… there is no try.
Back when I was living in Atlanta, I tried a variety of Mountain Dew knock-offs. Nothing came close to matching the exquisite flavor of the real deal, but some were much better than others. I was long ago going to write a comparative review of these products, put it up on my blog, and give it the title that I’ve now given this post. But despite keeping the title, this post is not about Mountain Dew knock-offs in the strictest sense, it’s about Diet Mountain Dew—the good, the bad, and the ugly of it.
As many of you know, I recently stopped drinking regular sodas except on very rare occasions. So far, I’ve been quite a fan of Coke Zero, Cherry Coke Zero, and Diet Dr. Pepper. These are the best-tasting diet sodas that I’ve been able to find, and it has been very easy to transition over to drinking them. Being that I’m such a Mountain Dew fanatic, you may wonder why Diet Mountain Dew didn’t immediately join the mix. The answer is quite simple: I went through a brief period in high school when I drank only diet soda, and Diet Mountain Dew just wasn’t worth drinking. Diet Mountain Dew, as I remembered it, lost all of the magic of the real thing. There was no semblance of regular Mountain Dew whatsoever. In comparison, Diet Mountain Dew tasted like grapefruit, something like Fresca. Knowing this, I didn’t even bother trying Diet Mountain Dew for the first several weeks of my more recent change in drinking habits.
Very recently, Melanie and I stopped at Circle K and got some drinks. I wanted something brighter-flavored than cola or Diet Dr. Pepper. I wanted something citrusy. I decided to go crazy and try Diet Mountain Dew. I figured that because I’ve been drinking diet sodas for a while now, Diet Mountain Dew might not taste so bad. And was I right? Yes and no. Diet Mountain Dew still pales in comparison to regular Mountain Dew. It still tastes more like grapefruit than does its high fructose counterpart. And so, there is not enough family resemblance between them to completely quell my longings for the magical beverage that I fell in love with as a baby, when Mom and Dad used to put the stuff in my baby bottle. (Just kidding—although they may have. I know my younger sister was treated to soda even before she could speak.) But I thoroughly enjoyed the drink nonetheless. And I’ve learned something I never had the chance to realize back in high school. If you’re drinking Diet Mountain Dew while eating, the beverage is even tastier. Quite good, even. At least now that I’ve reached the point where the aftertaste of aspartame is no longer noticeable to me.
I’ve also learned something else about Mountain Dew through all of this. It is not merely the taste of Mountain Dew that makes it such a wonderful delight. There is a tactile quality to it, as well. “In what sense does it have a different tactile quality than any other soda?” I can hear you all asking. Oh, but it does. There is something very smooth and silky about Mountain Dew. I figure it’s the brominated vegetable oil. But here’s the good news: Diet Mountain Dew also has brominated vegetable oil in it. And so, the beverage has the same silken texture that regular Mountain Dew has. And that’s a really nice thing. (As for the bad side of brominated vegetable oil, we’ll just ignore that for now.)