REVIEW: Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Energy Drink

Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Energy Drink Can

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it ain’t summer until Red Bull says it’s summer.

Well, folks, I’m thrilled to tell you that Red Bull says it’s summer.

Play that theme music!

(NOTE: That theme music is “Rebel Rebel” by David Bowie, but instead of “Rebel,” it’s “Red Bull,” and it’s just that line, over and over, for four minutes. I won’t lie, it gets old pretty quickly.)

I’ll tell you what doesn’t get old pretty quickly, the flavor of this year’s Red Bull Summer Edition – Strawberry Apricot.

This has gotta be one of the more exciting energy drink flavor profiles I’ve seen in a while, and that’s because apricot is a criminally underutilized fruit.

I wracked my brain and couldn’t think of a single drink featuring apricot. I guess Red Bull has gotten so far down the fruit list that it decided to finally dip its toe in uncharted waters, although I do think they wussed out a bit by cutting apricot with the way more familiar strawberry.

Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Energy Drink Top

Upon cracking the can, the scent of sour strawberry candy smacked me in the face. That was kinda what I feared would happen. I had very little faith that the apricot would rise above or even run parallel to the strawberry.

Well, unfortunately (but not really…), I was right, and the strawberry flavor popped right out of the gate. That’s not to say I didn’t get a hint of apricot.

The fruit has a distinctive aftertaste to it. When they’re ripe, they start sweet and finish with a little sour kick. That was pretty much what happened with this drink.

I think apricot pushed through in another way because I don’t know how to describe this flavor as anything other than “soft.” Perhaps I’m being influenced by the texture of the fruit itself, but this was one of the more delicate Red Bull varieties I can ever remember drinking, and I think I’m gonna give credit to the apricot there. It wasn’t harsh at all, and that supporting flavor did its best to mute the more dominant strawberry in a way I found super light and refreshing.

Actually, I’ll tell you what this ultimately reminded me of – Strawberry Fruit Roll-ups.

After a little while, that’s all I could think of, but it wasn’t just Strawberry Fruit Roll-up, it was also apricot fruit leather. I guess that makes sense because when I think of the more “upscale” fruit leathers, three flavors come to mind – strawberry, raspberry, and apricot. I always enjoyed those as a kid, and I rode a little nostalgia wave with each additional sip.

Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Energy Drink Glass

As for the “energy” aspect, this could’ve just hit me on the right day at the right time because man, it gave me a serious energy boost. That rarely happens anymore, so I considered it a huge bonus. I feel like the electric orange can also had a hand in hyping me up.

Overall, I think most loyal Red Bull drinkers will dig this year’s summer edition, even you weirdos who call apricots, “Ape-ricots.” There’s a lot to like here.

Ok, the review’s over. You can go ahead and kill the theme music now.

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 12 fl oz can
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 160 calories, 0 grams of fat, 125 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of total carbohydrates, 38 grams of total sugars, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush

Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush Cup

With the recent temperature increases in Florida, my slush cravings have hit hard. As if magic (or just a targeted ad), Sonic Drive-In’s new Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush was popping up on my feed. I’m already a huge Red Bull fan, so a chance to try the limited edition summer flavor in slush form seemed like an easy choice.

While Red Bull has been periodically releasing Summer Editions since 2014, it wasn’t until 2020 that Sonic started offering the limited edition flavors as part of its slush lineup.

As with most fast food companies, Sonic is very much pushing the use of its mobile ordering app. I bring this up only to note that if you order a drink through the app, they are all half price all day. I ordered a medium of the summer slush and raced it home. I had worried the 20-minute drive would cause it to lose some oomph. Luckily, the styrofoam cup kept it at the perfect temperature.

Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush Hello Kitty

Before transferring it into my Tervis tumbler, I took a few sips of the light pink slush. Red Bull tends to have a very sweet start and a slightly tangy finish in the flavors I’ve tried. This one was sweet all the way through. In fact, had you not told me it was part of the Red Bull brand, I would have thought it was just any other sweet-flavored slush. The strawberry and apricot (which comes across as more peach flavored) are subtle but present and blending the energy drink with the slush ice made for a pleasant sipping experience.

I reached out to Sonic about the caffeine content (I couldn’t find it anywhere on its website). I was shocked when I was told a medium has only 40 milligrams. For reference, the 8.4-ounce can has 80. It would appear it uses half a can which explains why the flavor might be more subtle than if you drank it straight. Honestly, learning that it wasn’t even an entire can in the medium (20 oz) lowered my opinion of the item. If I’m getting a Red Bull drink, I’m looking for the caffeine that comes with a Red Bull.

Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush Top

While a fine treat, the Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush doesn’t deliver on what I feel a Red Bull slush should. The flavor in this form doesn’t stand out as uniquely as a Red Bull, and the lack of caffeine (in relation to what is expected from Red Bull) doesn’t have me racing back to get it again. If you’re curious, make sure to use the app to order so you get half off because I wouldn’t recommend it at the regular $3.99 price.

Purchased Price: $1.99 (half off via the Sonic app)
Size: Medium (20 oz)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Medium) 250 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 65 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew Coffee

Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew Cans

What is Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew Coffee?

It’s Monster Energy’s attempt to enter the slowly growing canned nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee market. Since 2020, Starbucks has been selling canned versions of its Nitro Cold Brew. Also, a handful of smaller coffee brands have theirs. But behind Starbucks, Monster Energy is probably the next biggest name to have one.

If you’re unfamiliar with the coffee drink, adding the element with an atomic weight of 14.0067 (I still remember it off the top of my head…after Googling it 10 seconds ago) into coffee gives it a smoother texture and head of foam when poured. Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew is available in two varieties — Sweet Black and Latte.

