REVIEW: Coke Freestyle 2017 Holiday Mixes (North Pole Magic and Arctic Chill)

Coke Freestyle 2017 Holiday Mixes

One of the more understated junk food rites of the holiday season has to be Coca-Cola’s seasonal Freestyle mixes. Since they’re not ubiquitously marketed like everything else Coke does, they always seem to sneak up on you as quaint, L-T-O surprises at the local cineplex or friendly neighborhood Burger King.

Well, if you fancied previous seasonal flavors like Secret Santa and Mistletoe Flow, you’ll probably get a yuletide kick out of the latest additions to the Coke Freestyle family – the aptly named North Pole Magic and Arctic Chill.

Aesthetically, there isn’t much to say about either beverage. They both have a pleasant, reddish brown hue, with the Arctic Chill variation looking lighter than North Pole Magic. In terms of scent, they smell practically identical – as soon as your olfactory glands whiff the drinks, the aroma is unmistakable. You’ve got orange, you’ve got vanilla and you’ve got something else that you can’t quite put your finger on for the initial sniff. But that becomes very apparent once the drinks start tangoing with your taste buds.

Coke Freestyle North Pole Magic

We’ll start with North Pole Magic (NPM) because it’s the stronger of the two (both in terms of figurative quality and literal flavor). The beverage tastes pretty much the same way it smells. I’ve read some Internet posts that say NPM is one part vanilla, one part cherry, and one part root beer, but I beg to differ. To these tastebuds, anyway, NPM is one part Coca-Cola, one part orange creme and one part vanilla – in short, sherbet-flavored Coke.

In all my years I’ve never once imagined what a Yabba Dabba Do Orange Flinstones Push Up-flavored Coca-Cola variation would taste like, but I’ll be tickled pink if NPM isn’t one of the most delicious Coke permutations I’ve tasted in quite some time. This stuff is too yummy to be relegated to those bright red touchscreen terminals – Coke definitely needs to put this in bottle and can form come next Christmas.

Coke Freestyle ArcticChill

Arctic Chill (AC) – which is fighting under the less calorie-dense Coca-Cola Zero umbrella – is pretty much the same thing as NPM, except…well, not as flavorful.

I hate to use the term “watered down,” but that’s precisely what AC tastes like compared to NPM. It’s still pretty good, but the Coke Zero taste completely overwhelms the sherbet flavor. In fact, you only get the sherbet flavor as a ghostly aftertaste – almost as if you were drinking a Coke Zero in a cup somebody momentarily used as a holster for a creamsicle for about five seconds. Again, it’s not a bad soda by any stretch, it’s just that compared to NPM it feels like a mild imitation.

Regardless, you really can’t go wrong with either flavor. And Coke definitely needs to be commended for thinking outside the box for these holiday mixes – thank goodness they eschewed the all too predictable gingerbread and candy cane flavors in favor of one that’s great, no matter the time of year.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available.)

Purchased Price: $1.69
Size: 20 oz. cup
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10 (North Pole Magic)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Arctic Chill)
Pros: A robust, creamsicle flavor. You’ve got options if you’re trying to count calories. The theoretical ability to combine each flavor with Diet Dr. Pepper and peach Sprite, because Y.O.L.O.
Cons: Arctic Chill tastes pretty watered down compared to North Pole Magic. Only being able to drink the sodas at the movies or while you’re shopping at the grocery store. Wondering how much it would cost to bribe the store to look the other way while you fill up a water cooler jug.

FAST FOOD NEWS: Krispy Kreme’s Gingerbread Glazed Doughnut

Krispy Kreme Gingerbread Glazed Doughnut

For one day only, December 12, Krispy Kreme will be offering the new Gingerbread Glazed Doughnut to celebrate National Gingerbread House Day.

It features spiced gingerbread dough with hints on cinnamon and ginger and is covered in a warm gingerbread molasses glaze. According to Krispy Kreme, it’s the first time it has transformed both the dough and glaze to create an all new holiday treat.

Krispy Kreme’s Gingerbread Glazed Doughnut is available at participating U.S. and Canadian locations. To find out if it’s being sold in your area visit krispykreme.com/gingerbreadglaze.

