Red Bull Cola – Drink Review

Red Bull Cola

So I went back and was looking over the original post where I first announced my knowledge of Red Bull’s cola creation. And I had said I would review it when I laid hands upon it. Well, I’ve had a few of these thus far, so let’s knock this out. I’m a Widge of my word, after all. Mostly. Kinda.

True to their word, it appears the thing is all natural, caffeine taken from coffee beans, no artificial flavors, real sugar, natural flavors from vanilla, mustard seed, lime, kola nut, cacao, licorice, cinnamon, lemon, ginger, coca leaf, orange, corn mint, pine, cardamon, mace, clove and something called galangal. I think I had a cousin once whose galangal went malignant and they had to remove it. Oh, and there’s lemon juice concentrate. In the cola, I mean, not in that cousin.

I can see now why most colas use artificial flavors–it’s probably a helluva lot easier. And cheaper. You can pay some guy off the street to go, “Yup, that’s how you get cola–use that cola syrup over there.” You’ve got to pay real money to get somebody good enough to say, “You know what’s missing? Pine!” Jaysus.

Okay, so here’s the good news. The taste isn’t bad. Of course, it’s not anything that will blow you away. It’s a good alternative to Coke, since, for example, they do use real sugar–something Coke isn’t bright enough to do in this country regardless of a great free idea somebody gives them. But it doesn’t distinguish itself from any other natural cola I’ve tasted. In fact, when it comes to “alternate colas,” I actually like the taste of Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola better.

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By | 2017-09-24T23:09:17+00:00 December 2nd, 2008|Drink Reviews|0 Comments

Duff Energy Drink – Review

Duff Energy Drink

So there we are in Universal Orlando and we run across the Simpsons area. There’s a Kwik-E Mart next to the attraction, although not as cool as the 7-11s they repurposed for the movie promo. But they did still sell Simpsons merch, including what I’m holding in my hands there: a Duff energy drink. How could I resist?

As you can see, it’s in a can that’s…well, it’s a Duff beer can. There’s not much else to be said. They nailed the design–which makes it automatically a worthwhile purchase for the novelty of those who are fans of the show. Investigating what’s inside, we find 120mg of caffeine, 25mg of guarana, 25mg of panax ginseng, 41g of sugars, 1000mg of taurine, 300% of your required B12, 100% of your B6, 50% of your B3 and 50mg of inositol. So it’s a decent showing.

How does it taste? Surprisingly…really damn good. No kidding. No real “energy drink” taste either before or after sipping, although it does have a strong soft drink kick to it–the same sort of kick of a Vault or Mountain Dew even though the taste is not the same. It also doesn’t taste like Generic Energy Drink like most novelty drinks seem to–it has a unique flavor I haven’t experienced before during my wide and reckless sampling of energy beverages. In fact, Dana Snyder, who also sampled Duff, called it when he likened the taste to Gatorade Gum. Although whereas the gum would only hold its flavor for about a femtosecond, this drink carries it. I honestly would drink this stuff on a regular basis. Perhaps I was just enjoying the taste, but it really did provide a pick-me-up for that late afternoon final push to blitz through the rest of what we wanted to see at Universal. I quite recommend it.

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By | 2017-09-24T23:09:56+00:00 November 16th, 2008|Drink Reviews|0 Comments

Naruto Jutsu Power Energy Drink Review

Naruto Jutsu Power Energy Drink

I’m at an anime convention in Miami. So how does one do as the Romans do in this particular version of Rome? How shall I try to fit in with this crowd? Review an anime energy drink, naturally.

I was told by the guy who sold it to me that it tasted just like Red Bull; this is not a turnoff as I happen to enjoy Red Bull. Often in and in great quantities. But the good news is while it’s similar to Red Bull it’s got enough of a difference to make it worth drinking.

Side Note: With the amount of energy drinks on the market, it’s very easy to think about energy drinks as all being variations of Red Bull in the same way that George Carlin once did a routine about how all sports were just variations of ping pong.

Whereas Red Bull in a glass looks like beer, Jutsu Power in a glass has a faded melony green color to it. And it’s basically a milder cousin of Red Bull–it doesn’t have that rough edge to the taste. It is thus very pleasant to drink. It possesses an unspecified amount of caffeine, guarana extract and ginseng.

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By | 2017-09-24T23:10:13+00:00 November 1st, 2008|Drink Reviews|1 Comment

Function Alternative Energy – Drink Review

Function Alternative Energy drink

I joke on this site a lot about health, even though health is actually important to me. Since, you know, health is what’s standing between me and the long, long dirt nap, I do have an appreciation for health. I do enjoy a lot of unhealthy things and I admittedly drink more energy drinks than I probably should. But I’m an adult, at least physically, and I know what I’m doing. Mostly.

