REVIEW: Pepsi Wild Cherry Made with Real Sugar

Wild Cherry Pepsi Made with Real Sugar

Just like blue whales, the African wild ass, and Gary Busey’s sanity, commercial soft drinks made with real sugar seem endangered. Take a look at beverages found in your local convenience store. Most likely they’re sweetened with a processed corn syrup.

A Google search can reveal a multitude of negative health effects reportedly associated with the consumption of high fructose corn syrup. But a little bad press will never curb my soda consumption. After all, I don’t give a fructose what I put inside my body.

Nevertheless, soft drinks flavored with real sugar are making a comeback. All the cool kids are drinking them now, or at least that’s what the guy who sold me ninety crates of Mexican Coke told me.

Earlier this summer, beverage behemoth PepsiCo announced it would be manufacturing Pepsi Wild Cherry with real sugar for a limited time. Upon hearing the news, I hightailed it over to the nearest Walmart. I just couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to try Pepsi Wild Cherry, one of my favorite sodas of all time, made with that precious, ecstasy-inducing white substance. (No, not that one. The other white substance.)

If you’ve never had the pleasure of tasting Pepsi Wild Cherry, trust me, it doesn’t taste like cherry cough syrup mixed with soda. Lovers of purple drank, look elsewhere. (Sorry, Lil Wayne.) Pepsi Wild Cherry is a simple beverage, offering the same cola taste of regular Pepsi but with a slight cherry zing as the flavor develops on the tongue.

Wild Cherry Pepsi Made with Real Sugar 2

But this isn’t the first time PepsiCo has released a soda sweetened with real sugar. Pepsi Throwback, introduced in 2009, contains beet sugar. Though it doesn’t taste like beets, Throwback’s flavor is noticeably different relative to standard Pepsi. Because I tend to prefer Throwback, I wondered whether I would favor Pepsi Wild Cherry Made with Real Sugar over the original.

It’s packaged in a pink can decked out with a retro Pepsi-Cola logo. In comparison to standard Pepsi Wild Cherry, the real sugar variant contains two grams less of sugar and ten fewer calories. The caffeine content and ingredients lists are identical — aside from the inclusion of high fructose corn syrup, of course.

Wild Cherry Pepsi Made with Real Sugar 3

Poured into a glass, the sodas appear indistinguishable, sharing the same color, aroma, and amount of fizz. But what about taste? Is Pepsi Wild Cherry Made with Real Sugar preferable to its high fructose counterpart?

I tasted each soda in a variety of different manners. I tried them in both blind and not-so-blind taste tests, hoping to identify some true difference between the two beverages. I tried the sodas cold and at room temperature from freshly opened cans, and at room temperature served completely flat.

I wanted the real sugar variant to prove superior, but dagnabbit, these two sodas taste identical. At times, it tasted like one soda might be a hint more cherry-flavored or just a bit more fizzy on the tongue. But I was unable to re-recognize these qualities during a blind taste test. Maybe my cola-tasting palate hasn’t yet reached the level of sophistication needed to distinguish between the two. But I would be lying if I claimed to perceive a difference. If PepsiCo sought to create an exact duplicate of their original Pepsi Wild Cherry, they pulled it off. Both colas possess the same sweet cherry flavor, and both make me gassy beyond belief.

Unfortunately, this means there’s little reason to buy Pepsi Wild Cherry Made with Real Sugar unless you’re looking to avoid high fructose corn syrup. The flavors are identical — so why should I choose one over the other? I will likely continue drinking beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, even if it cuts a few years off of my life.

Meh, I review junk food on the Internet. I’ll probably die young anyway.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounces – 150 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 30 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of total carbohydrates, 40 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Pepsi Wild Cherry Made with Real Sugar
Purchased Price: $4.28
Size: 12 pack/12 oz. cans
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tastes identical to regular Pepsi Wild Cherry. Made with real sugar, not HFCS. Not giving a fructose.
Cons: Doesn’t taste better than regular Pepsi Wild Cherry. Gassy food reviewers.

11 thoughts to “REVIEW: Pepsi Wild Cherry Made with Real Sugar”

  1. That’s a quality (and funny) review right there, complete with your (mostly) blind taste test comparison of the sugared vs corn syrup varieties. I confess to avoiding corn syrup when possible. Ketchup, for instance, is on my radar because sugared types are now easily found, at a cost increase, of course. If I have a choice I’m going team sugar. So perhaps Pepsi is aiming at folks like me, a small target that might be more inclined to have a soda made of more natural glop.

  2. I was looking for this when I was at the grocery store last night but could only find 12-packs of the sugared wild cherry Pepsi. I just wanted a single bottle. I’m not an “avoid HFCS at any costs” type of person, but given the choice I usually go for the real sugar product. In soda, I think there really isn’t a taste difference so much as a different “mouth feel” (I hate that term but it best describes it). HFCS soda leaves kind of a sticky residue in my mouth where sugared soda doesn’t.

  3. Unfortunately, although it may say “Real Sugar”, if the label does not specify “Pure Can Sugar” then it is actually “GMO Beet Sugar” which is a cheap alternative and inferior in taste to the real thing (I happen to be allergic to beets myself).

    “GMO Beet Sugar” is what Pepsi used in it’s “Throwback” sodas too.

    Pretty much, if something just says “Sugar” or “Real Sugar” then it is really “GMO Beet Sugar”.

  4. Unfortunately, although it may say “Real Sugar”, if the label does not specify “PURE CANE Sugar” then it is actually “GMO Beet Sugar” which is a cheap alternative and inferior in taste to the real thing (I happen to be allergic to beets myself).

    “GMO Beet Sugar” is what Pepsi used in it’s “Throwback” sodas too.

    Pretty much, if something just says “Sugar” or “Real Sugar” then it is really “GMO Beet Sugar”.

  5. I like soda sweetened with real sugar. It costs more and as a result, I buy less, hence drinking less of it.

    It’s more of a treat.

    I prefer Boylan’s Black Cherry soda though as far as real sugar sodas are concerned. So tasty!

    I’ll have to go back to Wally World for some more Wild Cherry Pepsi with real sugar.

  6. second time I have been in a hurry and picked up cherry pepsi in place of pepsi. i don’t like it and I discard it out. Your blue label bottle looks a lot like a regular pepsi bottle dont make me go to coke cause I m in a hurry

  7. I been in the vending business for 40 years and have never seen the amount of complaints over this soda. Pulling from all machines and throwing it out. The taste is very bad.

  8. I like Pepsi Wild Cherry Made with Real Sugar. It had a nice cherry taste to it. I haven’t had the original Pepsi Wild Cherry in a while.

  9. I absolutely love the real sugar version of Wild Cherry Pepsi. It is the best soft drink that I have had in years. I disagree with the author, but I also did not try a blind taste test. I love this drink. Maybe it is because I have been buying Pepsi from machines that mix it on the spot. The Pepsi at Costco has never been this delicious.

  10. I can taste the difference and prefer the real sugar version, as of 06/10/16 it has become very hard to find. Since getting used to drinking Wild cherry Pepsi I do not drink regular any more. The high fructose version is mildly acceptable but has me searching the many drinks available for a new favorite. Talk about bad and that for me is the vanilla cherry Pepsi but others may love it. For now it is still wild cherry Pepsi

  11. I disagree, corn syrup basted colas leave a slime coat in your mouth where as the pure sugar does not. Did you try drinking one at a time with out mixing them taste for taste, thus coating your mouth with the syrup? The sugar ones are cleaner after taste. Try spitting after a whole can of fructose based pop, sugar doesn’t do that

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