For PepsiCo, 2019 is shaping up to be a banner year for new flavors. While there’s that pesky Mtn Dew we keep hearing about, the flagship cola has a few tricks up its sleeve as well. Releasing a line of “new” flavors to the American markets, the boys at the TehBen lab were excited to have a taste while we anxiously squirmed in our seats waiting for Liberty Brew to finally emerge from the shadows. For this go round, we employed some irl friends during our weekly Pokemon card game (nerds) to consult as many taste buds as possible. Does Pepsi really need these splashes added to their number one non-diet formula? There’s only one way to find out. Let’s crack open a few cold ones with the boys and have a common man’s wine tasting night.
Starting with the least ambitious (and least likely to be disgusting) “Lime” flavor, we all had a fairly good idea as to what this would taste like. I personally add lime to a lot of colas, and the 1% juice that’s becoming a fucking theme in sodas this year made for a pleasant taste. It’s no great accomplishment, but on the bright side they didn’t screw it up at least. Anyone that’s used a Coke Freestyle machine knows what this will taste like, and there’s not one thing wrong with that. Chill it down or mix it with some white rum, sometimes the safest bet can be the most satisfying. With the comfortable calculated risks aside, it was time to get a little more bold.
Pepsi Mango sounded exotic and crazy to me at first, however after thinking about it for a second I remembered that this isn’t even entirely a new idea. Mango Paradise was part of that weird “next” flavor campaign from a few years ago. I never tried it, but it’s safe to say this won’t be too far off from that old attempt. First things first, the smell of this soda is fantastic. Of the six people I’ve seen sample this drink, every single one talks about the pleasant smell. The taste? Well that might be where we leave the pleasantries behind. With mango being an unnatural additive, the “splash” technique leaves the cola with a weird taste that can be best described as somewhere between “carnival snow-cone” and “mouthfull of Fun Mallows and battery acid”. This would probably work better as a Diet Pepsi, but alas we’re moving on to bluer pastures.
The succinctly named “Berry” claims to be flavored with a splash of blueberry juice, however there appears to also be a raspberry pictured on the can as well. Berry too passes the smell test with flying colors, as the higher carbonation levels of this splash series make for a great first impression. The taste was actually good, truth be told. Good, but familiar. As the cans were getting passed around everyone seemed to enjoy it, myself included. The last to taste this one was a guy named Diego, the Best Man from my wedding. Diego is a man of many things, one of them being a blunt attitude to food and drink opinions. He took one sip and immediately drew a conclusion: “This is Pepsi Blue.”
Son of a….
Pepsi Blue came and went during the early part of the 21st century, lasting about two years in America. This was essentially the last time we as a society regularly fucked with our bottled colas. I remember people getting “taste confusion” as the blue color and cola taste did strange things to people’s brains…not unlike Editor Ben’s personal favorite, Crystal Pepsi. We have no evidence to this effect other than here-say and conjecture, but we at TehBen labs agree that Pepsi Berry has to be the same formula as Pepsi Blue save for the color change. Fucking hell, could they have thought of ONE new idea for this campaign? Given the general idea that every one of these flavors are retreads, we eventually made peace with it as our evening continued. However if we were going to make history, we’re going to have to do the job Pepsi couldn’t: We’d have to get creative…
This accidental cocktail was discovered after one of our tasters kept saying each of the sampled sodas tasted like vanilla. Rather than ridicule the young man we (for once) decided to make good on this by instead steering into it. By a mere coincidence we pulled out a bottle of vanilla bourbon to see what it would do. We had a small cup of berry and lime mixed 50-50 when we added a clean ounce of the whiskey. The result was something akin to the feeling when the Margarita was accidentally invented. The mixture was smooth, and somehow the berry and lime gently melted away to make the vanilla from the whiskey more crisp. A cocktail that is 2/3rds heavy sugar soda will never see the light of day in the mainstream world, but maybe you’ll find yourself with three cans, a bottle, some friends and a whole lot of time like we did.
What mixed drinks can YOU make with the new Pepsi Splash Sodas? Shoot us an email or let us know on Twitter so we can prepare for our Editor’s next house party.