Energizing Energy Drinks: Redemption (Part 5)
Here at GatorAIDS we like to recycle. When I can’t think of something to do sometimes I like to dust off old things I’ve written in years gone by and tidy them up for today’s audience. People do that with their “greatest hits” all the time; in fact when GatorAIDS dies and I move on to writing for some other website with a stupid name I’ll surely be recycling everything from this site’s “Greatest Hits” category. Back in 2007 I wrote a three-part series of articles called “Energizing Energy Drinks” for RFSHQ.com; the response was so positive I revisited the idea in 2008 with a fourth installment. Now, in 2012, I’ve decided to return to an old friend…
When I wrote these articles the first time around I graded the drinks on the following criteria: Appearance, Ingredients, Smell, Taste, and Energy Received. I don’t really know why I stuck “Smell” in there, I think it was just to pad word count. Whatever the reason, these sorely need to be updated. Today I will be sampling five energy drinks and judging them on my new Energy Drink Rubric 2.0: Presentation, Buzzwords, Taste, Energy Received, and a fifth bonus category tailored to each individual drink.
Presentation: 1/10. I don’t know what the fuck a “Stacker2” is or whatever happened to Stacker1 assuming it existed in the first place. I figured I could learn more about the company by visiting their website but instead I was blasted by a nightmare of web design that led me in circles and offered nothing except boilerplate copy and the knowledge that this drink is produced by a company called “NVE Pharmaceuticals”. Yummy.
Also the color scheme of the can is visually revolting and offensive and always has been; back when I drank a Stacker2 for RFSHQ the can looked like trash with a bee on it.
Buzzwords: 1/10. Gyrating Grape. I realize they’re going for alliterations in their drink titles but “gyrating” isn’t really ever a good word. Like “moist”; it just sounds disgusting. Whatever mental image you have of a “gyrating grape” keep it to yourself. This shit’s like 5 Gum, everyone experiences it differently but no one is happy with it.
Taste: 4/10. I’m guessing you wouldn’t be surprised to find out that “gyrating grape” is just a bland imitation grape flavor. It’s not a natural “made with real fruit juice” grape, it ‘s just a gross imitation candy grape that tastes like melted Airheads and despair. If “depression” was a flavor it would taste exactly like this.
Energy Received: 6/10. It drove me to start this article series again.
Likelihood This Drink is Bad For You: 10/10. Stacker2 is just one thing in NVE Pharmaceuticals’ repertoire of things. The rest of their portfolio consists of those shady energy pills they sell at gas stations with pictures of bees and other weird shit on them.
Presentation: 1/10. Looks like there’s at least one person out there who’s clicked a Smiley Central banner ad.
Buzzwords: 10/10. There are only two real buzzwords on Loco Tonic’s bottle: “liquid dietary supplement” and “L-carnitine”. I’m pointing them out solely because L-carnitine is a supplement popular among men who want to “perform better” in the bedroom and equip their gun with a “larger magazine”– you know what, fuck it. JIZZ EVERYWHERE. No more euphemisms, that’s why people take L-carnitine. Copious amounts of man milk combined with the unobtrusive “liquid dietary supplement” just sounds like an inappropriate raunchy joke waiting to happen.
And I’m about to put it in my mouth.
Taste: 7/10. Loco Tonic tastes not unlike a stick of Juicy Fruit gum. There are obvious sour pangs of whatever additives have been dumped into it (that’s the L-carnitine I taste!) but out of all of the “5 Hour Energy”-esque shots that come in these tiny bottles this is actually one of the least offensive. 5 Hour Energy tastes like an old sock that someone tried brewing bong water with; Loco Tonic, stupid emoticon aside, isn’t that bad. One shot plus a stick of real Juicy Fruit gum to avoid the inevitable bad aftertaste is enough. Normally I write these articles to make fun of these drinks but there’s not a whole lot I can say to ridicule something that isn’t that bad so I’ll just reiterate JIZZ EVERYWHERE.
Energy Received: 10/10. Let me quote the Bible to explain this drink: “She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey’s and emissions like those of a horse.” (Ezekiel 23:20)
How Much it Looks Like Dirty Urine: 11/10. One of the reasons why these drinks come packaged in opaque bottles is because the liquid inside is generally colored in very unappealing ways (e.g. the liquid inside a can of regular Monster energy is pink). Loco Tonic is no different. The amount of resemblance between this drink and a urine sample from someone who hasn’t drank water in a month is staggering. Congratulations, Go Loco, your drink is one elaborate dick joke.
Presentation: 2/10. Whoever designed the aluminum can for this drink seems to have bought one pack of royalty-free “tribal” themed flames and just ran with it indefinitely. The can is covered in what amounts to orange and red douchebag tattoos repeated to infinity (six times). I applaud them for getting their money’s worth out of something that could not have cost more than a buck from iStockphoto.
Buzzwords: 8/10. Normally you’d think “HIGH OCTANE ENERGY DRINK” would be the appropriate buzzword to point out on the can but I’m not going that route today; they don’t repeat it enough times on the can for me to warrant doing anything more than laughing at them for using the most obvious subtitle imaginable for a drink called “FUEL”. I’m going to give props to the term “fuel” itself because it appears in every single slice of text on the can. FUEL YOUR WORKOUT. FUEL YOUR METABOLISM. FUELED WITH B VITAMINS. FUELED WITH FUEL.
Maybe I lied about the last one.
My favorite part of the can is the text that reads “LONG LASTING FUEL FOR YOUR BODY AND MIND*”. The asterisk is what sells it for me because it could lead to anything such as “…because we’re about to blow it to fucking kingdom come” or “…to unlock the mysteries of the universe” or even “…for non-stop all night meth cooking action!” As it turns out the asterisk leads to some microscopic disclaimer that the FDA won’t touch energy drinks with a 10-foot pole and that Fuel isn’t meant to treat or cure any diseases other than being lazy as shit, apparently.
