By Jonathan McNamara
I know, I know. Rest assured that we'll be diving back into your regularly scheduled dose of legitimate brew review next week (in fact, I'm currently securing some samples at the recommendation of Al the Pal) but this time around I'd like to focus on something that caught my attention just last night: Red Bull Cola. I know it's not beer, but consider that your favorite keg-tapping, watering holes are about one marketing campaign away from being deluged in the stuff. If we are to beat the enemy we had better know what we're up against, yeah?
First some background: I am a caffeine addict. Which is why when I was approached by a duo of Red Bull girls with their gleaming smiles and seemingly innocent requests, I accepted this new product with open arms despite the immeasurable decibels of my internal warning bells; clanging as though the dark forces of Hell were approaching my vicinity.
Tastes: It's a hot summer day and you find yourself near a 7-11. "Slurpee!" you think and head off to purchase a frozen confection. Yet fate has something terrible in store for you: the cola flavor Slurpee is not quite frozen. Choosing not to go for the "Wild Cherry" you opt to drink the not-quite-frozen cola flavor instead. Imagine that flavor in an overly-designed 8.4 oz. can and you now know precisely how Red Bull Cola tastes; exactly like unfrozen cola Slurpee syrup.
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I had mine: a bit reluctantly despite my caffeine addiction at the Phoenix Fashion Week opening last night at Royal Palm Resort.
Goes well with: not a whole lot. I mean, to go well with something you probably need to be a good product to begin with. Peanut butter tastes great on its own. Jelly tastes great on its own. Put them together and you've got a culinary match that goes beyond brown bags and school cafeterias.
It seems to me that pre-packaging colas with alcohol seems to be all the rage these days. Even Captain Morgan is in on that rap, with his line of rum and cola (I guess he forgot that the actual drink is "rum and coke" and that people only use the word "cola" in commercials) canned drinks. Perhaps Red Bull Cola is Red Bull's attempt to cut out the middle man and hope people will forsake Coke for a cola made by the same company that spices up their Vodka while they stumble around Mill on Friday nights.
Verdict: The one positive thing I can say about Red Bull Cola is that it is made of natural ingredients. It's true. I can pronounce every one of the ingredients listed on the back of the can. Even Red Bull Cola's caffeine comes from coffee beans. If all natural ingredients is the type of thing you want in a cola (and you wear hemp) this might be the cola for you. As for me, if I'm going to drink something bad for me, I want as many thirty-syllable ingredients as possible in my cola concoction. Sure, it might shorten my life span, but at least it will taste good.