to it and a warmth to its body that reminded Miss Love of lemon sun tea. It’s the rich man’s half ‘n’ half and it’s worth every penny.

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Gross Food Week #6: Nexcite

I suppose I’ve developed a little reputation for myself. The Huffington Post described us as “no holds barred,” while my own family took the more direct approach and wondered if we weren’t “pushing the line.” Frankly, I just like to think of myself as the girl who tried all of the carbonated sexual aphrodisiacs the world has to offer. Simple pleasures, that’s what defines me.
This particular beverage came to the United States by way of hatred and copyright infringement in equal doses. Nexcite, a whimsical Swedish penis pumper, is a soda designed to provide a proprietary formula of herbal extracts and caffeine with which will fuel your manbits like no other. Like no other, I say! And because it was fifty cents on clearance and had a rabbit on the label, I tried it for you today. The soda is Viagra blue and smells like an energy drink, if an energy drink was consumed by a toddler and vacated with 50% more melted blue Jolly Ranchers than it originally contained.
It just leads me to wonder, why oh, why would the manufacturers of this drink make it bright blue and candy-scented? With its cute bunny logo, it’s just asking to be guzzled by a small child. Or worse yet, it’s all getting clearer to me now. With its emasculating smell and antifreeze pallor, it’s the perfect way to get a little kink into the bedroom by tricking your man into thinking he’s about to down a shot of Prestone. The five supplements, not to be confused with the fifty ways to leave your lover, which yours will undoubtedly do after watching you wince this down, are as follows: Yerba mate, an herb traditionally used in hot tea, which everyone knows makes you look brooding and sensitive, damiana, nature’s off-brand Viagra, illegal in Louisiana, ginseng and guarana, everyone’s favorite acid-flavored energy drink supplement, and last but not least, schizandra. This is not a Mary Sue-esque Final Fantasy character as I initially thought. It’s a Chinese berry that aids in soothing the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. How sexy is that?
Nexcite tastes like the darker side of liquified cotton candy and green tea mixed together at a frat party. It’s both bitter and overly sweetened and as a flavor best described as being throat-punched by a lime, with a potently sour aftertaste like a Warhead. Extremely sugary, in a weird way that sticks to your gums and works its way into the crannies of your mouth, like sexual harassment for your teeth. It numbed my taste buds for a good ten seconds after each sip, which I suppose aids in diffusing some sexual tension if you’re not sure of, how shall we put it, the provenance of some particular after-dinner treats you may partake in. This’ll fix you good. In regards to the state of my sexual performance prior to and after consuming this drink, I can’t tell you if it helped. I was too busy looking slack-jawed at the recommendation on the side of the bottle: “As a supplement, drink 1-8 bottles a day.” Holy crap, Nexcite, I’m a woman, not a machine. Here’s to drinks directly fueling the sex working industry, one male gigolo at a time.

Gross Food Week #3: Jeff’s Chocolate Soda

Guys, I just discovered instagram. And you know what else I discovered? Jeff’s Chocolate Soda. And you know what else I just discovered, today? The futility of mankind and the heartbreaking realization that we’re all doomed, man, you know? Probably as a result of this soda’s existence. All three are connected. Come, let’s take a journey.
Jeff’s Chocolate Soda, found in a Stop and Stop but easily purchased at www.getcreamed.net, the only non-porn website on the planet with an extremely porn-like name, is the end of mankind. Nowhere else can a label entice you with 50’s style clip art graphics and brutally pervert you with a singular message. Get creamed. And by all means, the package warns you, do not shake this beverage. Why that is is not explicitly stated, but I think we can all figure out the rest.
The chocolate soda is 97% fat free and 99% flavor free, too, and allows you to get your daily recommended value of authentic Tootsie Roll flavor without compromising your lack of dignity. The soda smells like marshmallow cream and is a little salty, a scent that, combined with its visual euphemisms, makes this feel like an episode of dirty Blue’s Clues. Luckily, this off scent disappears quickly after opening the bottle and does not translate to the drink’s flavor. It has a thick texture that straddles a line between saliva and whipping cream- not quite solid, but nearing dangerous levels of mucus. It comes out of the bottle matte brown with a few runny bubbles on its surface. It’s not a very appealing beverage for this and many other reasons.
I will give it this; for a soda containing one gram of fat, it certainly packs an enjoyable and authentic Dutch chocolate flavor. It is fair, simple, and immediately chocolatey- again, much like a Tootsie Roll. That’s presumably also where the 48 grams of sugar (per 12 ounces) come in. With a soda like that, who needs enemies? This is a scant 5 grams of sugar away from beating out Sunkist as the world’s worst soda, according to Men’s Health. If poor Paula Deen wasn’t already diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, one or two of these would have easily done the trick.
Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m impressed. This soda’s future is bleak if the company thinks it can ride with the big boys successfully on sugar and catcalls alone. For the sake of my health and my sense of humor, Miss Love and I will be sticking with something lighter and will likely find a more satisfying way to get creamed without all that fluff.

