REVIEW: Starbucks Bottled Paradise Drink and Pink Drink

Starbucks’ popular Pink Drink and Paradise Drink are the latest beverages to be bottled and sold on shelves. As a fan of both, I was excited to give them a try to find out how they stack up to those made by a barista.

Both ready-to-drink beverages have less than 5 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce bottle, which is a fraction of the 35-45 milligrams in the Tall-sized (12 ounces) versions offered at Starbucks locations. Not sure why, but it’s worth a note.

Paradise Drink is the latest addition to the Refreshers menu (June 2022). I wasn’t shocked to see it get the bottled treatment this quickly because when it hit locations last year, it was selling like crazy as it captured a “summer in a cup” flavor thanks to its use of pineapple and passion fruit. I generally enjoyed the drink when I got it in the cafes but found the pineapple overpowering. I know the freeze dried fruit chunks contributed to that, but even trying the drink without them, I sometimes found the pineapple to be a little too much. Thankfully, the bottled version offers a much more balanced experience.

Getting a taste of the passion fruit made for a more complex flavor as opposed to the cafe version that made my tongue feel like it was being slapped by a pineapple. It’s not overly sweet and has a nice tartness. The coconut milk cuts down on the drink’s acidity and makes for a smoother sipping experience. It’s enjoyable straight from a chilled bottle and certainly is “summer in a bottle.”

It was only a matter of time before Starbucks would release a ready-to-drink version of its famous Pink Drink. Hundreds of TikTok videos swear by their copycat recipes, but none have ever really scratched the itch. Thankfully, this bottled Pink Drink is a dead ringer for the cafe version. The taste of the sweet strawberry is very present, with the coconut milk bringing a slight nutty creaminess. I know there is supposed to be acai, but it is overshadowed by the intense strawberry flavors, just like the cafe version. Unlike the Paradise Drink, I found this much more concentrated with its taste and quite a bit sweeter.

It was fine straight from the bottle but shined when poured over ice, and doing so allowed for the more concentrated flavors to mellow. Much like the Paradise Drink, the lack of freeze dried fruit didn’t take away from the experience or taste. It will be worth keeping some on hand to bridge the gap between Starbucks visits. I enjoyed it, and I think it will be fairly popular.

Purchased Price: $3.18 each
Purchased at: Walmart Neighborhood Market
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Paradise Drink), 9 out of 10 (Pink Drink)
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) Paradise Drink – 150 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 29 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein. Pink Drink – 150 calories, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 30 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Snapple Elements (2022)

Snapple Elements  2022 Bottles

What are Snapple Elements?

First launched in 1999 and discontinued in the mid-2000s, the Snapple Elements line associated inventive fruit flavors with natural phenomena. Snapple has re-launched the line starting with three flavors: Fire (dragon fruit), Rain (agave cactus), and Air (prickly pear and peach white tea).

Now with updated formulas, Snapple Elements contain no artificial sweeteners and 45% less sugar than other Snapple varieties.

How are they?

If you loved Snapple Elements enough to buy one of the original curvy glass bottles on eBay or sign an online petition begging for their return, this review is for you. Although my memories of the line are not clear enough to compare the old and new formulas, I’m here to report my experience, unclouded by a nostalgic haze. If only your Tamagotchi were alive to see this!

Snapple Elements  2022 Fire

The ruby red Fire variety achieves its dragon fruit flavor through a mixture of pear and grape juice concentrates and natural flavors. While dragon fruit is a mild flavor that is difficult to get right, Fire gets it pretty close. It tastes like sweet pear enriched with subtle floral notes.

Snapple Elements  2022 Rain

Rain’s agave cactus flavor was most intriguing. I associate cactus flavor with prickly pear flavor, sometimes with a hint of sourness, and the drink delivers shades of this expectation. It tastes like watered-down white grape juice (which does not appear in the ingredients list) mixed with mild pear and agave (which do). A subtle ribbon of tartness runs through the drink, and the agave’s flavor smoothes it out. The flavor is pleasantly light, refreshing, and subtle in a way that reminds me of drinking coconut water or aloe water. Rain was definitely the most unique drinking experience of the three flavors, and approaching it with an open mind and nebulous expectations made it easy to enjoy.

Snapple Elements  2022 Air

Finally, Air promises prickly pear and peach white tea flavors. Ironically, it is the only variety of the three not to contain pear juice or even much pear flavor. Its ingredients (white tea, acerola fruit extract, and natural flavors) contribute to a mellow peachy flavor paired with the crispness of white tea.

