I’m not proud of my soda habits, but I sure as hell own up to them. On many days, Diet Coke is my lifeblood, fueling my 9-to-5 grind with bubbly chemicals. I get caffeine and zero calories and maybe cancer (okay, so the verdict is still up in the air on that last one). But given the energy it provides and self-loathing it sustains, it’s totally worth it to me. As a result, it was only natural for me to indulge in Diet Coke’s latest line of fruit-inspired flavors. Here’s the verdict.
4. Zesty Blood Orange
The adjective “zesty” should be replaced with “deathly,” because this is by far and away the worst of the new flavors. It literally tastes like burning. And not the good kind of burning that’s reserved for whisky and unrequited love. After taking a few sips, I was rendered to a state of Ralph Wiggum-like pain from that time he “ate-ed the purple berries.” NEVER AGAIN!
3. Ginger Lime
This flavor is very subtle, but after the mouth scorcher that was Zesty Blood Orange, we’re not complaining. I could barely taste the ginger. If the word wasn’t in the product name I wouldn’t have known it was there at all. Otherwise, it’s essentially classic Diet Coke with a splash of citrus. This is fine.
2. Feisty Cherry
I’m a little biased. My platonic ideal of a soda flavor is cherry, so obviously this is my jam! (Almost literally because you can make cherries into jam!) The only reason this doesn’t take the top spot is the damn modifier in its name. It’s not just superfluous, it’s erroneous. There is literally nothing “feisty” about it. In fact, its smooth fruitiness is why it’s so delicious. Also, calling all conspiracy theorists, it tastes EXACTLY the same as the Diet Cherry Coke you can get in a fancy-schmancy fountain machine. Maybe the word “feisty” is a way of attracting those hip millennial consumers who are prone to getting fired up over important issues like gun control and soda semantics. Way to subtweet the Pepsi Generation!
1. Twisted Mango
This is a trip. One sip and I’m transported to some tropical getaway. (Hey, when you’re broke, an eight-ounce can of carbonation suffices as a vacation.) It’s sweet, very sweet, but in an ineffable way. I lack the vocabulary to describe it and would do a great disservice to mangos—and all fruit, in general—if I attempted to. This is a far greater beverage than diet soda. It is the bubbly syrup of the gods.
Header image courtesy of Coca Cola.