REVIEW: Mystery Flavor Gatorade

To be honest, I was really hoping Mystery Flavor Gatorade ended up being the company’s attempt at creating an actual Haterade. But it’s not because I imagine Haterade would be green in color and taste extremely sour and bitter, and that is not what this is.

Like many mystery flavor beverages, the liquid is a cloudy white with no chance for clues as to what it could be. But it’s also a color that many standard Gatorade varieties come in.

It has a strawberry scent, and its flavor leans towards strawberry with a slight sour kick. A part of me thinks it’s strawberry lemonade, but I’m leaning more towards strawberry kiwi. However, both are already in the Gatorade universe, and I don’t think it would be fun if the mystery flavor is one that currently exists. So I’m just going to combine the two and say my guess is strawberry kiwi lemonade.

There’s a QR code on the side of the bottle that led to a dead link when I scanned it with my phone. I’m sure it’ll be fixed someday. I don’t know if there are clues via that link, but the bottle does tell you to “Scan to Guess Mystery Flavor,” so maybe it’s just a website to enter your guess. As for mine, I will trust my taste buds and their experiences after having tried thousands of products over decades. I’m going to believe that they have the ability to determine what flavor this Gatorade variety is. I’m 90 percent confident they have the correct answer. Okay, 75 percent. A portion of me thinks it might be some other berry plus kiwi.

Whatever this flavor is, it’s tasty and as good as all the other dozen or so Gatorade options I’ve tried, but it doesn’t really stand out. If I was handed a cup of Mystery Flavor Gatorade during a 10k run, I’d drink it and think nothing of it because it’s such a normal tasting sports drink. If this was an attempt to think outside the box, like with a cotton candy or pumpkin spice Gatorade, it probably would’ve stopped me in my tracks.

In the end, it’s a perfectly fine tasting Gatorade. It’ll quench your thirst, give you electrolytes, and is suitable to dump on a coach who just won the big game. But I wish this ended up being a bit more exciting, like winning the big game.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 28 fl oz bottle
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) 190 calories, 0 grams of fat, 380 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 48. grams of sugar (including 48 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition 2023 Mtn Dew VooDEW

Back for a 5th Halloween season, VooDEW Grim is here to deliver another mystery flavored ghost white soda wrapped in spooky graphics. In years past, the flavors have all been candy-themed, and while they were intended to represent fairly specific candies, like 2020’s “Fruity Candy Explosion” basically being Skittles, this year’s edition partners Mtn Dew with an actual candy brand.

They’ve offered up a few not particularly subtle hints about the flavor, so I’m going to be equally as unsubtle with offering my guess. If you’d rather try it without being biased, now is the time to pull your reaper hood over your eyes and slowly back away into your graveyard. Try not to trip over that mummy with the mohawk.

This year’s VooDEW is available in both regular and zero sugar, and I tried both before I did any research as to what the flavor was. The zero version was the first I found, and sniffing it, I thought it had a familiar scent, but beyond “fruity candy soda,” I couldn’t have told you what it was. Tasting it had a similar effect, except that I was totally distracted by the artificial sweeteners. As someone who typically enjoys all sorts of sodas, including zero and diet types, I’m surprised I found this one so offensive, but I just couldn’t overlook it. I guess I don’t want fake sugar when I’m drinking my candy?

I was feeling like this year’s flavor might be a disappointment, but thankfully, a friendly apparition in the form of the regular variety showed up in my grocer’s cooler. Things are much improved here. There’s a citrusy lemon-lime aspect in the vein of normal Dew (or maybe closer to Sprite or 7UP) with notes of other fruits like cherry. It leans much more sweet than last year’s decidedly sour edition.

It had me feeling like I should know what this is, but I’m not sure I could have placed it exactly without the help of Dew’s clues. With them, though, it made perfect sense. Calling it “SCAIRY” and dropping a red balloon emoji on their social media along with a Blair Witch-style video of people running through the woods being stalked by a red balloon, I can pretty confidently say this VooDEW is Airheads flavored. Typically, the non-color of the brew is part of the disguise with the blank slate not offering up any hints as to what it might taste like. This year, I think the flavor is hiding in plain sight: White Mystery Airheads. The candy is made with leftover flavorings that are hanging around, so if you try this and think it tastes like some blend of cherry, lime, raspberry, and whatever else, you’re probably right.

Overall, VooDEW 5 is a sweet, smooth drinking soda that I think most people will find enjoyable regardless of how they feel about Airheads as a candy. If you’re able to get the regular version of this scary sip, I highly recommend it over the zero.

Purchased Price: $2.29 (regular), $2.00 (zero sugar)
Size: 20 fl oz
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco (regular), 7-Eleven (zero sugar)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (regular), 6 out of 10 (zero sugar)
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) Regular – 270 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 80 milligrams of sodium, 73 grams of total carbs, 73 grams of total sugars (incl. 73 grams of added sugars), and 0 grams of protein. Zero Sugar – 0 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 80 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of total carbs, 0 grams of total sugars (incl. 0 grams of added sugars), and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Fanta What the Fanta Mystery Flavor 2023

Fanta’s 2023 version of its What the Fanta Mystery Flavor has two mysteries attached to it. Of course, the first one is its flavor. And the second one is: Why don’t the cans glow in the dark?

The light green colored graphics over a black background make me think they’re glow-in-the-dark, but they’re not, despite my attempts to charge the possible glowy parts by putting a can next to a window for a time much longer than it would take for me to just Google the answer. While the cans don’t glow, the soda makes your tongue turn black or dark purple, especially in a dark room.

It smells orangey or citrusy, but it’s dark purple in color. With the first few sips, my guesses switched between grape and orange. But I think its color confused my head because there’s no way this is grape-flavored, right? There’s no mystery there. That would be like Sherlock Holmes in a mystery called “The Case of the Murderer Who Instantly Admitted It and There Are Dozens of Witnesses, Plus There’s Video Evidence From Every Angle Taken By Those Dozens of Witnesses.” It’s not that simple, right?

So my guess is orange, which sounds so basic that it’s got to be some kind of unique orange or orange-flavored product. The artificial sweetener aftertaste kind of hits me the same way as fruity, chalky candy does. So maybe it’s orange Smarties or Sweetarts? Or perhaps it’s Orange Fanta with a lot of Red 40 and Blue 1 food coloring. If that’s the case, WTF, Fanta?

A QR code on the side of the can leads to a website, but I didn’t visit it because I didn’t want to take the chance that it would give away the answer. I’ll just wait until it’s officially announced.

But is this orange candy-flavored soda good? It’s okay. Usually, I don’t mind zero sugar sodas, but there’s something about this one that makes it less appealing. It could be the artificial sweetener aftertaste I mentioned earlier that leads to a chalky candy-like sensation. Or maybe I taste the disappointment of the cans not glowing in the dark.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 7.5 oz cans (also available in 20 oz bottles)
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 40 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Mystery Flavor Fruit Roll-Ups

General Mills is rebranding its fruit snacks to suit the modern era of lunchbox-toting kids and teens, but in the case of these Mystery Flavor Fruit Roll-Ups, it feels like it went with such a ’90s vibe that it’s targeting the parents and not the offspring. This pack leans entirely on a “weird green guys from outer space” theme that I can’t imagine resonating with today’s kids. But what do I know? The packaging is metallic, and I’ll be damned if weird alien cartoons and shiny things don’t intrigue me.

The pack includes two flavors, Mystery and Solar Melon. I was briefly disappointed that half of these were melon because it gives you fewer chances to guess the mystery flavor. If you’re not familiar with Fruit Roll-Ups, I would describe the flavor of all of them as “This is definitely a Fruit Roll-Up,” but if you can tell the difference between a berry one and whatever the Tie-Dye is, you’re a better person than me. Fruit Roll-Ups are a snack to be eaten as quickly as possible because if they’re fresh, they’re so sticky that you can barely get the plastic off before they collapse in your hand. Definitely do not put them on a plate to photograph like I did. The time from thinking you might give it a taste test to the time you’ve determined that you’d better just shove it all in your mouth before you never get it unstuck from you again is about 8 seconds.

Trying the Mystery flavor, I couldn’t get beyond that it just tasted like I expected a Fruit Roll-Up to taste. Delicious, but overall…normal. Maybe this whole alien theme was a ruse? Maybe space tastes like Fruit Roll-Ups? I didn’t have a clue. Luckily part of this rebranding is a focus on trying to interact beyond the eating of the snack, so General Mills wants you to visit its website, where you can vote on what the flavor is.

Thank Area 51, we have some parameters!

Faced with the choices of Cosmic Citrus Swirl, Stellar Strawberry Peach, Galactic Grape, and Mango Martian, things started to make sense, and I felt pretty confident choosing Strawberry Peach. The strawberry is the classic and dominant flavor, but there’s a little more there, and it will remind you of Peach Rings.

To its credit, the unmysterious Solar Melon is a perfect shade of alien-green and a welcome addition to the box. It manages to taste like a blend of fruits with a melon focus but not in an overly artificial way like many watermelon candies.

The sheets are printed with tongue tattoos in various alien, UFO, and space designs. Because eating a Fruit Roll-Up inherently involves playing with your food, I went ahead and applied a UFO-XING sign to my tongue. It worked like a charm, and by that I mean it left my tongue with an unintelligible giant blue blob on it. You can thank me later for not including that photo. It might not be the most original attempt at a mystery flavor, but eating these is a fun and tasty way to spend two minutes, and who knows, you might win a galactic fanny pack before you’re beamed back up to the mothership.

Purchased Price: $2.29
Size: 10-count box of 0.5 oz rolls
Purchased at: Mariano’s
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Mystery Flavor), 7 out of 10 (Solar Melon)
Nutrition Facts: (1 roll) 50 calories, 1 gram of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of total carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar (including 7 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Mtn Dew Baja Deep Dive

Mtn Dew Baja Deep Dive Can

This review started with seven simple words, texted by my partner as he checked our mail: “Hey, did you order an exclusive Dew?”

I hadn’t… but my confusion quickly gave way to unadulterated joy. A month or so prior, I’d tracked down all three of Summer 2022’s Baja flavors — the OG and its new and surprisingly-elusive-in-my-neck-of-the-woods friends Baja Mango Gem and Baja Gold — diligently plugged the codes on their caps into Mountain Dew’s website for a stab at the Lost Treasures of Baja Island sweepstakes, and then summarily forgotten all about it… until I returned home triumphant to a coveted six-pack of my Baja Deep Dive winnings!

Mtn Dew Baja Deep Dive Box

Sure, it sounds a little less impressive when I specify that I’m a mere one of 18,000 beverage buffs who got lucky this time around, but still, free, surprise, only-available-from-a-contest Mountain Dew straight to one’s doorstep is nothing to scoff at!

Mtn Dew Baja Deep Dive Glass

I eagerly cracked open a tall, spiffy dark purple can of this subnautical nectar, which is decorated with what seems to be an artist’s interpretation of what normal fish would mutate into if oceans were made of Mountain Dew. A poison-dart-frog-bright, slightly bluish green (appropriately, one could even call it “sea green”) liquid whose hue I can best describe as “Yep, that sure is Mountain Dew-colored” pulsed out.

The perplexing potion smelled deliciously — and aggressively — fruity, candy-like even, but not in a way that I could immediately attribute to any particular flavor. If you’re familiar with Mountain Dew, such sugar-soaked ambiguity is probably not surprising. It is probably also not surprising when I report that this aquatic libation tastes… pretty much how just it smells. It’s violently sweet and heavily reminiscent of its citrus-y, mango-y, pineapple-y Baja brethren, but with a strange aftertaste that, bizarrely, reminded me of cucumber. A thorough sweep of the pleasantly active Mountain Dew community on Reddit suggests that I may literally be the only person in the world who thought that. Neat!

Mtn Dew Baja Deep Dive Descript

Oh yeah, did I mention this is a mystery flavor? As of late I’ve been on an equally amused and bemused quest to try as many flavors of Dew as possible, but nevertheless, I haven’t yet developed the skill of actually being able to differentiate between them very well. So, when it came to cracking this maritime mystery, I was a bit lost at sea.

Mtn Dew Baja Deep Dive Graphics

A deep dive into, well, Deep Dive produced a few hints that were as well-buried as a hidden treasure. Notably, there is a diver on the can whose mask looks like a pineapple, but that was about all I could fish up on my lonesome. (The can also prominently features, among other things, an eel, an anglerfish, and what appears to be a sentient grenade with a narwhal horn, so I hope those aren’t also clues about the ingredients at play here!)

Fortunately, the trusty True Dew-ers of the internet have also unearthed the tantalizing tidbit that the font used on this can is the same as on the dearly departed Mountain Dew Pitch Black, which was grape flavored. Come to think of it, aren’t sea grapes a thing? If that somehow ends up being this flavor’s secret identity, Team Mountain Dew deserves a hearty tip of my pirate’s hat (but maybe also an eye roll).

All in all, the allure of this oceanic new edition, just like the allure of any Mountain Dew, is both difficult to describe and difficult to deny.

Purchased Price: Free as a sweepstakes prize
Size: 16 oz cans
Purchased at: n/a, only available to winners of the Lost Treasures of Baja Island sweepstakes
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 220 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 65 milligrams of sodium, 59 grams of carbohydrates, 59 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 72 milligrams of caffeine.