How are they?

Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew Latte

I like my coffee how I like my babies, full of milk. So I started with the Latte version. Pouring it created a thick foamy head, but perhaps too thick because of how I poured it. So I had to wait a while for it to shrink before drinking it. With the foam, its flavor reminds me of a regular Java Monster, but slightly watered down and less creamy, which I guess could be considered a smooth texture? Once the foam disappears into the liquid, the headless drink has more flavor, but it’s still less creamy than Monster’s regular coffee energy drinks. It’s okay, but I wouldn’t repurchase it.

Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew Sweet Black

Pouring the Sweet Black version resulted in a less pronounced foam head. It also has a less noticeable flavor. Even though there’s no sugar, it’s slightly sweet, and it isn’t very bitter, which is expected for cold brew. But much like the Latte one, it tastes watered down when drinking it with the foam. I thought, much like the Latte one, the flavor would perk up when the foam melts into the drink, but that wasn’t the case. While I enjoy Starbucks’ Black Nitro Cold Brew, I’m not a fan of this.

Anything else you need to know?

A can has 200 milligrams of caffeine thanks to the coffee and, of course, Monster’s proprietary energy blend. It’s the same amount you’ll find in most regular Java Monster flavors.

Also, the coffee is, I guess, pre-mixed with nitrogen. Unlike the Starbucks canned Nitro Cold Brew and Nitro Pepsi, there isn’t a nitrogen infuser at the can’s bottom that activates when opened. So, I’m sorry, ASMRers. There isn’t a satisfying hiss.


As someone who loves Java Monster and Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew, I thought there would be a good chance I’d enjoy Monster’s Nitro Cold Brew, but both varieties are underwhelming.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 13.5 fl oz cans
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Latte), 5 out of 10 (Sweet Black)
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) Sweet Black – 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 330 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein. Latte – 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 490 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of sugar (0 grams of added sugar), and 7 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks BAYA Energy

BAYA Energy Cans

I wondered why Starbucks named its new line of energy drinks, BAYA, so I went looking for possible meanings. Merriam-Webster says it’s an East Indian weaverbird that eats seeds and insects and can be destructive to grain crops. Urban Dictionary says Baya is the most amazing person you’ve ever met. Google Translate says “baya” is Spanish for berry, and that definition probably makes the most sense since these beverages get their caffeine from the berry-like coffee fruit.

Wow! Look at me being all Dora the Explorer or Sesame Street-like by teaching a Spanish word.

While BAYA is its official name, I want to call these Starbucks Refreshers 2.0. There are similarities and differences between these and the, I think, discontinued canned Refreshers line. Both are fruity drinks in slim cans that get their caffeine from coffee but without the flavor of coffee. However, while the Refreshers had around 50 milligrams of caffeine per can, BAYA Energy offers 160 milligrams and is more carbonated. On the flip side, these have just 10%-12% fruit juice, while Refreshers had 25%.

BAYA Energy is available in three flavors — Mango Guava, Raspberry Lime, and Pineapple Passionfruit.

BAYA Energy Mango Guava

Let’s start with Mango Guava. Looking at the fruit combination, I thought this would be my favorite. However, it ended up being the one I liked least, mainly because of its initial strong, slightly off-putting taste that can be best described as an overly ripe fruitiness. But when that subsides, there’s a pleasant mango flavor. However, it’s the same vicious cycle with every sip — an off-putting taste followed by nice mango-ness. Look, it’s not horrible enough to make me spit it out, but it’s not how I’d like a beverage to start. Maybe that unknown fruitiness is the guava. But if it is, it’s not pleasing and not recognizable as that.

BAYA Energy Raspberry Lime

The berry in Raspberry Lime is immediately noticeable when I take a sip, but my taste buds can’t detect the citrus. It’s described as “a spritz of lime” on the can, but I can’t taste it, and if you told me this was only raspberry flavored, I wouldn’t question it. But I don’t mind the lack of lime because the pleasant and slightly tart raspberry is enough to make this a solid variety.

BAYA Energy Pineapple Passionfruit

Pineapple Passionfruit is my favorite of the bunch. But, full disclosure, I’ve been quite positive about recent pineapple-flavored beverages. Its sweet pineapple aroma is as potent as its sweet pineapple flavor, making it a pleasure to drink. The can says it has “a hint of passionfruit,” and while I don’t notice it with the pineapple, it shows up somewhat in the aftertaste. But, like the Raspberry Lime, the secondary flavor is so mild that I wonder why Starbucks even bothered adding it.

Now, with all that said. There’s something about all three varieties that bothers me, and it’s something that, I think, I was concerned about with the canned Starbucks Refreshers. There’s a noticeable flavor flatness. The fruitiness doesn’t pop like the energy drinks from Monster or Rockstar. Granted, those probably use artificial flavors.

Starbucks BAYA Energy’s 160 milligrams of caffeine did give me a nice jolt of energy, and two-thirds of the varieties are tasty, but that’s not enough to compel me to purchase it over my usual Monster, which is more flavorful and in a larger can. But that’s if I’m at the store and had to pick between the two. If I’m at a Starbucks and want a non-coffee pick-me-up, I’d pick this up. Well, not the Mango Guava one.

Purchased Price: $31.79 (12-pack)
Size: 12 fl oz can/12-pack
Purchased at: Amazon
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Mango Guava), 6 out of 10 (Raspberry Lime), 7 out of 10 (Pineapple Passionfruit)
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) Mango Guava – 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 23 grams of sugar (17 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein. Raspberry Lime – 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of sugar (16 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein. Pineapple Passionfruit – 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of sugar (17 grams of added sugar), 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.