REVIEW: Ghost Cherry Limeade Energy Drink

What is it?

As GHOST Energy continues to rise, starting to pop up in huge chains like Walmart, the brand has set its sights on making Shirley Temple smile, with a bubbly twist on Cherry Limeade — chockfull of 200 milligrams of natural caffeine and focus ingredients.

How is it?

It’s good. It’s quite good, and it’ll grow on ya! It took me multiple cans to figure out how I felt about this one (I know, I’m an addict). The flavoring here isn’t quite as strong and punchy as I’ve come to expect from GHOST Energy. I’m used to being walloped over the head with flavor, and while this is still pretty strong, it isn’t as intense, especially when compared with the WarHeads and Sour Patch Kids candy collabs.

The flavor is nearly a 50/50 split of cherry and lime, with a touch more lime than I expected. That sharp citrusy lime keeps the drink from getting too sweet, and while I wouldn’t have opposed a bolder sugary cherry flavor, the balance also helps prevent it from tasting medicinal. It’s a super smooth sip that goes down easily, thanks to some tight and not too aggressive effervescence. As a big time supporter of Shirley Temples and Cherry 7Up (and Dirty Shirleys when I’m feeling wild), this one ends up really hitting the spot.

Anything else you need to know?

The first time GHOST made a cherry limeade flavor, it was a collaboration with Sonic for its powdered Legend pre-workout line. It’s still available and co-branded with Sonic, but that endorsement doesn’t come with the Ready-To-Drink canned version for whatever reason. I’ve had the pre-workout in the past, and the flavor is denser and more intense. But carbonation typically changes the experience, and I’m not certain whether this is the same or an entirely new formula for the profile.


This drink is only held back by how unbelievably elite a lot of the other releases from GHOST Energy have been. In the grand scheme of energy drinks, this is probably a 9 out of 10 and the best cherry limeade on the market — certainly better than Reign and Alani Nu. But when graded and curved against the other straight slam dunks from GHOST, it might be closer to a 7, which lands me very comfortably at a median of 8, and a damn fine one at that.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 16 oz can
Purchased at: GNC
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates,0 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Topped Bossin’ Cream Pie and Topped Raspberry Cheesecake

For those who may not be quite as privy to strolling a grocery store’s frozen aisle on a bi-weekly basis, Ben & Jerry’s erupted into 2021 with seven new semi-novelty pints called Topped. I call them “semi-novelty” because, like their Core’d ice cream siblings before them, these flavors are definitely meant to catch eyes and get people talking about their full layer of chocolate ganache beneath the lid. Last year saw a Topped microdose of two new additions, and 2023 arrives with another fresh duo — Bossin’ Cream Pie and Raspberry Cheesecake.

Bossin’ Cream Pie is vanilla custard ice cream with cake pieces and pastry cream swirls topped with milk chocolaty ganache and fudge chips.

Boston Cream Pie is one of those elusive desserts that I’ve had a bunch of spinoffs of but never the actual dessert itself. I know it’s a shame, but I don’t think it’s all that common in California. I’ve had Boston Cream doughnuts, cookies, yogurt, and even the original Ben & Jerry’s Boston Cream Pie Ice Cream from many years ago, but enjoying an actual slice has escaped me…and now I’m sad.

Anyway, the vanilla custard base is notably different than the milker, sweeter, more floral one that I recently wrote (and raved) about in Lights! Caramel! Action! This has a denser texture and eggy flavor that does a good job of feeling and tasting like a custard as opposed to traditional ice cream — think French Vanilla versus Vanilla Bean. It’s good and solid for this flavor profile, but I prefer the standard vanilla overall.

Yellow cake is one of my favorites, and there’s plenty of the soft and sweet mix-in to go around in this pint. The pieces have a notable chew and touch of butteriness that blends in a bit with the base. It’s not the most wow-factor combination, but it works and it’s tasty, if not a touch forgettable due to the lack of contrast, but still good.

What isn’t forgettable is the milk chocolate ganache on top, which may be the best execution of the topping since its inception two years ago. It’s soft, fudge-y, and brilliantly sweet with a silky smooth texture that makes every spoonful it touches absolute gold. The soft ganache gets accented by crunchy bits of fudge chips, and I love it. I don’t really notice the pastry cream swirls that much, and I wish they were more prominent, but the fudge is so good and the base and cake are so classically tried and true that it remains a pint I’m willing to bet almost anyone will enjoy.

Topped Raspberry Cheesecake is cheesecake ice cream with raspberry swirls and graham cracker, topped with white chocolate ganache and graham cracker crumbs.

