Society, for whatever reason, continues to push the concept that soda is a shameful beverage to drink in the morning. Iced coffee with two tablespoons of flavored syrup in it? TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE. But somehow a different kind of cold beverage with sugar / artificial sweetener and caffeine is insanity.
Even Red Bull has achieved some semblance of being allowed in the morning. It gives off that vibe of, "I didn't get much sleep last night... if you know what I mean!" Although usually what they mean was that they were playing Dead Space 3 until four in the morning.
But if I come into an office, or anywhere in the morning, even if I go with the tried and true "I'm tired" route of keeping my eyes closed and exhaling a loud "hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" sound, my can of soda still gets me regarded as a weirdo.
Thankfully, Mountain Dew has come to the rescue of those people who like caffeine, but don't like coffee or the taste of those "Sup Broseph?" energy drinks like Monster.
Mountain Dew's latest offering, which almost definitely won't be around in four months, is Kickstart. It is a combination juice / soda beverage. Using juice in that context is giving this a little too much credit. It has 5% juice, which is mostly white grape juice concentrate with some orange juice concentrate in there, as well.
Orange juice concentrate isn't too impressive, as even the normal Mountain Dew has that, but you don't see them bragging about it.
What makes me question why normal soda is strange in the morning but Kickstart is meant to be okay is the flavor assortment. I get Orange Citrus, since that's just going along with the logic of, "Hey, you know orange juice? This is similar!" But Fruit Punch? If fruit punch is okay to drink first thing in the morning, than so is Diet Coke. That's the way it has to work, society.
The can designs are pretty nice, but nothing special. The sideways logo and vague lightning shapes give it a "giant AA battery" look.
Both cans sport the phase, "Energizing (flavor) with just the right amount of KICK". The way "kick" is used, how it looks like an actual logo, makes it sound like "KICK" is a product tie-in. Unfortunately, "KICK" doesn't provide the methed-out energy of old Stacker 2s or anything - it's just caffeine.
Kickstart does, however, contain "glycerol ester of rosin", so I guess you can feel like a baseball player?
I started with Fruit Punch, since I was less interested in it. Fruit Punch is almost always a flavor that is never my most or least favorite - it's just usually pretty good. Fruit Punch Kickstarter is no exception.
You know what fruit punch tastes like? Imagine that, maybe just a tad thicker, and lightly carbonated. Boom - Fruit Punch Kickstarter.
It's not a memorable flavor, but it is certainly enjoyable. Mountain Dew hedged their bets with the sugar. They knew some people absolutely won't ingest high fructose corn syrup, and some people absolutely won't ingest artificial sweeteners. So Mountain Dew said, "Put them both in there!" At least the artificial sweetener is sucralose, a relatively safe one.
For 80 calories, you get 16 ounces of good-tasting fruit punch, and a solid 92 mg of caffeine. It's probably one of the best tasting ways to get that much caffeine at once. I didn't notice any of that bitter flavor that can come with such a large dose of caffeine.
Orange Citrus was the flavor I was looking forward to more, since that flavor is more in my taste buds' wheelhouse.
I was pleased after pouring it, since it smelled like Tang cut with some other citrus flavors. I was even happier with the taste. Its taste is very similar to a thicker, more soda-ish Orangina, which is a great thing.
If you hear the name Orangina, you probably think, "Oh yeah... that stuff." Which is understandable, since it's not the most exciting beverage in the world. But did you know they ran a big ad campaign in the UK, featuring what almost boils down to animal porn? It wasn't as disgusting as that sounds, but it was definitely creepy. Check out the Google Images results for Orangina's sexy animals campaign.
Getting back to a less arousing topic, Orange Citrus Kickstarter is really good. Like Fruit Punch, it hides the caffeine completely, but has what I think is the superior taste.
Like I already mentioned, this seems like a beverage assortment that won't stand the test of time. Especially given Mountain Dew's tendency to just throw stuff out there, then yank it away shortly after. But while they are available, Kickstarter is an great way to ingest sugar and caffeine during the morning. Or any time, I guess. That's up to you. NOT SOCIETY! It will be easy to ignore everyone else's look of scorn and disgust - you get used to it after a while.
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