Still, when you get an energy drink that is courting people who want to sleep less and still stay healthy–a tough demographic seeing as how many would consider the two items to be mostly mutually exclusive–I do pay attention. That’s the case with Function Drinks. On the label it goes to great lengths to separate itself from its energy drink brethren. “All Natural,” it says at the top. “Created by Physicians.” The label also says “Get up and keep going with the first time-release formula for long-lasting energy. The all-natural combo of catuaba, muira pauma, epimedium, and yerba mate provides stamina for 6 to 8 hours.” In addition to those neat things, the proprietary blend on back lists caffeine and guarana extract as well. And sure enough, the sugar we’re dealing with here is natural evaporated cane sugar instead of, you know, crap. Yerba mate, guarana and caffeine–all good things. Catuaba? Is used for aphrodisiacs? Interesting…what about muira pauma? Used to increase sexual desire and libido? Um. Okay…epimedium? It’s another name for Horny Goat Weed? What exactly were these physicians doing while creating this, I wonder…?

The flavor, for the record is “Tangerine-Yuzu.” Which is not, also for the record, the demon from The Exorcist, although it has been mistaken for Pazuzu at parties.

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By | 2017-09-24T23:11:25+00:00 October 12th, 2008|Drink Reviews|4 Comments

Vacation in a Bottle: Chill-N – Drink Review

Vacation in a Bottle

While I am a stimulant junkie, there are times when even I want to relax. And I have been, on occasion, known to drink something that doesn’t have caffeine in it. Like milk. And…you know. Milk. But I do like trying new drinks, especially when they sound as nice as “Vacation in a Bottle.” It’s pomegranate berry flavored, it says, so that is nice. It promises a “wave of relaxation,” which is also nice. And while the fact that it has no caffeine makes it sound like something that I would burst into flames if I ever tried, I would say that you’re thinking about it the wrong way. Vacations take time. So if you can have the equivalent of a vacation in the time it takes to drink something–how could that not appeal to a stimulant junkie?

Granted, I was worried that the thing might lose its mojo, considering that it arrived in cans. But if you consider it, “Vacation in a Can” just doesn’t have the same elegant sound to it.

Popping the top, you get the whiff of the berry-ness, which is pleasant. The first sip is very pleasant–there’s more berry flavor there than full on pom, but that’s pleasant. It’s extremely mild, mellow even. Then…the wave of relaxation is drowned by a wave of chemical aftertaste. And that’s the sucralose undertow, folks.

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By | 2017-09-24T23:13:44+00:00 August 25th, 2008|Drink Reviews|3 Comments

Venom Energy Drink: Black Mamba and Mojave Rattler – Review

Black Mamba and Mojave Rattler: Venom Energy Drink

So when I heard that Dr. Pepper was going to get into the energy drink arena, I thought I should give these things a try. I was sent a sample of both the Black Mamba and the Mojave Rattler variations. Basically, as I understand it, the Black Mamba comes with half sugar and glucose and then half is the dreaded sucralose, then you have Mojave Rattler, which is just glucose and sucralose.

The bottles are pretty cool, although they can mislead: I thought for some reason that the Mojave Rattler, being purple, was grape-flavored. For all I know it is grape-flavored, just overpowered by the sucralose, but we’ll get to that in a minute. The bottles are aluminum and feel sturdier than the larger resealable bottle/can/battery that Jolt comes in. And as result, when they are cold they are nice and cold.

Beyond that, we go straight into the taste. And I will give Dr. Pepper this: the Black Mamba, as much as I hate sucralose, is tolerable. When I unscrewed the top off I could just smell the fake sugar. And it’s not like I had my nose up to the bottle. It just, boom, was loose and in the air around me. And I’m not kidding. So I was worried this was all about to go south. What happens is that it’s got a rough taste to it, which reminds me a bit of Cocaine Energy Drink (but without the burn), then the sucralose kicks in, but just before it’s about to overwhelm you and make you saw off your own tongue with a butter knife lest that taste linger–the real sugar seems to kick in and return you to sane sweetness. I drank a big gulp to begin with and my eyes watered afterwards. I was able to drink this and actually finish the bottle, which is a testament to its taste. If you actually can stand sucralose on its own, then you’ll dig the hell out of this.

