REVIEW: Coca-Cola Energy Zero Sugar

Coca Cola Energy Zero Sugar

Like many dumb kids from the 80s, one of my favorite sodas – much to my parents’ chagrin – was the now-legendary Jolt Cola. Appearing infrequently and in different incarnations over the past few years — as chewing gum even, if I remember correctly – they’ve never been able to recapture that shaky soda feeling that was very much part of the whole experience.

Now, probably about twenty years too late, Coca-Cola is dropping its official entry into the energy drink movement with, of course, Coca-Cola Energy. Loaded with around 114 milligrams of caffeine — that’s comparable with a 12 oz. can of Red Bull, natch — the flavors not only come in original and cherry but in sugar and sugar-free options as well. Something for everyone!

Still, with all the caffeine I ingested over the past few hours, you bet your sweet ass I went with the sugar-free selections.

Coca Cola Energy Zero Sugar Closeup

Typically I’m more of a Diet Coke drinker than a Coke Zero fanboy, so it’s always a bit jolting — no pun intended — to have the close-to-original flavor of Coke coating my tongue once again with Coca-Cola Energy Zero Sugar. With none of the guarana aftertaste that sullies most energy drinks, the mixture of caffeine and b-vitamins is mostly undetectable.

But, sadly, they maybe were a little too undetectable. I was not feeling that rush of energy, that second-wind that sweeps through my person whenever I down a Sugar-Free Red Bull, for example. It was a bit disappointing. I almost feel like I could have had about two Diet Cokes with the same basic effect.

Coca Cola Energy Zero Sugar Cherry Closeup

I figured that with no change in my typical alertness, it was the perfect time to try the Zero Sugar Cherry, which has more of a bite than Cherry Coke Zero or Diet Cherry Coke. While this variation is definitely tastier than the regular Coca-Cola Energy Zero Sugar, a little still goes a long way and I had to quickly swig the last half down.

The energy drink has a cinnamon-like flair that reminds me of the recent holidays and Christmases of long ago, like a liquidly Dickens ghost. Sadly, this spectre is still not the kinetic wave I was promised. Instead, it’s an artificially-flavored energy letdown.

Maybe, like an addict who needs harsher, more dangerous drugs to get off, I’ve spent so much of my life downing these lightning bolts of fraudulent energy that these Coca-Cola products don’t work for me.

Regardless, I’m glad Coke slapped its name on these products and threw them on the shelves. But, you know, when it comes to name-brand sodas dipping their toes in this business, you still can’t go wrong with those Mountain Dew Game Fuel drinks.

Purchased Price: $1.79 each
Size: 12 fl. oz. cans
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10 (both)
Nutrition Facts: (12 fl. oz.) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 40 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Red Bull Summer Edition Beach Breeze

Red Bull Summer Edition Beach Breeze

What is Red Bull Summer Edition Beach Breeze?

It’s a Red Bull. Thanks for reading the review, enjoy your summer folks!

How is it?

Ok, I’ll elaborate more, but Beach Breeze is unmistakably Red Bull.

It tastes like a sour Red Bull with an added coconut finish. The sour aspect is probably supposed to ape a fruit flavor, so I’d guess they were going for unripe pineapple?

Red Bull Summer Edition Beach Breeze Glass

If you’ve ever wondered what Red Bull’s attempt at a Pina Colada might taste like, this may be as close as you’ll get – a sour Red Bull with a fragrant artificial coconut aftertaste.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Red Bull Summer Edition Beach Breeze Ingredients List

I could be wrong about the pineapple. There’s no fruit listed in the chemical – pardon me, ingredient list. Perhaps I just tasted the “glycerol ester of wood rosin.” Mmm! It’s not officially summer until I’ve had some “glycerol ester of wood rosin.”

Red Bull Summer Edition Beach Breeze Alka Seltzer

And with that sarcastically said, we don’t need fake dyes in our energy drinks, but Beach Breeze’s color is super disappointing. This is a nitpick, but I poured this into one of my “fancy” beer glasses, expecting a cool light blue color and got what looked like the aftermath of a dissolved Alka-Seltzer tablet.

Conclusion:

I love Pina Colada, and coconut especially. The last thing I drank from the aforementioned beer glass was a delicious coconut stout. The coconut here is cheap and artificial. The pineapple is essentially an educated guess, and it’s a little too sour to really stick out amongst the handful of Red Bull flavors you’ll find next to this in the fridge. For example, I tried the Sugar Free Pear flavor a few days later, and it was much better.

In fairness, Beach Breeze gave me a little pep in my step. I didn’t sprout wings, and it didn’t “vitalize my body and mind,” but it was still kinda refreshing despite the “meh” flavor.

Purchased Price: $2.59
Size: 12 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Shop Rite
Rating: 4 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, 140% niacin, 120% vitamin B12, 365% vitamin B6, 70% pantothenic acid, and 114 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Rockstar Pure Zero TMGS Twist

Rockstar Pure Zero TMGS Twist

What is Rockstar Pure Zero TMGS Twist?