Marley’s Mellow Mood Relaxation Drink

Believe it or not, this drink wasn’t created or endorsed by John Grogan’s loveable yellow laborador. I know, I was disappointed, too. For those of you who are into Marley, though, the Bob one, this drink might come as a pleasant surprise. Marley’s Mellow Mood Relaxation boasts yet another way to get your sleep on. Because nothing relaxes you like a tie-dyed assault of colors, and 29 grams of sugar per can, right? Jah, mon, and that’s all you’ll hear from me.
The can boasts a lofty goal of considering this a dietary supplement, like a Flintstones multi-vitamin. While I’m sure there’s at least one person out there who is actively making this a part of their day-to-day routine, the vast majority of you can stop holding your breath. There are better relaxation supplements out there, and I doubt any of them taste like home-fermented fruit leather. The drink says it’s berry flavored, but tastes more like berries that have been sun-dried with every intent of being made into macro granola but were sadly forgotten in a head shop for a few months. There’s a raisiny note to this, and it’s fairly strong, persistent flavor that lingers throughout each sip. I’m no stranger to slightly medicinal flavors in energy or relaxation drinks, but this gave the beverage a synthetic and creepy edge that inspired me to go through my Stranger Danger checklist one more time. It tastes like bottled mall incense, the kind that comes packaged with a free angry warrior statue.
It’s lightly carbonated and has a watery, floral flavor with a medicinal bite against the fermented berries scent, but holds very little appeal for me as it lacks the fresh flavors of most fruit-flavored sodas. Its flavor does mirror its mission statement in that it is a fairly murky, lazy soda, but unfortunately, that translates to a dismal drink. Color me affected by my own childhood, but drinking it left me with unpleasant memories of taking cherry Robutussin when I was sick. I immediately regretted the two sips I took, as I wasn’t so much relaxed as I was sluggish after trying a little of this and aching from the sugar. Every time you drink this beverage, a dentist earns a $20,000 bonus. This might work if you’ve had a tough day playing Ultimate and need a break, but nevermore, Tuff Gong, nevermore. I may have got the beverage, but I didn’t get no ecstasy, not in the slightest.

Maine Root Pumpkin Pie Soda

I can’t quite tell what this soda’s angle is. It was put out on the shelves after Halloween, yet has a jack-o-lantern on it. Because I totally didn’t find this until after Halloween, I’m going to say that this is for Thanksgiving, for the college student stranded by themselves over break with little else to eat on the holiday except for this soda and McDonald’s and day-old bakery rolls. Forever alone.

This makes for a depressing Thanksgiving, if you’re drinking it for its intended purpose. I’ve tolerated selections from Maine Root in the past, and have enjoyed their stranger selection of flavors. This was a new one in the supermarket. Unfortunately, there are some flavors that just shouldn’t be incarnated into carbonated form. Jones has exhausted that list to the point of insipid novelty, and now Maine Root is jumping on the bandwagon with their pumpkin pie soda. Even the kitten was kind of skeptical.
A few years ago I totally “wasn’t” into Harry Potter and I “didn’t” go to three of the midnight book releases and “never” cried at the end of the seventh book. Now I’m over that noise despite seeing some of my old high school friends totally cosplaying the crap out of those books, but was piqued by this soda as a result of a years-old curiosity surrounding the omnipresent pumpkin juice in the book series. I was hoping this would be quenching, rich, and almost vegetal in flavor with a deep underlying spiciness and sweet hint of brown sugar. It was basically all of that, reversed.
Imagine the weak, generic scent of a votive candle- the vague mishmosh of spices that somehow loosely translates to the flavors of fall and appeals to the sensibilities of people who consider Jersey Shore quality theatrics. That’s what this taste like. It’s overly sugared and smells synthetic, and completely lacks pumpkin. The sugar content in this is through the roof. It tastes closer to some of the pumpkin-shaped candies of the season than it tastes like its gourd brethren. And let’s be serious- simply saturating it with an asston of orange food coloring doesn’t make it taste more like pumpkin. Keepitcoming Love liked this soda because it did have a persistent and strong fresh nutmeg and cinnamon stick flavor, slightly sticky, dry texture included, but I wasn’t sold on its weak flavor. I can’t enjoy anything that wins the first place slot in the Family Feud question, “Soda that best resembles a Yankee Candle.”

