I’m a big coffee guy, and I can probably pass for an extra in a zombie movie when I don’t get my caffeine throughout the day. Recently, though, I’ve been trying to quit drinking so much coffee, not because I think I’m addicted (I am) or my teeth are getting too stained (they are), but because I now work on the 11th floor and the fresh-brewed coffee is on the 8th floor. I always take the stairs because I hate being that person who ruins someone’s otherwise stop-less elevator ride, but after three flights of stairs I’m always embarrassingly out of breath. I should probably get into better shape or just take the elevator, but instead I’m going to find a suitable coffee replacement.
Luckily, Rockstar has released two new products that could potentially fit the bill. Rockstar PINK is being marketed towards women, and Rockstar 2X is being marketed towards me and any other incredibly over-caffeinated people for whom 250 mg of caffeine seems appealing.
The first thing everyone notices about Rockstar PINK is that it comes with an attached straw. Including a straw with your pink drink for women seems hilariously, over-the-top sexist, but from my research (read: talking to some coworkers), everyone–women, men, children–love drinking from straws. How often do you have a bad straw-drinking experience? Juice boxes, milkshakes, and fruity cocktails, all awesome, all drunk with straws. Rockstar should just include straws with all their products.
Rockstar PINK is supposed to taste like pink lemonade, but I found it to be more like lemon-lime with a hint of strawberry, as though someone had dissolved a strawberry Starburst in a can of Sprite. It was a pretty enjoyable flavor and there was the right amount of sweetness. Unfortunately, the presence of the artificial sweetener became much more pronounced during the aftertaste. I generally don’t drink diet products, so I’m sure someone who is used to Sucralose would find the aftertaste much less bothersome than I did.
Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised when I read the label. PINK only contains 10 calories, and the ingredients list actually includes some items I can pronounce. Granted, “sweet potato juice extract,” “black carrot juice concentrate,” and “elderberry extract concentrate” don’t exactly scream health-consciousness, nor are they in the first half of the ingredients list, but I guess it’s still better than nothing. All things considered, PINK was pretty good, and I think it’s potentially a viable coffee replacement if I can get used to the aftertaste.
Moving on to the next drink, I’m sad to report that the Rockstar 2X does NOT include a straw. And once I became aware that the absence of a straw was somehow an indication of my gendered-ness, I considered drinking the 2X in the manliest way possible: by chugging the whole thing, crushing the can against my skull, and chucking it halfway across a football field, all the while carrying a bale of hay and rocking an awe-inspiring beard. Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait the two years it would take me to grow some half-decent facial hair, so I just drank it as a regular, unencumbered-by-gender-expectations person would.
That turned out to be a good decision, because if I had chugged the whole can I probably would’ve vomited. It tasted like one part regular Rockstar (which I like), one part cough syrup, and fourteen parts artificial sweetener. Again, I usually don’t use artificial sweetener, and I suppose some people could really like the taste of cough syrup. Some of you might end up genuinely enjoying the taste of 2X, but I couldn’t drink more than a couple gulps, even with the promise of 250 mg of caffeine and only 15 calories.
The color was also rather unappetizing. While regular Rockstar is similar in complexion to ginger ale and PINK is just a bit too bright for comfort, 2X is so radioactively yellow that I imagine it’s what Peter Parker’s piss would’ve looked like had he been particularly dehydrated the morning after getting bitten by that irradiated spider.
I should mention that less than half a can managed to keep me properly caffeinated for the entire morning. Rockstar 2X saved me from being out of breath after three flights of stairs today, but given its unpalatable taste and lack of a straw, I think I’ll just take the elevator tomorrow.
(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounces – Rockstar PINK – 10 calories, 60 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 100% vitamin B3, 100% vitamin B5, 100% vitamin B6, 100% vitamin B9, 100% vitamin B12, 2% calcium, 100 milligrams of taurine and 120 milligrams of caffeine. Rockstar 2X – 15 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar, 15 milligrams of sodium, 200% vitamin B2, 100% vitamin B3, 100% vitamin B5, 100% vitamin B6, 100% vitamin B9, 100% vitamin B12, 100 milligrams of taurine, 250 milligrams of caffeine, 100 milligrams of panax ginseng extract, 100 milligrams of L-Arginine, 25 milligrams of L-Carnitine, 25 milligrams of inositol and 25 milligrams of guarana seed extract.)
Item: Rockstar PINK and Rockstar 2X Energy Drinks
Price: $1.99 each
Size: 12 ounces
Rating: 7 out of 10 (PINK)
Rating: 3 out of 10 (2X)
Pros: Low calorie. PINK has a pleasant taste. 2X has tons of caffeine (250 mg), PINK has a decent amount (120 mg), both for a relatively cheap price. PINK has some natural-sounding ingredients. Straws and any drinks that come with straws. Awe-inspiring beards.
Cons: PINK has a disagreeable aftertaste. 2X just tastes bad in general. 2X has a really weird color. Hilarious over-the-top sexism. My intolerance of artificial sweeteners. Being the guy who interrupts a previously stop-less elevator ride. My inability to grow facial hair. Spiderman’s radioactive piss. Being out of breath after climbing three flights of stairs.