Taste: 10/10. I’ve tasted well over 20 energy drinks in the years that I’ve been subjecting myself to this crap in the name of comedy and virtually all of them tasted like watered down piss or actually piss itself in full unrefined flavor. As stupid as the packaging of the drink is with its tribal flames and implications of its mind-expanding properties what sits inside the can is a relatively inoffensive drink. I can’t make fun of it; it tastes like citrus soda. So often these articles about these drinks end up being funny because I get to compare their tastes to that of horse urine and radioactive waste but here’s something I cannot tear into in good faith. Fuel is The One.
Energy Received: 2/10. LEAVE LOVE BLEEDING IN MY HANDS…
90’s Grunge Band Namesake Points: 10/10. …IN MY HANDS AGAIN.
Presentation: 1/10. Slap Frozen is an energy drink that comes in a plastic juice pouch and must be thrown in the freezer before it reaches its intended state for consumption. In a market where everyone’s focusing on recyclable cans and plastic bottles Slap is here to say “fuck the environment and PS this packaging will become cold as shit and impossible to hold when frozen”. The pouch says to freeze and squeeze and let it sit three minutes before consuming (so it has time to turn into a slushy mixture) but that wasn’t long enough. In fact I typed up almost all of the entry text for Slap Frozen for this article before the energy slush was anywhere near ready to be opened.
It’s worth noting that the packaging Slap Frozen comes in is total shit. I really didn’t want to buy it in green apple flavor because I saw Walmart had a strawberry melon blend available and that isn’t a common flavor however when I reached for that one I saw that every single strawberry pouch had burst and ruined the ones around it. Most of the pouches felt like the aftermath of a Japanese bukkake session and were “unpleasant” to handle and touch to put it nicely. To put it rudely, well, read the section on “taste”.
Buzzwords: 3/10. Slap is pretty cheap with their text, I guess they didn’t have enough in their budget to warrant more than about a dozen or so words on their glorified Caprisun pouch after paying for the patent rights used by portable applesauce. The only dialogue on the packaging that could be considered a “buzzword” is Slap’s claim that it contains “25% more energy than the leading brands” which leads me to believe that the company producing Slap Frozen used to make batteries.
Taste: -Infinity/10. Apple Slap, which I am herein referring to as “slapple”, is probably one of the most offensive things I have ever put into my mouth. The drink itself is a disgustingly sticky mixture of ice and what I am assuming is a cocktail of energy supplements that do not freeze. It feels like a half-frozen loogie and tastes like cough syrup although I don’t believe this is a drink you can trip on so instead it just tastes like sugary apple-flavored vomit. Congratulations, Slap company, you’ve managed to make something that offends every human sensory organ. I bet if you showed this drink to the kid from The Sixth Sense he’d fall comatose.
Energy Received: 1/10. Whatever energy I gained from this drink was previously burned off in the body heat required to melt the goddamned thing.
Likelihood of This Drink Having a Bonus Category: 0/10. Fuck you, Slap Frozen.
Presentation: 4/10. If you took the overall design of Rockstar energy, solid colors and stars, and tried to “black it up” this is probably what it would look like. Also, the name this company settled on is sure to turn heads for obvious racial reasons.
Buzzwords: 10/10. This drink probably has the best retarded slang out of anything I’ve ever seen or ever will see. Aside from being titled fucking CRUNK this drink proudly proclaims “with Ashwaganda” right on the can. I have no idea what the fuck “Ashwaganda” is but if you randomly threw that word at me I’d probably tell you it sounds like a black name and yet here it is on a can of grape drink proving once and for all that yes, it probably is a black name. Apparently “Ashwaganda” is some kind of root extract but it doesn’t help that it sounds like an African country. Removed from the context of the can the word makes the most sense in the following sentence: “For just 10 cents a day you can provide food, clothing, and education to a child in Ashwaganda.”
Crunk also features an ingredient called “Horny Goat Weed”. No, I’m fucking serious. I’d never heard of this before and honestly I can’t seem to figure out what the hell it is because every time I punch “horny goat weed” into Bing the results are an even split between bestiality porn and people lobbying to legalize marijuana. I’m sure my ISP is going to love that.
Taste: 4/10. It tastes not unlike that fancy “sparkling grape juice” you can buy in a nice glass bottle at an inflated price at Walmart. The only pang of uneven flavor comes from what I imagine is the açaí berry flavor. Açaí showed up as “superfruit” status a few years ago and now people just dump that shit into everything because it has antioxidants or whatever healthy green organic buzzword is hip to use right now (flavonoids). It tastes like an old strawberry and in five years’ time I’m sure we’ll have found some other foreign obscure piece of fruit to fawn over.
Energy Received: 3/10. I went and recorded a rap album.
Implied Racism: 0/10. A grape flavored energy drink named “CRUNK”. How is this not racist? Because it just isn’t. If you’re laughing at the design and advertising strategy of this drink it’s because your skin color is probably white. Crunk is funny to me because I’m not black nor am I a part of “urban culture”. Phrases like “get crunk” and ingredients that rhyme with “Lafonda” don’t get me nodding my head saying “aww yeah imma buy dis shit”. Crunk is funny to me because somewhere out there is a douchebag tweeting a picture of himself holding a can of this with #crunk and #swag at the end of it and he’s not doing it ironically.
If you subscribe to the demographic who listen to hip hop and modify their cars to jump into outer space then when someone says “hey go to the store and get me a can of Crunk” you’re probably not going to reply to that with assholish laughter because that sentence usually ends with a bullet hole.