Despite fitting perfectly into Mountain Dew’s target demographic – I was a middle schooler when extreme sports were huge and a high schooler when gaming culture went mainstream – I’ve never been a huge Dew devotee. (Dewvotee?) For whatever reason, my tastes always tended towards the cola side of things. Still, I’ll never turn down a chance to try a weird, limited edition soft drink, so here we are.
Mountain Dew’s Sangrita Blast is one of two Taco Bell-imprinted flavors freed from soda fountain exclusivity just in time for the sweltering summer months (the other being longstanding fan favorite Baja Blast).
Now I have to admit to some ignorance here: When I first picked up this soda, I was puzzled by its name. “Sangrita?” I wondered aloud. “With a T?” I figured one of two things: Either Mountain Dew was afraid of calling it Sangria Blast because people might mistake it for an alcoholic product, or the flavor was crafted as a mish-mosh of sangria and margarita flavors.
A few minutes and some light Googling later, I discovered sangrita is actually a different beverage altogether. Unlike wine-laced sangria, sangrita is an alcohol-free tequila accompaniment made from pomegranate juice, chili powder, and an assortment of other juices and spices which vary from recipe to recipe.
Reading about this popular Mexican drink, my hopes rose. Not because it sounded especially good, but because it just sounded so different. A carbonated take on a peppery, nectar-y cocktail? What a fascinating way to diversify the usually predictable Mountain Dew flavor line-up. Whether it ended up tasting good or bad, at least I knew Sangrita Blast would be interesting.
(At least, that’s what logic told me.)
I admired the promisingly deep, bloody red tint of the soda and cracked open the bottle top. I took a whiff, anticipating the sensation of spicy fizz tickling my nose; instead, though, I found a vague, cherry-ish scent remarkably similar to another Mountain Dew flavor, Code Red. Troubling. Still, smell doesn’t always betray taste, so I remained optimistic and took a sip.
Disappointingly, the flavor was no better. There was no trace of pomegranate, no piquant spice blend, just a bold, cherry-dominated fruit taste with mild citric undertones, sort of like a toned-down cherry limeade. Just as the smell suggested, there was little appreciable difference between Sangrita Blast and Code Red. It’s pleasantly fruity with a surprisingly light aftertaste, but talk about false advertising.
The label plainly describes it as regular Mountain Dew with “citrus punch flavor,” this is true, but if you’re naming your product after something as distinctive as sangrita, you can’t just run Hawaiian Punch through a SodaStream and call it a day. This soda isn’t bad, but it’s disappointing, which is, in a way, worse. If nothing else, I was expecting a potentially awesome hangover remedy, yet we don’t even get that – just a tame retread of an already successful flavor selection. Oh, well.
Unfortunately, I never sampled the fountain version of Sangrita Blast, so I can’t comment as to how the bottled version compares. But I can tell you while other varieties of the citrusy, over-caffeinated classic may be a Mountain Do, Sangrita Blast is most certainly a Mountain Bad. (Did I do that right?)
(Nutrition Facts – 1 bottle – 270 calories, 0 grams of fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 73 grams of carbohydrates, 72 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)
Item: Mountain Dew Sangrita Blast
Purchased Price: $1.70
Size: 20 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Krauszer’s Food & Liquor
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Beautiful color. Pleasant enough take on carbonated fruit punch. Basically Code Red, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Cons: Deceptively named. Missed opportunity. Basically Code Red, if you’re not into that sort of thing.