QUICK REVIEW: Coca-Cola Clear (Japan)

Coke Clr

What is Coca-Cola Clear?

I’m in Japan – the mecca of novelty junk food! Of course, I sought out some new and quirky offerings. Coca-Cola has introduced a colorless version of its signature pop – trailing a quarter of a century behind Pepsi in the clear soda arms race. Without all that pesky caramel-y cola, it’s billed as lemon-flavored and is a zero-calorie drink. It is currently only available in Japan.

How is it?

Right out of the bottle, the aroma veers away from the usual Coke. It’s milder with a low-level citrus smell.

Coke Clr 2

I was expecting something with a strong lemon taste, ala Sprite or 7Up, but this was subtler – like squeezing a lemon wedge into your already-sweet seltzer water and adding a dash of cola. Despite the lemon base, it was identifiable as a Coke derivative and had the same sweeteness level, but was lighter and brighter than regular Coca-Cola. It didn’t have the neon citrus feel of other sodas.

While not unpleasant, Coca-Cola Clear failed to establish its own flavor personality. Hence, it’s easier to describe what it ISN’T – it’s not cola, it’s not un-cola. Because of this vagueness of character, I wondered why this? Why now? Is 2018 the right time just because Coke hadn’t done it yet?

Coke Clr 3

Is there anything else you need to know?

Be prepared for the pop. The Coke products I sampled in Japan were packaged in a way that caused the initial rush of gasses out of the bottles to be downright explosive. My travel companion and I startled each other all week with the loud cracks of Coke bottles opening.

Conclusion:

Overall, an OK lightly lemon soda, but as Dr. Ian Malcolm would say – Coca-Cola scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should. Try it if you’re a hardcore noveltyist, but only one bottle.

Purchased Price: 48 yen (approx. 69 cents US)
Size: 500 ml bottle (17 oz.)
Purchased at: MEGA Don Quijote Shibuya, Tokyo
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (100 ml) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of total sugars and 0 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Mtn Dew Merry Mash-Up

Mtn Dew Merry Mash up 2

What is Mtn Dew Merry Mash-Up?

Replacing the famed Mtn Dew Holiday Brew from holidays long past, the new limited edition Mtn Dew Merry Mash-Up, with its seasonal cranberry-pomegranate flavor, has arrived on store shelves with such a clatter, that I had to spring from my bed to see what was the matter.

How is it?

I have always wondered what Christmas would taste like if you could capture its essence in a much-loved soda pop, and the Merry Mash-Up does, I believe, come pretty close. Imagine, if you will, the sweet blood of Rudolph captured in a bright red 20-ounce bottle for all the children to share; the tangy pomegranate mixes spectacularly well with the tart cranberry, making a drink-mix that finally needs no alcohol to dull its senses.

Even at 290 calories a bottle, I would absolutely add this high-fructose concoction to my Christmas list and check it twice, but, sadly it’s another one of their limited edition flavor collaborations. So, in the fever of the holidays, load up on a few decorative bottles and serve the spirited beverage as your own homemade holiday punch this year. It’ll be our secret.

Mtn Dew Merry Mash-Up

Is there anything else I need to know?

I don’t know why they called it “Merry Mash-Up” when the far superior “Merry X-Mash,” coined by me just now, was available. Call me next year, Dew-makers, and we’ll come up with something equally clever together.

Conclusion:

This crisp step-brother to the Mtn Dew family fully enraptures me. The best one of their raucous limited releases of 2018, this is not the extreme version of the Dew were hyper-used to by now, but, instead, a party-hearty ready blend of joyous holiday flavors, spreading merriment to all who wake up to this in their stocking. Dew bless us, everyone!

Purchased Price: $1.59
Size: 20 oz. bottle
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (20 oz.) 290 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 105 milligrams of sodium, 77 grams of carbohydrates, 77 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein..