Rockstar Pure Zero TMGS Twist is the latest Pure Zero variety from Rockstar Energy. It is the sequel to the delicious Pure Zero TMGS, whose flavor features four fruits — tangerine, mango, guava, and strawberry. This energy drink has all of that, but also a twist, which I will not spoil yet.

It’s lime.

How is it?

With the first sip, it has that wonderful tropical flavor that TMGS has. But then the lime quickly kicks in. No disrespect to the green citrus fruit because it makes tortilla chips and my McDonald’s Southwest Salad tasty, but it gets in the way of the fruits I really want to taste. The lime is not a backup singer in this energy drink. It’s also not part of a choir. It’s the Beyoncé of the beverage. It stands out and you can’t avoid it.

With that said, it’s a pleasant, refreshing, and heart rate-rising beverage, thanks to the 240 milligrams of sweet caffeine, but if you were to give me the option between original TMGS and TMGS Twist, I’d pick the former. But between TMGS Twist and other flavors in the Pure Zero line, I’d probably choose the one with Beyoncé most of the time.

If you’re not familiar with the Pure Zero line, they have no sugar and zero calories, but, like TMGS, this also doesn’t taste like a zero sugar, zero calorie energy drink. But if you drink it warm, then all the artificial sweeteners come into play.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Rockstar Pure Zero TMGS Twist Orange

While the original TMGS was pink in color, TMGS Twist is orange. I also wasted a few minutes of my life wondering what color pink and green (for lime) would make. It’s not orange. It turns out it’s gray. Yum.

As of publication, it’s an ampm (yup, that’s the correct spelling) exclusive, but I imagine it’ll end up in other stores later because it’s too good to keep it locked with one regional convenience store chain that seems to get exclusivity with Rockstar flavors regularly.

Conclusion:

Rockstar Pure Zero TMGS Twist is another great flavor from the energy drink company. While I do enjoy it, again, I like it ever so slightly less than the original TMGS.

Thanks to TIB reader Rene B for sending me a can.

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: 16-ounce can
Purchased at: ampm
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Red Bull Slush

Sonic Red Bull Slush Cup

What is the Sonic Red Bull Slush?

If you’ve ever chugged a Red Bull — America’s favorite energy drink, second only to Ol’ Glory, of course — and thought to yourself “Gee, I wonder what this would taste like moderately frozen,” here is your chance to live your frosty dreams, courtesy of the Sonic corporation.

How is it?

Sonic Red Bull Slush

I was thoroughly excited to try this recent breakthrough in energy technology, so I ordered a small original flavor from my local Sonic. At first sip, the common Red Bull flavor is wonderfully there, a sharp stab to the senses that does a great job of momentarily perking the user up.

Sadly, the comedown is almost immediate, with a distinct backwash and aftertaste of what I can only describe as frozen mouthful of used dishwater. How the taste can do a 180 degrees like that is far beyond my pay grade, but any excitement of two great products coming together is quickly done away, leaving me with a three-dollar cup that’s too pricey to dump out.

Is there anything else you need to know?

If the Sonic Red Bull Slush is still something you desperately need to down, try to do it between two to four p.m. to take advantage of the chain’s Happy Hour. I, unfortunately, was thirty minutes early and paid full price. Additionally, it’s also available in a cherry limeade slush as well.

Conclusion:

Sonic Red Bull Slush Strawless

I would send this one back to the labs, Sonic. The nonplussed aftertaste is just far too much to deal with, leaving me with a sour stomach that swirled with burning acids that couldn’t be cooled down no matter how much icy slush was involved. Guess its back to the regular small can of Sugar-Free Red Bull for me.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: Small
Rating: 2 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 180 calories, 0 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of sodium, 48 grams of carbohydrates, 48 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Reign Total Body Fuel by Monster Energy

In the world of performance energy drinks, there’s one leader — Bang. In the world of energy drinks, there is one leader — I don’t know who that is and I’m too lazy to look it up. If only there were drinks I could consume to give me some energy to do so.

It could be Red Bull. It could be Monster. Maybe Rockstar. Maybe Cocaine Energy Drink? But Monster is one of the heavy hitters in the energy drink universe.

So what are “performance energy drinks”? From what I can gather, they’re made for athletes to give them big boosts of energy that allow them to do things at a higher level. In order to do that, they have 300 milligrams of caffeine per can and contain supplements like coenzyme Q10 and branched-chain-amino acids.

While Bang is in the lead, Monster hopes to gain market share with its new Reign Total Body Fuel line. Yes, it’s not Monster Total Body Fuel, because who wants to use a well-recognized trademark over a name that sounds like a mobile game with lots of in-app purchases.

So Monster could have dipped its toes in the category, but it decided to make a splash by offering SIX flavors of Reign — Carnival Candy, Melon Mania, Lemon HDZ, Peach Fizz, Sour Apple, and Razzle Berry. They all have 300 milligrams of caffeine, 0 grams of sugar, 0 calories, no artificial colors (yes, they’re all clear), and no artificial flavors.