Finally, a Ben & Jerry’s pint with enough graham cracker! For my whole scooping life, I feel B&J graham is among its strongest mix-ins and I always want more. Here it is, we have more, and it is excellent. The graham cracker on top is dry and crumbly with a slight crunch that combines beautifully with the sweet and creamy white ganache beneath it. The graham inside is ample and much softer with a butteriness and hint of saltiness that caresses my spoon with delight — it’s so good. Can we please get this much graham cracker in Pumpkin Cheesecake? I will levitate if it does.

The cheesecake base is good and pretty unique. It’s not the richest cheesecake base I’ve ever had, but it’s notably funky with some tang and pronounced cheesiness that’s impressive and strong enough to get the point across. Interestingly, the texture isn’t quite as dense as I expect from B&J. It’s not light by any means, but there’s something about the funkiness of the flavoring and inclusion of cheese cultures that gives it a different, mildly thinner texture.

The only slight misfire in this pint is the raspberry swirls, which I didn’t get enough of. When I encounter them, they bring a much needed brightness and acidity that works with the funky ice cream and buttery graham splendidly. A couple of the bites I had were a touch icy, but even then, I wanted more. But there’s a good chance your experience will be fruitier than mine if you pick this one up, which you absolutely should.

DISCLOSURE: I received free product samples from Ben & Jerry’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Bossin’ Cream Pie), 8 out of 10 (Raspberry Cheesecake)
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 130g) Bossin’ Cream Pie 380 calories, 20 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 39 grams of total sugars, and 5 grams of protein. Raspberry Cheesecake – 410 calories, 23 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 37 grams of total sugars, and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Tangy Chili Fusion

I’m not sure if this is true in every region or state, but in the Bay Area of California, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos reign supreme. I would imagine it’s the same in at least Los Angeles, San Diego, and most of Texas, where the youth get adapted to heat seeking at an early age. Whether eaten straight, topped with fresh lime juice, or dunked into cream cheese, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have felt like a dominant force since they burst onto the snack scene in 1992.

Until relatively recently, though, Frito-Lay has kept it pretty modest with the varieties — Flamin’ Hot, Xxtra Flamin’ Hot, Puffs, and Limon being the only changes that come to mind until 2017’s Chipotle Ranch twist — one of my personal favorites. In recent years the Flamin’ Hot floodgates have opened and the seasoning has popped up on several other chip styles and flavor remixes, including the latest member of Chester Cheeto’s family, Flamin’ Hot Tangy Chili Fusion.

When I first saw the name and color of the bag of this new Cheetos, I envisioned a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos colliding with a purple bagged Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, and that’s kind of what these are like, but they’re absolutely in a spicy lane of their own, too.

The color is the same menacingly deep red that instantly stains your fingers, with a pungent, spicy, and smoky aroma that wafts from the bag. The most notable flavor that immediately jumps out is the smokiness, which has a sharp and intense bite like chipotle chili peppers. The smokiness quickly evolves into a more familiar Flamin’ Hot spice with just a touch of sweetness and finishes with a legit tangy acidic punch akin to vinegar and lemon juice. Crunching away at these slightly greasy airy delights is no problem at all, with the heat building as you eat, which encourages the salty snacking spiral like no other.

I was expecting a more pronounced sweetness, probably because of my Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos association, but it never really comes, aside from a bit of herbaceous bell peppery flavor. In fact, when tasting these side by side with a bag of Flamin’ Hot Limon, the Tangy Chili Fusion is less sweet and more sharply tangy than the Limon, which has a citrusy sweetness that’s even more pronounced next to the smoky charred tang and bold intensity of the Fusion.

It will be interesting to see how long these stick around because they’re very good, but I’m not sure many would choose them over the original Flamin’ Hot, and I certainly wouldn’t take them over my favorite all-time Cheetos Mexican Street Corn. Tangy Chili Fusion is a fun and surprisingly aggressive twist on a modern classic from the king of spicy, salty snacks.

Purchased Price: $3.98
Size: 8.5 ounces
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (21 pieces, 28g) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 grams of total sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Lights! Caramel! Action! Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s is one of the few companies that make a concerted effort to do the right thing. Whether you agree with its specific politics or not, B&J often uses its platform to raise awareness and money for lesser known causes, and in a world consumed by greed, that’s an admirable trait to have. The latest collaborative ice-cream-for-good comes courtesy of director Ava DuVernay and her ARRAY Alliance, dedicated to advancing social justice through art. Lights! Caramel! Action! is vanilla ice cream with salted caramel swirls, graham cracker swirls, and gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough.