QUICK REVIEW: Monster Pacific Punch Energy Juice

Monster Pacific Punch Energy Juice

What is the Monster Pacific Punch Energy Juice?

It’s a tropical fruit punch-flavored Monster Energy Juice that comes in a can that looks like the textbook margins of that person in the back of the class who’s great at drawing, but not good at paying attention in class.

It has more fruit than a Carmen Miranda hat (Google her). There’s orange juice concentrate, apple juice concentrate, raspberry juice concentrate, guava puree, cherry juice concentrate, pineapple juice concentrate, and passionfruit juice concentrate.

How is it?

I wondered how similar this would taste to Monster’s Pipeline Punch – one of my favorite Monster Energy flavors – because they both are tropical fruit punch. After drinking both, Pacific Punch leans more towards what most taste buds would associate with fruit punch. Think of it as carbonated Hawaiian Punch that’ll punch your heart with 160 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine per can.

Monster Pacific Punch Energy Juice 2

Pipeline Punch tastes more “tropical” to me than Pacific Punch, but I enjoy both equally. I don’t know if this is a permanent addition to the Monster Juice lineup, but I hope it is because it’s really tasty.

Is there anything else I need to know?

It smells like a red popsicle.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Energy drink companies are getting really good at making their energy drinks not taste like energy drinks. And Pacific Punch is no exception. It was super easy to drink.

Conclusion:

Another great job by Monster Energy. If you want a fruit punch with a caffeinated kick, Monster Pacific Punch is what you should be drinking.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 16 oz. can
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (16 oz.) 220 calories, 0 grams of fat, 80 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 52 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Mtn Dew Ice Cherry

Mtn Dew Ice Cherry

What is Mtn Dew Ice Cherry?

The latest concoction from Mountain Dew’s burgeoning “Ice” line, Ice Cherry takes everything you love about cherry soda, mixes it with a little of that Mountain Dew magic and then turns up the ice, I suppose. Oh, and it’s clear too, which is a bit weird. Kinda makes you wonder what its larger gameplan is with all this Ice stuff, doesn’t it?

How is it?

Like a cherry Laffy Taffy that’s been your pocket for way too long or an illegal helping of pure ICEE white cherry syrup, Mtn Dew Ice Cherry tastes like a bottle full of melted fake cherries. But that’s not a bad thing, just something you have to take in small doses due to its incredible sweetness.

Mtn Dew Ice Cherry 2

With its strong cherry flavor and light carbonation, it might remind some of cherry-flavored Alka-Seltzer. Those people, like me, who’ve been known to drop about five or six tablets in their glass at a time, will love this.

Is there anything else I need to know?

I thought the sugar would be through the roof, but 41 grams doesn’t seem all that bad, does it? This Ice variant contains high fructose corn syrup, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose and no real sugar per se, but all that fake sugar can’t be good for you, can it? Oh well. 41 grams collectively doesn’t seem all that bad.

Conclusion:

Mtn Dew Ice Cherry 3

While not as mind-numbingly delicious as Pitch Black but way better than that DEW.S.A. dreck, Mtn Dew Ice Cherry falls somewhere in-between, leaning a little more on the plus side of the bracket.

Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: 20 oz. bottle
Purchased at: Buy for Less Supermercado
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (20 oz.) 160 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 41 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 91 milligrams of caffeine.

QUICK REVIEW: Red Bull Summer Edition Coconut Berry Energy Drink

Red Bull The Summer Edition Coconut Berry Energy Drink

What is it?

Red Bull’s latest summer edition variety. It follows last year’s Grapefruit Twist. It combines artificial coconut and berry flavors into an energy drink that gives you wings.

How is it?

Red Bull The Summer Edition Coconut Berry Energy Drink 2

If you dislike artificial coconut because it smells and tastes as if you’re applying sunscreen with your tongue, then this is not for you. It’s a little surprising that coconut water wasn’t used. The coconut hit my nose and tongue hard enough that I was taken aback by it a little. But by the third sip, I got used to it.

The berry seems to be blue raspberry, and its color, which looks like what happens when you wring a Smurf, seems to supports that. The overall flavor leans more towards coconut with the berry’s tartness in the background.

Is there anything else I need to know?

When I look at the bright white can and taste the berries, for some reason, all I can think about are Fruit of the Loom tighty-whities. Of course, you may not experience that. But just by me mentioning it, increases the odds of you thinking that. You’re welcome. Do not spit this energy drink out whities, I mean, while thinking about folks dancing with Fruit of the Loom tighty-whities. That would be a waste because it’s a tasty beverage.

Conclusion:

To be honest, I was skeptical of Red Bull’s Summer Edition Coconut Berry because the combination is odd. When coconut is involved, it’s always paired with other “tropical” fruits. But it turned out to be a great flavor.

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 12 fl. oz.
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 160 calories, 0 grams of fat, 125 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 38 grams of sugar, less than 1 gram of protein, and 114 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Sparkling Ice Mystery Fruit Flavor Sparkling Water

Sparkling Ice Mystery Fruit Flavor

Flavor innovation is all the rage recently. From mystery Peeps and Oreo to the ever-popular public vote or creation like Lay’s and again Oreo.

Now enter Sparkling Ice’s new Mystery Fruit Flavor Sparkling Water. With so many of the recent mystery entries being food it’s nice to see a beverage brand decide to follow this trend.

This mystery sparkling water has a cloudy-white appearance as to not offer any hints to the correct flavor. A trick color would have been pretty fun, though, as it would play with your mind as you wonder about its true purpose.

Upon opening the bottle, you get an immediate whiff of just citrus. It definitely smells like it could be lemon-lime like (how lame would that be or absolutely genius depending on how you look at it) but it also does have a little something extra as if maybe another fruit is thrown in there. While executing the sniff test, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Before drinking I decided to examine the bottle for any clues to see if the mystery gods dropped any breadcrumbs for us. Look at the back, for example, the question mark graphic contains line art of different fruits.

Sparkling Ice Mystery Fruit Flavor 2

There’s a lemon or lime or orange, a strawberry, a blackberry or raspberry, some cherries and then one that looks to me like a tomato. Remember a tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable, so it totally counts! How clever!? However, I’m not holding my breath that’s the flavor.

The others are your most basic fruits. LAME. The ingredients list shows lemon juice and green tea extract but they are both trumped by natural flavors as an ingredient. So not much help there either.

Sparkling Ice Mystery Fruit Flavor 3

Taking my first sip I’m completely underwhelmed. It tastes like, umm, fruit? Again there are the citrusy undertones but it’s hard to pinpoint what else it actually is. I was initially thinking something kiwi but Sparkling Ice already has a kiwi strawberry flavor so it can’t be a recycled one.

Then it hit me.

What’s exotic and different but also kinda kiwi-like? A dragonfruit! As I kept drinking that’s all I thought of, and once I started thinking about it, that’s all I could taste. So that’s my guess.

Overall, it’s a nice tasting zero sugar sparkling water, but I was expecting something more captivating. Just be warned it definitely tastes diet-y as in you can make out the artificial sweeteners from a mile away, but nothing worse than a diet cola.

When the flavor is revealed, I hope it is something more trendy or out there like avocado toast. Just please don’t be lemon-lime coupled with generic fruit, unless it’s an official Sprite or Mist Twist partnership because we all know brand mashups are pretty hot right now. It would be neat and almost make up for the boring flavor.

Almost.

(Nutrition Facts – 8 fl. oz. – 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: 17 fl. oz. bottle
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Liquid mystery item for once. No color trickery. Pretty good citrus fruity beverage.
Cons: Packaging and ingredients offer no help. Tomatoes and avocados are in fact fruits. TBD for when the flavor is revealed and it’s a huge let down.