Rejoice! It would almost seem as if the Holiday Brew edition of Mountain Dew has finally returned!
Well… uhhhh, not exactly…
For those of you that missed the bus for Pepsi’s final shot at last year’s scattergun attack of bizarre themed mixes of preexisting flavors, the 2017 Holiday Brew was nothing more than a 50/50 combination of “normal” Mountain Dew and Code Red. While this concoction may not have been the most exotic thing ever conceived, I firmly believe that this simple idea created the perfect Dew. By mixing these two common tastes together, the intense (and kinda gross) artificial cherry flavor and the green lemon/antifreeze flavor manages to offset each other’s DEWTENSITY like a double KO in Street Fighter II.
Once you opened a can of Holiday Brew, all you had to do was crush a fresh sprig of mint on the rim and you instantly have a respectable, refreshing cherry julep that doesn’t fit anywhere within the theme of shitty wintery months.
The perfect flavor and taste and overall greatness of 2017 Holiday Brew can never be dethroned by any soda, ever. Last January, when it began disappearing from retailers, I bought as many cases of the stuff as I could. While the dwindling boxes of pre-mixed Holiday Brew were convenient, you can easily make two cases of Holiday Brew at any time of the year with one case of regular Dew and one case of Code Red. You just need to have some big fucking cups lying around. Look for my recipe on Pinterest.
The 2018 version? This is a completely different flavor can’t be replicated quite as easy. This year’s holiday offering advertises itself as a combination of pomegranate and cranberry that promises to be the greatest holiday drink ever concocted since those stuffing and gravy flavored Jones Sodas. (insert your own puke/dumpster emoji here)
Mountain Dew Merry Mash-Up
Calories: 290 Calories per 20 oz. (It basically has the same nutritional value as pancake syrup)
Caffeine Level: 91mg per 20 oz. That’s actually 1 mg higher than normal Mountain Dew!
Merry Mash-up is (currently) only available for purchase in 20 oz. plastic bottles, which feels almost identical to the pathetic and sporadic re-release of Crystal Pepsi. By only slapping a cheap label on single bottles, the bottling and marketing costs are kept down as opposed to the overhead that comes from painted cans and cardboard 12 pack artwork. While I adore the healing properties of Crystal Pepsi with every cell in my body, I can only buy so many of those loose 20 oz. bottles because storing those anywhere is a pain in the ass. It’s okay to just come outright and admit you are chickenshit and have no faith in your product, Pepsi.
The Mash-up label has quite a few more red stripes, and lacks the silvery aluminium sheen from being sold in an actual fucking can. But other than that, they are almost exactly the same.
Merry Mash-up is a medium crimson hue, and could easily be mistaken for Code Red if not for that screaming green, red and white label screaming “WAR ON CHRISTMAS INSIDE!!” on the bottle.
I’m not going to lie, this definitely smells like cough suppressant, which is pretty much on par for most Mountain Dew products.
Merry Mash-up tends to not stand out loudly on it’s own, and the flavor can be easily subjugated and washed out if you are eating anything with it. My first taste and impression was a floral bouquet of very light and delicate hints of raspberry, mint, and that POM stuff. It can best be described as a syrupy, yet uninspired version of Cranberry Sierra Mist, or a Shirley Temple without the all that crazy flair.
As the soda slowly starts to warm up to room temperature, it begins taking on different personalities and notes. The intensity of the underlying mint taste increases, as does subtle hints of car air freshener, random pool cleaning chemicals, and “Poncho Punch” Otter Pops.
It really gets weird in there as time goes by, so Merry Mix-up is best consumed cold, and quickly. This problem could have been solved easily if say, this was sold IN FUCKING CANS.
Is This Useful as a Mixer?:
I can’t think of anything alcoholic that would go well with this unique soda. It might possibly pair decently with a grapefruit vodka, but even that might feel too crowded.
Mountain Dew Merry Mash-Up is a perfectly fine flavor choice and execution for a limited-run holiday soda. It definitely has more of a festive taste going on with it than Holiday Brew ever did, and would (hypothetically) actually taste pretty complimentary when paired with a Thanksgiving dinner. Outside of that setting, however, it is not the most refreshing of drinks and I can’t see a huge demand for it that will cause shortages of any kind. It will be found easily in supermarket endcaps and gas station refrigerated drink sections in the weeks to come. While I find Merry Mash-up to be pleasant in moderation, I certainly won’t be hording a closet full of it anytime soon, and I’m okay with that.
I actually came across 12 packs of Merry Mash Up on 11-16-18! They are real, and I only bought one. It would appear that my Pepsi shade game gets shit going.