Mountain Dew Kickstart
cost: $1.99 per can
where: select drugstores and convenience stores
I will now rate the two flavors of Mountain Dew’s new sort-of-juice-sort-of-soda-totes-extreme-bro breakfast energy drink Kickstart on a scale from butt to not butt.
Kickstart Orange Citrus: not totes butt. The flavor is actually pretty mild, more tangerine than orange, and without the overpoweringly fake-citrus Mountain Dew taste. It’s almost entirely without the sickly-sweet aroma and battery-acid taste of an energy drink, which is good, but has the stale, syrupy mouthfeel of a diet soda, which is bad.
Kickstart Fruit Punch: pretty butt. It tastes almost exactly like Mountain Dew Code Red, which is spiked-punch frat party sweet. It finishes with the same viscous diet soda mouthfeel, and smells like Hawaiian Punch.
Survey says: At 92 milligrams of caffeine in a 16-ounce tallboy, Kickstart has 20 more milligrams of caffeine than a regular Mountain Dew, but more than 200 fewer milligrams than your average 16-ounce cup of Starbucks coffee. At 5 percent juice, Kickstart has 5 percent more juice than expected. (It has a full RDA of vitamin C, and is also chock full of niacin, B6 and whatever pantothenic acid is.) Both flavors were mildly carbonated enough to be easily drinkable or chuggable, and are almost entirely water and corn syrup and sugar and something called acetate isobutyrate — meaning both led to sugary Red Bull-ish jitters pretty quickly. While neither are outright disgusting, neither will be replacing any of my morning cups of black coffee.
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