One doughnut has 200 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 45 milligrams of potassium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber 13 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

If you try it, let us know what you think in the comments.

(Image via Krispy Kreme.)

REVIEW: Drake’s Fudge Dipped Devil Dogs

Drake s Fudge Dipped Devil Dogs

I like my food plain and dry. I eat sandwiches without condiments. Cereal without milk. I credit two things for this strange (according to the world) habit. First, the “Don’t Drown Your Food” public service announcement that ran during Saturday morning cartoons. What can I say, it really stuck with me. Second, the driest snack cakes known to mankind – Devil Dogs. It’s little wonder these cakes are bone-shaped, as in “Dry as a…”

As a child, I took it as a test of my junk food mettle to down a whole Devil Dog (or multiple) without a drink. It was the ‘80s equivalent to the Cinnamon Challenge. Nobody could power through those little Saharas like me. It’s a wonder I survived to adulthood without fatally aspirating a chunk of chocolatey desiccant. Sure, there was a layer of frosting between the layers, but we all know that did nothing to offset the plastic-wrapped drought that is Devil Dogs.

Despite Devil Dogs’ apparent desire to kill me, I love them dearly. They are second only to Hostess Cupcakes in my all-time rankings. But they’ve sat out the recent novelty flavor trend, hence I haven’t paid them much attention lately. So I was delighted to see them re-enter the arena with a new iteration – fudge-dipped. I like it, DD – keeping close to your roots. No garish colors or artificial fruit filling, just more of what you already do well.

Drake s Fudge Dipped Devil Dogs 2

Inside the individual wrappers, I was greeted by the familiar Devil Dog aroma – cocoa-cocoa-cocoa. But a new sensation enveloped my fingers – slightly moist melty chocolate. Like the Ring Dings and Yodels’ shells, Devil Dogs’ new thinny thin covering was body heat sensitive and easily left traces of itself on my hands.

Drake s Fudge Dipped Devil Dogs 3

Compelled by habit, I took the biggest bite possible, expecting the lovely arid velvet to cling to my throat as usual. But three things happened: 1) the fudge coating paved the way for an easy swallow. 2) the cake itself seemed to be slightly less dehydrated – perhaps the chocolate cover held more moisture inside? And 3) the frosting layer was lighter. My memories of Devil Dog filling was a thick, sweet slab. This filling was more like marshmallow – sticky with tiny air pockets. This was a nice change.

Drake s Fudge Dipped Devil Dogs 4

The basic flavor of Devil Dogs was intact – the cocoa cake and the sugary sweet filling. The fudge dip tasted just like Yodels’ and was a logical extension of this classic ‘Dog. The refined textures appealed to the 40+ year-old me who’d rather not eat tiny cakes with the Grim Reaper standing behind me, waiting for his chance.

Drake s Fudge Dipped Devil Dogs 5

Overall, if you’re a fan of Devil Dogs, this is a treat to try. If you can’t handle the realness of Devil “Dry AF” Dogs, you might just be able to take these, with a glass of milk in reach.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cake – 280 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of total sugars and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 18.32 oz. box (8 cakes)
Purchased at: Food Emporium
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Familiar Devil Dog cocoa flavor and Yodel-y chocolate shell. Lighter, fluffier filling. Not being choked by complete, utter dryness.
Cons: Not being choked by beautiful, beautiful dryness. I can’t let it go. I just can’t.

FAST FOOD NEWS: Starbucks Christmas Tree Frappuccino

Starbucks Christmas Tree Frappuccino

Unlike a real Christmas tree, you can’t put presents under it or let it sit out until mid-February. But Starbucks’ new Christmas Tree Frappuccino can get you in the holiday mood or give you a sweet break from your Christmas shopping.

The festive beverage features mocha sauce and peppermint syrup blended with milk and ice that’s topped with a tree made with matcha-infused whipped cream. The tree is decorated with a caramel drizzle as tinsel and candied cranberries as ornaments. The final touch is a strawberry that’s used as a tree topper.

It’s available for a very limited time (until Monday, December 11) at participating locations in the U.S. and Canada.

A grande with whole milk has 420 calories, 21 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 50 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein, and 15 milligrams of caffeine.

If you’ve tried it, let us know what you think of it in the comments.

(Image via Starbucks’ website.)