Back when I was in college I drank a lot of Fruitopia and Surge. Surge was Coca-Colaâ€™s answer to Mountain Dew. They even aped the extreme sports campaign of Mountain Dew but no matter, I liked Surge and was impartial to the Mountain. In some stupid way I thought drinking Surge was cooler because it was not as popular as Mountain Dew at my university.
Yeahâ€¦I was one of those idiots who felt that if things got popular, they were no longer good. Screaming “sell out” while I had an ill-conceived mohawk and noshing on Asian shrimp flavored snacks. God, if I could go back in time I would kick myself in the ghoulies and then wipe the mud off my Cole Haanâ€™s all over my 1995 version’s face.
“Grow the fuck up kid,” I would shout, grabbing myself by his/my ratty Stereolab t-shirt. Then I would drop me back on the ground and kick me 300-style down a pit. Like a clichÃ©, I would raise my arms in victory to the opus of the Maximum Overdrive soundtrack, AC/DCâ€™s “Who Made Who?”
Anyhow, as time went on I discovered martinis and manhattans. Surge eventually went the way of the Sega Dreamcast, pogs and Tamagotchis (which taught a generation to never have kids or pets because the damn thing was so needy). Around this time I noticed a soft drink with the ugliest logo ever called Mello Yello.
I remember that soda when I was a little kid. More importantly, I remembered the original 70â€™s logo with the cool bubble letters. It reminded me of the neon Doctor Who emblem with Peter Davison. I didnâ€™t know what this strange font was all about but bought a can anyway because I have always wanted to try it. It was too sweet for my taste and I couldnâ€™t get past that wacky lettering. I forgot it and whenever had a rare craving for a citrus soda, I took to Mountain Dew. It was convenient and readily available.
Recently, the House of Coke added Mello Yello to their successful Zero line. If you have tasted the regular Mello Yello but think it is way too sweet you will be in for a pleasant surprise with the Zero edition. I have tried all of the Zero line and personally, I mostly prefer them over the diet versions. First, they taste almost close to the regular versions. Second, the obvious artificial sweetness found in some of the diet ones are muted in the Zero editions.
I really dislike sodas that are amped up in the sweetness department and was concerned about my last encounter with Yello (the soda, not the band). However with the Zero brand, I had to try it and I think my 1995 counterpart would agree as well. The black can is punched up with the retro 70â€™s logo. “The original smooth” line purred on the can. It sounds more appropriate as a tagline for a Tarantino flick doesnâ€™t it?
I love citrus soft drinks so if you do not, Mello Yello Zero wonâ€™t change your mind. Granted I can only drink about one of these every so often because too much of it kills me and Iâ€™m now a cola guy. The taste is sweet enough for my preference and not so sugary that it leaves a sticky film on your teeth. Wait, let my 1995 version tell you himself.
Jeff: “Drink this and tell them what you think!”
Jeff 1995 Counterpart: “What? Iâ€™m drawing a comic book about goth superheroesâ€¦ AND this stuff is neon yellow-green like a glow stick that all those ravers dance with, what is this bro? Itâ€™s weird looking.”
Jeff: “Shut up and drink it or Iâ€™ll rip up your damn Sandman comics autographed by Gaiman!”
Jeff 1995 Counterpart: (sniffs the glass) “Okay, okay, smells of faint lemons but dude, this looks like the Toxic Avengerâ€™s urine test, brah.”
Jeff: “Did I really talk like that? Would you freaking drink it already?”
Jeff 1995 Counterpart: (takes a cautious sip) “You can taste some kind of citrus fruit and it isnâ€™t overcome by any sweetness. Itâ€™s actually refreshing, and a lemon-lime flavor hits the back of your throat. Itâ€™s bereft of any syrupy unpleasant aftertaste.”
Jeff: “Bereft? Who says that???”
Jeff 1995 Counterpart: “I will say that if someone like sodas on the sweeter side, this may be a bit too bland for their taste buds.”
Jeff: “Good point Jeff and it has to be consumed cold immediately because it doesnâ€™t taste great at all as it heads toward room temperature. Now can you turn off that Prodigy CD? Damn you have bad taste in music too!”
Jeff 1995 Counterpart: “Look I drank it, leave me alone yo. This world doesnâ€™t need more suits, what happened to you and your dreams of becoming an artist? Oooh, lookatme Iâ€™m too busy looking up laws and shit, Iâ€™m so important, lookatmeâ€¦Big deal bozo!”
Jeff: “SHUT UPâ€¦And note in a year, when a woman buys you a New Monkees CD to impress you, she is hinting that she wants to date you. NOT talk about all thirteen episodes of the damned show you idiot!” (Kicks 1995 Jeff in the baklavas)
Jeff 1995 Counterpart: (Wriggles in pain and disappears in a flash back to the land of horrible Ace of Base singles)
So there you have it. If you like Diet Mountain Dew, I recommend you give Mello Yello Zero a pull. The soda doesnâ€™t have a strong artificial sweetness that I find in other diet drinks. I also recommend you stay away from those Ace of Base singlesâ€¦yeesh.
(Nutrition Facts â€“ 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, and 0 grams of protein.)
Item: Mello Yello Zero
Price: $3.00 for a 12 pack case
Size: 12 ounces
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: It is quite refreshing if cold. Not overly sweet. Time travelling to warn yourself of the upcoming pitfalls. Low in the sodium department. Varied enough to not taste like Diet Mountain Dew. New Monkees.
Cons: It is quite yucky if it starts to reach room temperature. The color will remind you of glow sticks. Time traveling may cause Butterfly effect (the theory, not the stupid film). May be too low in the sweet department for some. May be a miss for fans who like Diet Mountain Dew. Ace of Base.