Vitamin Water Formula 50

OK chum I gotta just quickly chime in on the whole Vitamin Water thing. I mean it’s this thing. These babies are everywhere. I feel like they’re going to supplant the whole Snapple stranglehold, given enough marketing dollars. I know you’ve already submitted your review but I need to deposit my fitty cents.

(And at this juncture I have to give a shout out to my wife who was way ahead of the curve on this one [sort of like the whole “write extremely personal things about yourself on the web” deal]. She was all: “Taste this! It’s totally like watered-down orange drink!” Because she’s basically ape for the watered-down drinks? Seriously just the other day I got this delightful carton of potent apple cider, all action-packed with fierce autumn flavor the way it should be, right? Get this: She cuts it with three parts water. I’m like: Why do you hate flavor. Why do you hate pleasure. But that’s a tale for another time.)

Anyway one day I’m desperately dehydro and desperate for w/e and as usual the local beverage provider is filled stem to stern with Vitamin Waters, and I go: fine. I give. And I opted for Formula 50, which allegedly is brought to me by 50 Cent? In some kind of weird, super-subtle (and thus atypical) hip-hop cross-promo thing? And I chug it, not even really tasting anything until the bottle is empty, and I’m left with: OK, I take it this is the watered-down grape Kool-Aid flavor. (No joke, I’m pretty sure it’s actual Kool-Aid that these pricks in Queens are just diluting with shitty sludge from the Sound, and then charging us two bills.)

I tried pretty much every other VW I came across — the watered-down fruit punch, watered-down lemonade, even the more obscure flavors like green tea and peach mango and raspberry apple and lemon tea — and each time I’m all: Zzzzzwha? What time is it? Oh I must’ve driften off while drinking this incredibly dull drink. And then I turn around and realize I’ve had one of these every day for like the last three months. It got its hooks in me. These shiny bottles call out to me every time, cockpunching all competitors with extreme prejudice.

And Formula 50 is the one I keep turning to above all others. It just plain quenches the shit out me and the shrill, bleak grape taste has become increasingly endearing and essential. I’m not proud of my love for this drink, but I have to acknowledge it’s become a regular part of my regimen.

Scary Halloween Review: Tab Energy Drink

You wake up in a dingy basement, your hands shackled and chained to the very gross floor. There’s a dead body next to you, holding a tape player. The recorded message tells you the key to the chains has been implanted in your tongue. You notice a razor blade affixed to the wall nearby, right at the level of your mouth. With no small amount of weeping and wailing, you start licking.


Alert beverage-consumer Maura alerts us to Spykes, describing them thusly:

Served in nail polish-sized bottles. Flavors are spicy lime, hot melons (?!), spicy mango, and hot chocolate. It’s fortified with caffeine and guarana. What confused me the most was the instruction to “drink them as a shot or pour them in to [sic] your beer.”

We do love the hot melons. Thanks Maura!

K4T vs Ontario

OK I am back from my trip to Ontario and I am here to report that Canada is not some strange foreign land. The parts of Ontario I saw were basically like an Iowa punctuated with West Hartford, Connecticuts, if that helps you place the area in your mental topography at all. They rely a bit too heavily on coin money, which is frankly gross and tiresomely historical, but whatever. I was just visiting.

Beverage-wise there were no real surprises, sadly. I was hoping to find something new and unheard of, the potable equivalent of poutine, perhaps, but nay. They drink what we drink, and I guess the world just seems a little bit smaller today. *sigh*

Black Cherry soda comes in large and economically-effiecient plastic bottles! Josh maybe Canada is your religion’s idea of Heaven? Also: they decided that to have Cream Soda be red.

IRN-BRU is in full-effect. I actually like this better over time.

You can find TrueBlue there, unlike where I live. Although they were out of Blueberry Green Tea.

Itzer was the only beverage I came across that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. It’s USP is that it is red. Not exactly news. And not exactly tasty, either.

This was like whoa. Fruitopia Tangerine Wavelength is in full effect! I scanned the cartons, and there’s no mention of Coca-Cola anywhere on them. It’s like a breakaway faction of Fruitopia enthusiasts, high on patchouli fumes, have established an illicit indie revival of their favorite C-list beverage. If you look closely, the title actually reads F.R.U.I.T.O.P.I.A. and contains a small hidden logo of a muted post horn.

Ontario: the beverage revolution is brewing, but will involve resets of beverages you already know you don’t like.

Red Bull

There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to wake up to a cold hard truth that can no longer be ignored. For some men, that means reconciling their desire to wear a leather vest and no shirt with their loveless heterosexual marriage. As for me, (relax) I must face up to the fact that I am a Red Bull enthusiast. Who knew! Me, an energy drink guy! I don’t even own a pair of cargo pants. My day-to-day activities are neither extreme nor to the maxx, and are rarely performed with anything even approaching aplomb or élan.

And yet, if you look at my beverage statistics, it turns out I drink Red Bull more often than any other beverage besides water. Straight up, not even joking, I am just as taken aback by all of this as you are. But I am a travelling man, and I pretty much swear by Red Bull for my long car trips. I probably went through 10 cans in the last two weeks alone, what with the hither and yon.

What I like about it:

  • The taste isn’t completely terrible.
  • No HFCS.
  • Doesn’t make me all spazz out with a heart attack.
  • Has a more complicated chemical formula than coffee (read: inspires bathroom visits with less frequency).

Sorry to describe the drink in terms of what it isn’t. I didn’t invent the rules of the English language; I just wield it like a cat o’ nine tails against the vinyl-clad ass of your mind.