Although each contains a decent amount of added sugar, all varieties taste light, refreshing, and highly palatable. I would choose any one of them over Snapple’s current juice offerings, which (despite my affinity for Kiwi Strawberry) I find too sweet to finish in one sitting.

Anything else you need to know?

I struggled to locate all three varieties in my area, so stock up if you find your favorite. Also, although Snapple has swapped its iconic glass bottles for plastic, the Snapple facts printed beneath the caps live on. Did you know that humans can encourage precipitation with cloud seeding? Diploma, please!


Snapple Elements  2022 Glasses

All three Snapple Elements flavors provide light, refreshing flavor experiences which are exciting contributions to the brand’s current line-up. Nostalgia aside, I hope the Elements line expands.

Purchased Price: $1.39 (Target) and $7.99 (Amazon)
Size: 15.9 fl oz bottles
Purchased at: Target (Fire and Rain) and Amazon (Air)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Fire), 8 out of 10 (Rain), 7 out of 10 (Air)
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) Fire – 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of sugar (including 20 grams added sugars) , and 0 grams of protein. Rain – 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of sugar (including 19 grams added sugars), and 0 grams of protein. Air – 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of sugar (including 25 grams added sugars), and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Rockstar Unplugged Energy Drink

Rockstar Unplugged Cans

Rockstar Unplugged?

Folks, the only Rockstar Unplugged I care about is Kurt Cobain circa 1993.

Oh, Me. That was Dumb. All Apologies.

And let’s just throw one more track from Nirvana’s classic MTV Unplugged setlist right here – Come as You Are… to this review of Rockstar’s new hemp seed-infused energy drinks!

Heh? No? Alright, alright, I’ll just review the drinks now.

Rockstar Unplugged is a new line of beverages that combine hemp seed oil, B vitamins, spearmint, and lemon balm for a “fruit-forward energy boost that helps maintain an easy-going, free-flowing and soul-fueling attitude for any mood or occasion.” Whew.

That contradicts what I expect from an energy drink, but whatever Bruh, I dig the vibe.

I tracked down two of the three flavors – Blueberry and Passion Fruit. Rockstar also released a Raspberry Cucumber variety, but no one told any store within a 20-mile radius of me.

Rockstar Unplugged Passion Fruit 1

Passion Fruit is a fruit I’ve never eaten, but a flavor I enjoy from various other drinks and candy.

For something called “Unplugged,” the yellow color is ELECTRIC. Unfortunately, the carbonation was weak, so the drink itself never lived up to the color’s vibrancy. It didn’t have that POP I was hoping for.

Taste-wise, it was just generic “tropical fruit,” and a bit too sweet. The flavor reminded me of those little hard guava candies you get after sushi dinners, if you know what I mean.

Rockstar Unplugged Blueberry 2

Blueberry looked and smelled incredible. I thought I was about to drink some Great Blue-dini Kool-Aid, which made me ponder – is blueberry a unique energy drink flavor? Normally when I see a blue energy drink, I expect some uber-masculine name like “Razzmatazz Haymaker” or “Electric Bluedriver,” but here we just get little old blueberry, and it succeeds.

It wasn’t too sweet, leaning more towards a slightly underripe blueberry flavor, but in no way bitter or sour. Not sure why, but the carbonation was also stronger. It “popped,” with a sharp taste that finished with a mellow, satisfying sweetness.

With that said, they both left a light coating in my mouth that I guess I’ll chalk up to the “herbal blend” and hemp seed oil? It wasn’t gross by any means, but was mildly off-putting.

Rockstar Unplugged Both 2

In the end, they’re mid-tier energy drinks, but I’m glad Rockstar tried something new because I feel like they’re getting swallowed up by Red Bull, Monster, and Bang – which seems to have conquered about 75% of every convenience store I go to these days. (When did Bang explode on the scene?)

I drank both in the afternoon and never felt jittery at all. They kept me pretty alert for the rest of the day, so if that’s what adding hemp does to an energy drink, Rockstar Unplugged might be onto something big here. It was borderline Nirvana.

That’s what we call a “really bad callback.”

Overall, I like this concept, but I don’t think Red Bull is in any danger of losing my business. I’ll probably get the blueberry Unplugged a few times this summer, and I hope to find Raspberry Cucumber someday.

Purchased Price: $1.69 each
Size: 12 fl oz cans
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Blueberry), 5 out of 10 (Passion Fruit)
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugars, 0 grams of protein, 1.53 milligrams of Vitamin B, and 80 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Monster Aussie Lemonade Energy Juice

Monster Aussie Lemonade Energy Juice Can

What is Monster Energy Juice Aussie Lemonade?