Chubby Kids Soda: Cream Scream and Grape

Why don’t we all just acknowledge the elephant in the room and get the obvious over with. Yes, it’s a soda called a Chubby; and yes, a chubby is a synonym for the erection of a penis. Let’s all take a few moments to laugh at the picture of me holding these sodas in suggestive fashions.

Oh hey guys look; he’s holding 2 Chubbies at his crotch! It’s like he’s suggesting they’re dicks or something. Wow, a penis joke! This website is awesome, it’s got informative food reviews and penis jokes!

Anyways, I think we’ve had enough fun at the expense of my hilarious photo and get on with the review. I saw these on the shelf of the local Stop & Shop and thought of the hilarity factor and since they were only 50 cents each, I couldn’t afford not to buy them. I think if there is anything that the people at Chubby got right with this drink it would be creating as good of a gimmick as the people in the Insane Clown Posse had. They proudly display a picture of a portly cartoon child on the front the bottle almost like a surgeon general’s warning to those who want to drink it. “If you drink this colorful fruity soda, you’ll become a cartoon caricature of a fat kid”. So soft drinks make you fat… it’s a magical miracle.

Chubby Soda is a brand that is very popular in Trinidad and Tobago; it’s one of those countries that you hear about in middle school geography textbooks or in a vacation brochure but doesn’t really contribute to our everyday lives or major news. I guess the country’s real contribution to the world is Chubby Soda.

The first flavor I tried was the Grape. In a word it was just plain awful. It tasted like something that FEMA would have gave to Hurricane Katrina victims. Imagine government subsidized grape soda and you’ve got it. And the government soda was probably come in these small packages too. Don’t want the Katrina victims to be too happy with the grape soda that is provided by taxpayer money. Then they’ll never go back to living their old productive lives, they’ll just chill out in the superdome and drink grape soda all day. This soda also went flat really quickly. Within minutes of opening it the carbonation was gone and all that was left was a badly flavored grape flavored drink. Maybe grape drank is just more appealing to more people.

The other flavor was Chubby Cream Scream. I guess this was supposed to be their version of cream soda. The cool thing about this flavor was that it didn’t taste like what regular white people cream soda taste like and this really caught me by surprise. This had a much sweeter and candy taste to it. It was more like a cotton candy flavored soda than vanilla cream. The odd taste was one that would probably take some getting used to. This one however held onto its carbonation for a long time. I had left this bottle in my car for probably a week and it was still carbonated, once again… fucking miracles. All in all these 2 drinks were interesting and if they paint a correct picture of Trinidad and Tobago, I’d probably want to vacation there, but not to the parts where they only have Chubby Grape.

Thomas Kemper Blood Orange Soda

I know this is more a propos to Halloween festivities rather than Christmas/Hanukkah times, but WHATEVA, I DO WHAT I WANT.

I’m an out of control teen.

What we have here is Thomas Kemper soda, of the blood orange variety. I’m a serious beverage hipster. If I drank beer, I’m sure I’d only want microbrews. Like beer, I tend to favor the obscure and smaller soda companies with more unique flavors. This was a pretty vivacious looking soda, with all the energy of the drink focused on the color with minimal labeling in colors that either matched or accented it.I took this in my laboratory. It’s pronounced lahbohratoree.

Naturally, I expected this to be vibrant and sunny, like its namesake fruit, with a twinge of a macabre pucker thrown in for good measure. After all, it is a blood orange. But instead, it was a flavor concentrating heavily on the acerbic with little homage paid to the fruit it represented. What should have been casually tart was bitterly acidic, and if anything, it tasted more like orange-flavored Jell-O (“with carrots inside,” said Keepitcoming) with a tang at the end. A slightly herbal, cloying flavor, perhaps from the honey, provided the base sweetness in this soda.I wish this hadn’t proposed so much in its appearance. We’d left it in the fridge as a treat because it was so pretty and fire-colored, and quaffing it just seemed like a letdown. This goes squarely into the category of “things that look pretty but are not good to eat,” and joins an ignoble list of animal shaped marshmallows, marzipan fruit hunks, gigantic lollipops, and mockolate rabbits.