As often as B&J advocates for good, they also like to slightly tweak already tried and true recipes and rebrand them with a celebrity endorsement — I’m looking at you, Mint Chocolate Chance — and that tends to yield mixed results. This pint combines some all-time great components into one container that’s no doubt good, but a bit too familiar.

The vanilla base is excellent, like, really, really good. Very smooth and creamy with a dense floral milky taste that’s as good or better than any B&J vanilla I can recall scooping in the last couple of years. Perhaps I haven’t had straight vanilla from the company in a while, but I’m impressed. I always found B&J vanilla to be satisfactory, and this exceeds that — simply delicious.

The chocolate chip cookie dough is also, unsurprisingly, fantastic. “Gobs” is absolutely the right way to describe them because they are big boulders of gritty brown sugar dough with crunchy chocolate that have been a hit since their inception in 1984. Undeniably delicious, but when paired with the vanilla base, it is exactly like a flavor that’s been on grocery store shelves since 1991 — essentially my whole ice cream-eating life.

Where this flavor switches things up is the dual swirls of salted caramel and graham cracker, and they’re both good but not quite as plentiful as I would like. The graham cracker brings a buttery and slightly salted grit to the profile, which interestingly overlaps with the dough a bit in its texture and pint presence. I always want more graham, but the amount here, although not super heavy, is satisfactory given the epic amount of dough and some of their shared characteristics.

The one component I really want more of is the salted caramel swirl. I’ve been lucky in my many years of reviewing ice cream to get some massive pools of caramel, but this is much more like last year’s Chewy Gooey Cookie — relatively thin and lacking any sticky sweet density. The caramel is there, and I enjoy what little I can taste. But being in the name, I wanted more of a caramel-y kick to take this creation to another level. As great as the vanilla base is, I think this could have been even better, more true-to-name, and unique, with a caramel base to give this flavor more caramelized sugary depth and character to go along with the iconic dough, incredible pun, and gritty graham.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Ben & Jerry’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: Received from Ben & Jerry’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 144g) 390 calories, 21 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 33 grams of total sugars, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ghost Warheads Sour Green Apple Energy Drink

Ghost Energy Warheads Sour Green Apple Energy Drink Can

What is it?

Another entry into the sugar-free energy drink candy collaboration saga from one of the fastest-growing supplement brands in the game. It combines 200 milligrams of natural caffeine from coffee, 1000 milligram of taurine, 1000 milligrams of L-Carnitine, and a handful of focus ingredients into one ready-to-drink package. Warheads Sour Green Apple is available initially only at GNC, with a wider rollout anticipated later in the year.

How is it?

Absolutely fantastic. It’s no secret I’m a fan of GHOST Energy, and once again, the folks at GHOST have knocked it out of the park. Shattered the backboard. Hit the buzzer beater. This is sour apple perfection.

Ghost Energy Warheads Sour Green Apple Energy Drink Glass

The flavor is full on tart and juicy green apple, followed by a lip-puckering sourness that’s just enough to tickle your tongue without being off-putting. It makes me brush my tongue against the roof of my mouth to fully process its depth but stops short of going full-on actual Warheads sour. It’s not quite as tart as GHOST’s Watermelon Warhead from its 2020 launch lineup, but it’s right below it, with more intensity than Sour Patch Kids’ RedBerry and Blue Raspberry.

Ghost Energy Warheads Sour Green Apple Energy Drink Clear

The carbonation is a perfect middle ground of tight fizzy-ness that leaves the finish smooth and refreshing while letting the candied notes shine. Sour Green Apple is intensely sour-candy-tasting yet very drinkable, all in the same swig. It’s magical.

Anything else you need to know?

This summer, Reign discontinued its Sour Apple flavor, which was in my top three from that line, and I no longer mourn its absence because this is even better. The flavors are comparable, but the GHOST version has a clearer, punchier, more full-bodied flavor and smoother energy; it’s similar but better in every way. If you’ve been sad that Reign Sour Apple got RIP’d, I recommend ordering a case of this without even trying it — it’s THAT good.


If you dig sour, apple, or especially sour apple drinks, this is a no-brainer buy that will do well to switch up your daily caffeine routine. Think Martinelli’s Gold Medal Sparkling Cider meets Green Apple Jolly Rancher — so good. GHOST continues to cement itself as the most consistent and impressive purveyor of sugar-free pick-me-ups, and I can’t get enough.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 16 oz can
Purchased at: GNC
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates,0 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein.