QUICK REVIEW: Mtn Dew Berry Monsoon

Mtn Dew Berry Monsoon

What is it?

Mtn Dew Berry Monsoon is quite possibly the most exclusive soda in stores right now!

Oh, wait, I mean store.

That’s right because it’s available only at Sam’s Club — and, even then, only at the soda fountain. Luckily for me, I happen to be a member of The Club, so I grabbed a cup of this ultra-exclusive, berry lime-flavored soda during my last Sam’s run.

How is it?

Coming from someone that drinks enough Mtn Dew to have a lucrative Dew Nation Rewards account, pretty good! The berry flavor is definitely more prominent here, but the hint of lime provides a nice countenance for the fizz, which is a bit on the lighter side.

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If you can imagine mixing together three-fourths of a cup of Mountain Berry Blast Powerade with one-fourth of a cup of 7Up, then you would get a pretty accurate representation of what Mtn Dew Berry Monsoon tastes like. You’d even replicate the color, which is nearly identical to that of Berry Powerade.

Is there anything else I need to know?

This stuff is a great deal if you have a Sam’s Club membership, or if you know someone with one that you’re able to drag along with you to get you in the door. I paid less than a dollar for my 24-ounce cup, and, yes, you can get refills. You’re probably going to want to because Berry Monsoon’s likeness to carbonated Powerade makes it particularly satisfying after shopping and hauling cases of chips and toilet paper around the store.

Conclusion:

If you shop at Sam’s Club, like Mountain Dew, and are looking for something a little lighter to quench your thirst over the summer, then I think that Mtn Dew Berry Monsoon is something you’ll enjoy! Hopefully, PepsiCo will incorporate this flavor into its regular selection, because I’ll be sad to see this one go.

Purchased Price: 89 cents
Size: 24 oz.
Purchased at: Sam’s Club
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 fl oz.) 60 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 calories from fat, 35 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 16 grams of sugar, 0 grams of dietary fiber, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Lemonade

Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Lemonade

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always thought of ginger ale as a drink that skews toward the older demographic. I can’t say for sure because I don’t spend much time at skateparks or halfpipes, but I don’t imagine too many people under 21 grabbing an ice-cold ginger ale after doing some kind of extreme sport.

Even for the legally-able-to-drink-but-under-65 crowd, ginger ale is something that might be included in a fancy drink you order to impress a date, but not a beverage you imbibe on a regular basis.

On the other hand, lemonade is a drink for kids. Sure, adults will get a glass at an outrageously marked-up price from the neighborhood stand run by kids who always mess up the directions and either serve the strongest or weakest lemonade ever concocted. And yes, if you are of drinking age you’ve might’ve had lemonade with vodka. But if you are at a fancy dinner for a job interview — like at the type of place with tablecloths and metal utensils — chances are you are not ordering a lemonade (unless said interview is for a job at Country Time or Snapple).

So that brings us to Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Lemonade. As soft drinks go, it’s not very creative or wild. Soda flavors have proliferated over the past decade in a seemingly endless pursuit of the most extreme outcomes to the point where bacon-flavored drinks are passé. And this Canada Dry offering certainly isn’t a fancy craft soda using dragon fruit, passionfruit or other variation of fruit that I’m not certain truly exists.

Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Lemonade 2

It’s just ginger ale and lemonade, but it’s surprising this combination of flavors is really satisfying and refreshing.

The aroma is barely existent, with a faint smell of ginger ale and no lemon at all, and the color is more translucent than you might expect. But the flavor is where this drink shines, as it should. You do have to focus a little to pick out the separate ginger ale and lemonade flavors, as they meld into almost a mellow Mountain Dew-like taste with a bit less citrus kick and a touch less carbonation. Further research confirms that this also makes an excellent mixer with vodka or other spirits.

The label touts that it’s made “from real ginger and real juice,” but before you get ready to count a glass as a daily serving of fruit, take notice that it contains a whopping 1 percent lemon juice. For the mathematically-challenged, included is a visual aid showing 12 ounces of the drink with the amount of lemon juice it actually contains (about 3.5 milliliters). A juice drink this is not.

Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Lemonade 3

I guess this would be easy to make yourself by mixing ginger ale and lemonade, but why go to that trouble when the good folks at Canada Dry have already found the right flavor combination that is surprisingly good.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 fl. oz. – 140 calories, 0 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 36 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: 2 liters
Purchased at: H-E-B
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Pleasant, mellow and refreshing flavor. Mixes well with your favorite alcohol.
Cons: Won’t count as your daily serving of fruit. Can’t be sure if this drink will make you feel old or young.

REVIEW: Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, Ginger Lime, Twisted Mango, and Zesty Blood Orange

Diet Coke Feisty Cherry Ginger Lime Twisted Mango and Zesty Blood Orange

Diet soda drinkers are not exactly a fickle lot. Some people swear by Diet Pepsi without aspartame. Others with aspartame. Tab people are still kicking it like it’s 1985 and any true Texan wouldn’t be caught dead with a Mr. Pibb Zero over Diet Dr Pepper.

Which is all to say that Coke’s decision to launch a new flavored Diet Coke line is a bit of a head-scratcher.

As a diet soda drinker myself, I can understand the dividing lines of low-calorie beverages. We’re creatures of habit; obsessive compulsives; generally curmudgeonly and resistant to change. Also, we’re all going to get cancer and metabolic disorder and blah blah blah BUT STILL we’re willing to at least try a new diet soda, especially with the help of some (relatively) exotic names.

I love most orange-flavored things. However, unlike my childhood hero Kel Mitchell, I’m not crazy about the taste of orange soda, which lacks the body of a cola. Diet Coke Zesty Blood Orange cures all that; the orange flavor is robust but not bitter, lingering on as a component of the aftertaste but not stripping the soda of its cola roots. Why it took Coke this long to use orange as a flavor in a bottled or canned soda, I have no idea. But I’m happy it’s finally here.

I don’t know what twisted is supposed to convey as an adjective. Perverse? Physically contorted? Changed ever-so-slightly from the original intent that the word is basically meaningless? The last one seems to be the case when it comes to the taste of Twisted Mango. Meaningless adjectives aside, this is a good soda. Crisp, fruity but not overly tropical, with a sweeter finish than traditional Diet Coke, it just works. I can see Diet Coke with Lemon fans liking this one, which has a good mix of conservative Diet Coke appeal and unique flavor.

Moving right along, Feisty Cherry seems like a weird name for a soda. A 90s pop-rock artist or Kentucky Derby horse? Okay, I can see that. But a soda? Not really. In any event, the flavor comes across as a slightly muted black cherry, but it never really overcomes the carbonation. Where there was a distinct sweetness with Zesty Blood Orange, Feisty Cherry has a more traditional Diet Coke aftertaste, which I guess can be either a good or and thing depending on your preferences. Personally, I found it a less suitable imitator to Diet Cherry Dr Pepper, which I’m allowed to say because of the two years I lived in Texas.

Ginger Lime should have been the most exotic tasting flavor, but instead of some piquant and spicy flavor, it tastes like Diet Coke watered down with a generic (read: not Canada Dry) ginger ale. Not that I’m complaining, but the lack of ginger ale crossover makes this a disappointment.

Diet soda drinkers are not exactly a fickle lot, and because of that, I’m not sure how well received the new Diet Coke flavors will be, especially when Feisty Cherry and Ginger Lime fail to deliver on their aggressive names.

However, maybe that’s the point.

Since Diet Coke drinkers default back to the standby of Diet Coke, the generally non-offensive flavors probably won’t turn anyone off. That said, at least with the exception of Blood Orange, I doubt they’ll turn anyone on.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 oz – 0 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 5 milligrams of sodium, 160 milligrams of potassium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.68
Size: 12-pack (12 oz. cans)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Blood Orange)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Ginger Lime)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Feisty Cherry)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Twisted Mango)
Pros: Blood Orange has a crisp, sweet finish that tastes like a natural addition to traditional Diet Coke. Twisted Mango brings a tropical flavor to cola without overdoing it. Varied spectrum of flavors for those who don’t have access to a Coke Freestyle machine.
Cons: Aside from Blood Orange, flavors don’t necessarily wow you. Feisty Cherry tastes mostly like Diet Coke with Cherry. Ginger Lime fails to deliver the long-expected ginger ale-cola hybrid. Curmudgeonly Diet Coke drinkers.

REVIEW: Mix by Sprite: Tropic Berry

McDonald s Mix by Sprite Tropic Berry

Like many surly teenagers in the 90s with nothing better to do than loiter, I hung out way too many hours for my own good at the Target up the block from my house. The electronics department was a social hub for most of the boys in the neighborhood due to the fact that they had every current gaming system out in the open and set on free play. None of that demo nonsense that Sears did.

This was all well and good until the one of the managers would let us know in no uncertain terms that we had to buy something or leave. Squeezing every last minute of gameplay we could, those of us with a few spare quarters would pool together about 75 cents to buy a bottle of this new beverage that was seemingly only available at Target: Clearly Canadian.

With its sticky sweet, syrupy “clear” taste that mingled deliriously with a decidedly crisp berry sensation, we passed the bottle around like grade school hoboes warming themselves around an 8-bit barrel fire. Looking back, it was a flavor out of and ahead of it time, especially during the crystal cola wars of the 1990-somethings. Sure, after pounding three or four at a time, it gave us the worst headaches and a little bit of nausea on the way home to dinner, but for that price to stay and play, who gave a good gosh-darn.

It’s been a flavor sensation that I have been nostalgically chasing for almost 20 years and, while I always knew it would be those flavor wizards at Sprite that would probably be the ones to resuscitate that drinkable emotion, I had no idea it would be found on accident while I was looking for the Hi-C Orange Lava Burst cold filtered water button on a McDonald’s drink fountain.

McDonald s Mix by Sprite Tropic Berry 2

Going by the fake corporate DJ nom de plume of Mix by Sprite: Tropic Berry, this is most definitely the second coming of that Mountain Berry or Western Loganberry Clearly Canadian if there ever was one, right down to the high-fructose headache after excitedly slurping two large-sized cups of the carbonated beverage when, as an adult, you should really know better.

The typical lemon-lime zest of Sprite that we’ve come to expect is pushed down the taste scale pretty low to point of being barely noticeable as the artificially-flavored tropical (which tropic though?) berry (which berry though?) dominates proudly. It also comes complete with a tongue-coating aftertaste that will definitely call for at least a full cup of PowerAde Mountain Berry Blast cold filtered water to swig around as you leave the restaurant. Or Wal-Mart, if you’re in nasty and/or in Oklahoma.

McDonald s Mix by Sprite Tropic Berry 3

Mix by Sprite: Tropic Berry is definitely worth tracking down and most definitely worth the taste, if only for curiosity’s sake. While it is far too sickly sucrosed-up to be an everyday thing, it’ll make for a delightful once a week treat as you nosh on a Big Mac and fries. Just keep that bottle of aspirin on the ready. ¡Cómpralo ya!

(Nutrition Facts – (small only) – 100 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 27 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: Large
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Great berry taste. Surprisingly crisp. Extremely refreshing.
Cons: Can be too much of a sweet thing. Bad aftertaste.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Dragonfruit Pepsi X

Dragonfruit Pepsi X

I guess dragonfruit is the appropriate fruit flavor for The X Factor’s Limited Edition Pepsi X since almost everything that comes out of Simon Cowell’s mouth is verbal fire that can burn egos and Britney Spears is bat shit fruity.

Dragonfruit, or better known by Future Farmers of America members as hylocereus undatus, hylocereus costaricensis, or hylocereus megalanthus (depending on the color of the fruit’s skin and flesh), is grown in tropical areas, like this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean I live on.

Just like I’ve never seen an episode of The X Factor, I have yet to try dragonfruit. So seeing as how I could easily get the exotic fruit, I thought it was necessary to taste an actual dragonfruit before writing a review about the dragonfruit-flavored Pepsi X.

It’s a good thing there’s a farmer’s market down the street from me, but it’s a bad thing that dragonfruits were selling for $4.99 a pound. I bought the smallest one, which cost me $5.15.

If you’ve never seen a dragonfruit in real life or saw one when accidentally choosing a Google Image search suggestion for exotic fruits instead of, what you really wanted, exotic females, the most common type of the fruit (hylocereus undatu) has a pretty, pretty pink skin with green leaves protruding out of it and behind it there’s white flesh with tiny black seeds.

A few other interesting factoids about dragonfruits, there’s also a red-fleshed dragonfruit (hylocereus costaricensis) and if you eat too much of it you may get pseudohematuria, which is a harmless condition that turns your urine and feces reddish in color. Now that you know that, I hope you never accidentally choose a Google Image search suggestion for pseudohematuria. And knowing is half the battle.

Oh, speaking of pseudohematuria, the color of Pepsi X was noticeably lighter than regular Pepsi and it looked like it had a reddish hue.

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Now that I know what dragonfruit tastes like, I can definitely say Limited Edition Dragonfruit Pepsi X doesn’t have a flavor that’s recognizable as dragonfruit. The dragonfruit’s flesh was mostly bland with a very mild sweetness. It’s as flavorful as cucumbers or kiwis. However, Pepsi X has a strong fruity and slightly floral flavor that doesn’t taste anything like dragonfruit. There’s also very little cola flavor.

Of course, I might’ve selected the wrong dragonfruit to taste and needed to buy the pseudohematuria-causing one. Or maybe, because it’s a little floral, Pepsi is trying to reproduce the flavor of dragonfruit flowers. Or maybe the flavor was developed by blending together dragon meat with fruits.

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Whatever the case, I didn’t really care for Pepsi X. It’s interesting and not horrible, but I don’t see myself buying more because its unusual fruity/flowery flavor just doesn’t have The X Factor.

While I didn’t care for Pepsi X’s flavor, I LOVE that Pepsi did something I never thought they would do — release an unusual Pepsi flavor. A dragonfruit-flavored Pepsi is something I’d expect Pepsi in Japan to release, but it was released here in the U.S. That’s extremely exciting. So, within the past few months, Pepsi has launched a malt-flavored Mountain Dew and this dragonfruit-flavored Pepsi. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounces – 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 35 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 30 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Limited Edition Dragonfruit Pepsi X
Purchased Price: $3.00*
Size: 12 ounces
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Not horrible. It’s a weird Pepsi flavor that sounds like it should be from Japan, but it’s not. Being able to buy dragonfruits down the street. Future Farmers of America.
Cons: Doesn’t taste like dragonfruit. Fruity/flowery flavor is a bit odd and doesn’t have The X Factor. Very little cola flavor. The price of dragonfruit. Pseudohematuria. Simon Cowell.

*To ensure I could review these as quickly as possible, I bought some off of eBay. It will most definitely be cheaper if you bought it in a store.