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By | 2017-09-24T23:15:04+00:00 August 2nd, 2008|Drink Reviews|22 Comments

Starbucks Doubleshot Energy + Coffee – Drink Review

Starbucks Doubleshot Energy + Coffee, Mocha and Vanilla

Oh, Starbucks, what have you done? This is their new coffee energy beverage. I snagged both the mocha and the vanilla flavored variations. They sport guarana (90mg), ginseng (325mg) and B vitamins (200% of your B6 RDA and 100% of your B12 RDA). No word about how much caffeine on the can, but Energy Fiend (the authority on such matters), tells us that 225mg 146mg awaits you in each one.

Trouble is, they taste like ass.

How to describe the experience of trying to drink these things to you…

Let’s see: imagine you’ve tried to laminate the inside of your mouth and throat with a terrible plastic that tastes of sweet chemicals. Nay, not tried. Succeeded. You sip and you think surely, surely this can’t be right. And it’s not. Because when I say laminate, I mean you’re going to be stuck with this dreadful fake taste in your mouth for a while afterwards. Best of luck with that.

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By | 2017-09-24T23:17:00+00:00 June 23rd, 2008|Drink Reviews|12 Comments

Jolt: Passion Fruit – Drink Review

Jolt: Passion Fruit

Well, frankly, I didn’t even know they had a “passion fruit” variation of Jolt, but I’ve been fond of Jolt since high school, so I figured I’d give it a go. It comes in their 23.5 oz. battery can, which I still get amused by. As for how it tastes…well, it’s got the regular Jolt underpinnings but with the passion fruit taste laid over the top of it instead of the cola taste. You probably could have guessed that without me having to relate it to you, but that’s not the end of it. The fact is it does feel like it’s just laid over the top of it. It’s not necessarily a taste that makes you run for the exits, like something with Splenda in it, for example. But it’s not exactly the sort of drink you’d pine for after it was gone. It’s just…sort of there. Doesn’t do a lot to impress. Perhaps if you’re a big fan of passion fruit, this might crank your tractor more than it did mine. But the taste just simply doesn’t thrill me. It just seems like some sort of generic fake fruity flavor on my tongue.

Speaking of cranking, Energy Fiend (the net authority on such matters), tells us that we’re looking at 220mg of caffeine for this can (which says it contains 3 servings). But I didn’t feel that much of a pickup, even after drinking the whole thing. Granted, even after my stint away from caffeine for medical reasons, I felt no real surge from this at all. Those with less tolerance might have a better time with it.

While I applaud Wet Planet and Jolt for screwing around with flavor experiments, I’d take the original over this any day of the week.


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By | 2017-09-24T23:17:47+00:00 June 7th, 2008|Drink Reviews|0 Comments

Wet Mango Exotic Energy Drink – Review

Wet Mango Exotic Energy Drink

So what’s the selling point of the Wet Mango Exotic Energy Drink, apart from the…ahm…rather provocative can art there? Well, the name’s accurate–it’s mango flavored. In fact, that’s what differentiates it from every other energy drink out there…since you can taste a regular energy drink underneath that. The mango taste is nice from the standpoint that it is different from every other energy drink on the market, but only just. Not that I expect any huge breakthroughs in energy drink taste (since taste for most of us is secondary to the oomph provided), mind you.

The one thing I would change would be to have the mango flavor be a real mango flavor. As it stands, the ingredient is listed as “Artificial Flavor ‘Mango’,” with the quotes around “Mango” being a little off-putting. You’d think that would be an enhanced selling point as well: “with all natural mango flavor.” Or something.

Also, oomph provided was no more than I would get from a similarly sized can energy drink. So again, if you just want a slightly different taste, Wet Mango might work for you.

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By | 2017-09-24T23:18:19+00:00 June 3rd, 2008|Drink Reviews|0 Comments

Matte Leão + Guaraná and Leão Guaraná Power – Drink Review

Matte Leão + Guarana and Leão Guarana Power

Guarana is busting out all over in the States, but before it became par for the course for energy drinks to have it in their ingredients list, guarana was in drinks coming out of Brazil. It was at a Brazilian grocery store (as in one that sells Brazilian stuff–I have sadly not snuck away to Brazil recently) that I came across these two by Matte Leão. I don’t speak Portuguese and these bottles came with very little English on them, so if I make assumptions and get it wrong, don’t mock me too viciously.

First up, I tried the Matte Leão + Guarana. From what I could taste, we’re talking mate tea plus guarana. And my reading of the ingredients list seems to support that. And real sugar, so that’s good. I don’t believe there’s fake sugar in here, although it could be on the ingredients list and how would I know? The guarana-laced tea taste was very interesting, especially since it seemed to have a bit of caramel in there as well, and it had a bit of a kick to it. The yerba mate plus guarana combo was a nice one.

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By | 2017-09-24T23:18:29+00:00 May 30th, 2008|Drink Reviews|0 Comments