Carnival Candy

Reign Total Body Fuel Carnival Candy

When I took the first sip, I got a lot of cotton candy flavor, but that went away with the sips right after. Those had more of a general sweetness. There’s a little cotton candy in the aftertaste, but I want it whenever I’m drinking it because when it’s there, it’s quite lovely.

Now if you let your taste buds reset and not sip on it for a while, the cotton candy flavor will return briefly for that one sip and then go back to not tasting like the carnival treat. I have to say this was the one variety I was most looking forward to and it ended up being a little disappointing.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

Sour Apple

Reign Total Body Fuel Sour Apple

This flavor has the same issue that Carnival Candy has. The first sip tastes like sour apple, but subsequent sips lose most of the apple flavoring, leaving a sweet and tart taste. But, again, let your taste buds rest a little, and the full fruity and sourness comes back for one sip. The sour apple flavor is good, but I wish it’s around for every sip.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

Melon Mania

Reign Total Body Fuel Melon Mania

I was hoping this would be flavored like either a cantaloupe or honeydew melon because the world needs more of those, but the can’s color scheme makes it obvious it’s going to be watermelon. If you’re expecting it to taste similar to a Jolly Rancher hard candy, it’s not like that says my taste buds who are currently enjoying a watermelon Jolly Rancher because we just so happen to have some in our house. It’s better tasting than that. It’s like an enhanced version of watermelon flavoring.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

Lemon HDZ

Reign Total Body Fuel Lemon HDZ

Because I’m uncool, I wasn’t sure what HDZ was, but I asked our Twitter followers, and they came up with the obvious answer — Heads. (Full disclosure: I thought it was Hards.) I thought this one would be like a lemonade, but it’s not quite that because there isn’t a noticeable sourness to it. I want to say lemon meringue because there’s something else to the flavor that I can’t quite put my finger on. Despite not knowing what it exactly tastes like, I enjoyed it.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

Peach Fizz

Reign Total Body Fuel Peach Fizz

If you enjoy peach-flavored gummies, then you’ll like this. It’s not overly flowery tasting like some peach products are. Its flavor reminded me of the Red Bull Peach Edition I had recently. Peach Fizz is my favorite of the bunch, but not by a lot over Melon Mania.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

Razzle Berry

Reign Total Body Fuel Razzle Berry

This one tastes similar to other blue raspberry-flavored beverages I’ve had in that it’s fruity and slightly sour. It also reminds me of Carnival Candy, so some of the same natural flavors might’ve been used. Fortunately, unlike Carnival Candy, Razzle Berry’s flavor doesn’t fade with the second sip. As someone who enjoys Louie-Bloo Raspberry Otter Pops, it’s not surprising I liked the taste of this.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

Even with the issues I experienced with some of the flavors, I have to say these were surprisingly good for drinks with zero sugar and calories. As someone who has consumed a lot of beverages sweetened with sucralose and ace-K, I could tell they have no sugar, but the flavors do great at hiding that fact.

Some of you might be wondering how these help with performance. I did not test that because the most laborious physical activity I do is an exercise called finger push-downs, which is otherwise known as typing.

Purchased Price: $2.99 each
Size: 16 fl. oz. cans
Purchased at: Target

REVIEW: Rockstar Pure Zero TMGS (Tangerine Mango Guava Strawberry)

Rockstar Pure Zero TMGS

What is Rockstar Pure Zero TMGS?

It’s the latest Pure Zero variety from Rockstar Energy. Pure Zero energy drinks have no sugar and zero calories. TMGS’ flavor is made up of four fruits — tangerine, mango, guava, and strawberry. A can has 240 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine.

How is it?

While the tangerine and mango get front billing on the can, the guava and strawberry flavors are more upfront with every sip. The mango is difficult to taste, but the citrusy tangerine is noticeable in the background. The amalgamation of fruitiness equals an energy drink that’s one of the best tasting out there. It’s a strong tropical flavor that’s as good as the tropical Monster Energy varieties Pipeline Punch and Pacific Punch.

But here’s the thing about Rockstar Pure Zero TMGS that sets it apart from those Monster flavors, as I mentioned before, it’s a zero sugar, zero calorie energy drink, but it doesn’t taste like it’s a zero sugar, zero calorie energy drink. Those Monster varieties have around 50 grams of sugar each.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Rockstar Pure Zero TMGS Pink

With unicorn products being popular right now, I’m surprised this pink colored energy drink that comes in a rainbow-colored can wasn’t called Rockstar Pure Zero Unicorn or something like that. There could’ve been a unicorn horn on the tab instead of a Rockstar logo, and the outside of the can could’ve had the texture of a unicorn’s mane.

I wrote this review in less than 15 minutes because the 240 milligrams of caffeine kept me wired and focused.

Conclusion:

Rockstar Pure Zero TMG is a great tasting energy drink. I haven’t made a top 10 list of my favorite energy drink flavors, but if I did, this would definitely be on it. It might even be in the top five.

Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 16 fl. oz. can
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 fl. oz.) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 180 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 1 gram of erythritol, and 0 grams of protein.