TrueBlue Blueberry Green Tea

How was your trip to Canada, sir. Did you see naked ladies on regular non-pay-cable TV (or as they call it, “televisioun”). Because that’s what I saw when I went to Montreal that one time. Do you remember that song called “I Just Wanna Stop” that begins “When I think about those nights in Montreal / I get the sweetest thoughts of you and me”? Well allow me to paraphrase Miller’s Crossing and say that if I knew we were going to cast our feelings into words, I would’ve brought The Best of Gino Vanelli.

But moving on, I figured now was the time to finally crack open that special bottle you sent me ages ago that was manufactured in Canada, namely TrueBlue. It has loomed in my refridge for months now, always taking a back seat to flashier beverages like Jasper’s Green Chile Chai and Sour Cream & Onion Dr Pepper and that bottle of Hong Kong SARS-parilla w/protective mask I got on eBay. TrueBlue just seemed so tame and unassuming and basically balls-out Canadian. It looked fine enough, but it was made out of blueberries. And green tea. I’m all: WTF could you possibly make a less xtreme beverage? Maybe in a lab in Vancouver? With like universal health care for all the scientists?

But silly me, I forgot that Canada was full of surprises. Did you know the movie Meatballs was made in Canada? Its French title is Arrête de ramer, t’es sur le sable which roughly translates to “Stop rowing, you’re on the sand.” Just think about it.

Similarly, TrueBlue brought me unexpected delight, despite my loathing of interCaps. It has a nice, sweet, but not overwhelmingly blueberry-y blueberry flavor. And despite its vow to anti my oxidants, I did not feel like they were being mugged as I did with pomegranate. It was all fun and enjoyable, as if Michael J. Fox or Dave Foley or Norm MacDonald or Tommy Chong or some other Canadian funnyman was working those toxins out of me with their delicious brand of hilarity.

Jones Monster Mojito Soda

Is this the perfect recipe for a grown-up soda? Or just a chillingly obvious plan to turn America’s youth into alcoholics?

Man last I checked my name ain’t Heraclitus of Ephesus, what do I know about such things. Although I must admit, a soda named and flavored after a popular alcoholic drink, and sold in the Halloween section at Target–right next to the candy corn and Thomas the Train costumes–seems, what, un peu gauche?

Even so. If I go on record saying I liked this, I do not want to be blamed this Halloween when you get 93 Jango Fetts at your door screaming “Absolutely fuck a bunch of Milky Ways, we have recently acquired a taste for caipirinhas.”

I’ll say this about the flavor scientists over at Jones: they are on some next-level shit. The ingredients are just a list of chemicals, nothing even remotely resembling an actual flavor, but the end result is suprisingly mojito-like. Although it wasn’t quite minty enough, the lime and carbonation were just right, and it even (I swear) left that slightly burny aftertaste of alcohol on my tongue. It was no joke. I could totally see drinking these in the car.

Incidentally, there are little sayings on the insides of Jones soda caps, and this time mine said “Stop Smoking.” Which is a little like being reminded by a prostitute to use your turn signals when you pull over to pick her up.

Open Thread: Best Chain for Bevs

Which chain restaurant do you think has the best beverage options, I wonder. For me it’s Sonic or nothing. The menu is huge and they give you the tools to make your beverage dreams a reality. I don’t think I’ve ever had the same thing there twice. This past weekend I went with the Orange Cool Breeze (Sprite w/ cherry and orange flavorings, plus pineapple chunks) and was totally not disappointed. But if there’s something better out there, in the name of all that’s holy, I want to know about it.

K4T vs Austin: Day Three

And on the third day, Jesus rolled away the stone, and kfan wrestled the cap of the Austin bottle, sipping at last of a fine beverage therein. I know you’re tired of me always comparing myself to Jesus, but seriously I think there’s something there.

I had breakfast at Las Manitas on my last morning in Austin and it was AOK x infinity. My two main takeaways: breakfast without guacamole will no longer be considered breakfast, and the fact that I’m not sure where to get agua fresca in my town is going to be a huge problem on a go-forward basis.

From the reading I’ve been doing: agua fresca is a catch-all term for a low-budget beverage usually comprised of fruit juice, water and sugar. For a reason I’m not quite clear on, agua fresca can also refer to horchata, which is made from rice milk and in my mind belongs in a completely separate phylum. But I guess Mexican scientists have a different organizational schema and I’ll just assume they know what they’re doing.

So back to Las Manitas. I took the establish-a-baseline approach and ordered a limonada agua fresca. It was nice, tasting like fresh limes, was less “sweet” than “not sour” and had a quick, salty finish. As a whole it wasn’t mind-blowing, so I felt like I should also sample another flavor. I’ve had horchata and already have an opinion about it, so I tried the piña agua fresca instead. And it took me 3 minutes to find the code for that ñ and get it inserted into the WordPress system here, so let me just use it a few more times. ññññ. Ordering a second, different kind of agua fresca stretched my communication with the waiter to its absolute limit (What, why, you didn’t like the first one? What was wrong with it? No, I did like it but I want to try a different flavor, please charge me for two, agua fresca es mi amiga and so forth). Totally worth it, the piña was killer. Very sweet pineapple, but not all acidic and raw like fresh pineapple usually is, plus with some coconut in there as well. Highlight of my trip, and that includes all the drug addicts and alcoholics I had the pleasure of interfacing with as they hassled me for change on the streets.

Thanks to both df and kmel for recommending Las Manitas. Next time I travel somewhere I’ll ask for recommedations on the site before I go. Stay alert, readers of K4T/citizens of the world! You could be called upon at any minute to assist your favorite bevologists. It could be in a few weeks, or it could be tomorrow. Actually it will be right now: I’m going to Missouri in a few weeks, so if by chance there’s some local soda brew I need to know about, holla at your gents.