I’ll let the Monster Energy website explain:

Inspired by the land down under with over 10,000 beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, and home to some of the most exotic citrus on earth comes Juice Monster Aussie Style Lemonade.

Monster’s twist on classic lemonade, we hit the ideal balance of tart and sweet with a burst of fresh citrus flavor. As always, it’s chockers with our world-famous Monster Energy Blend.


How is it?

It’s lemonade with a little something-something, and it’s heaps good and refreshing.

Monster Aussie Lemonade Energy Juice Yellow

Monster’s description of it is accurate. It does have the ideal balance of tart and sweet, making it easy to drink. It’s not sour enough to make my lips pucker, but it does make my lips want to take more sips of it. Much like other Monster Juice varieties, there is nothing in its taste to indicate there are 160 milligrams of caffeine and only 2% fruit juice floating in the can.

That “something-something” I mentioned earlier tastes like lime to me. It’s almost as if someone mixed lemonade with some lemon-lime soda. While lemon juice is an ingredient, lime juice isn’t. So I might be bloody wrong.

Anything else you need to know?

I have no idea what Aussie-style lemonade is because most of the top Google search results for it ended up being about this energy drink. And that makes me wonder if it’s a thing that Monster Energy made up. I did learn that if you order lemonade in Australia, you’ll get a lemon-lime soda, like Sprite. I also found a recipe for Aussie-style lemonade that involves sugar, water, lemon juice, and finely shredded lemon rinds. But that was the ONLY recipe I found.

Can any of our Australian readers clue us into what the fat-tailed dunnart is Aussie-style lemonade? Do we have Australian readers?

Also, the Great Barrier Reef can design is bonza.


While Monster Aussie Lemonade Energy Juice is a ripper, I don’t think it’s as great as Monster Pacific Punch or Pipeline Punch. But it’s a tasty, easy-drinking lemonade with a nice 160-milligram caffeine kick.

Purchased Price: More than anyone should pay on eBay
Size: 16 fl oz can
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 190 calories, 0 grams of fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 46 grams of sugar (46 grams of added sugar), 0 grams of protein, and 160 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Monster Energy Ultra Peachy Keen

Monster Energy Ultra Peachy Keen Cans

What is Monster Energy Ultra Peachy Keen?

It’s a peach-flavored addition to Monster Energy’s sugar-free Ultra line, which mainly has one-word product names like Gold, Watermelon, Fiesta, Rosa, Paradise, Violet, Red, Blue, and Black.

How is it?

Well, I’m happy to say that Peachy Keen is peachy-keen, jelly bean!

With the previously mentioned Ultra Gold, I felt the pineapple flavor wasn’t strong enough. But that’s not the case with this flavor that has a peachy punch that makes my oral portal perceive it’s packed with peach gummy rings.

I feel as if I’ve used that reference before with another peach-flavored energy drink, but I can’t help it because that’s EXACTLY what this tastes like, except in a liquid form that doesn’t stick to your teeth like gummy rings do.

Monster Energy Ultra Peachy Keen Closeup

I’m enamored with this energy drink so much that I’m a bit sad that I could only find it in 12-ounce slim cans. But I’ve seen images of it in the standard 16-ounce can. If you haven’t had a slim can Monster energy drink, this one has 110 milligrams of caffeine.

Also, although this is a sugar-free energy drink, I can imagine some might find this flavor to be a bit too sweet. I don’t, but others might.

Anything else you need to know?

Monster Energy Ultra Peachy Keen Design

The can’s design has a 60s motif with hippies, peace signs, flowers, smiley faces, and a love wagon. And the copy on the can’s side references the summer of love. Now, I wasn’t born in the 60s, but peachy-keen seems like it’s pre-hippie. Can some groovy person set me straight about that?

The first reference of the term “peachy-keen” happened in the 1950s. But the hippie movement in the US didn’t start until the mid-1960s. I know slang can survive decades because I use “rad” all the time, but was that the case with “peachy-keen”?

Also, I’m surprised this wasn’t called Peace Peach. Although, now that I think about it, I imagine that might cause the opposite of peace with Peace Tea’s peach flavor.


Peachy Keen is a far out tasting addition to Monster’s Ultra line. It’s definitely one of my top three favorite Monster Ultra flavors. If you’re a fan of peach gummy rings and caffeine, this will satisfy your taste buds and bloodstream.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 12 oz cans (available in a multi-pack)
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 230 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 110 milligrams of caffeine.