The ColuMn Face-Off: Cola Wars II

The Warriors
Earlier this year I took an in-depth look at some colas that I enjoyed.  I pitted Coca-Cola Classic against Mexican Coke and Jones Pure Cane Cola.  The clear and undisputed winner was Mexican Coke.

About a month or so ago, Pepsi obviously read my article and decided to get in on the sugar-sweetened cola action by getting their Pepsi Throwback in select stores (none apparently anywhere I have ever or will ever shop).  After weeks of constant searching, I’ve finally tracked down this elusive soda.  It’s time to see how it stacks up against the competition.

This time out I’m sticking regular Pepsi in the cage with Pepsi Throwback, Red Bull Cola, and Mexican Coke.  Can any of these daring upstarts dethrow the champ?  Is sugar-sweetened soda really worth two full articles and hours of taking pictures of cans and bottles?  Let’s find out, shall we?  It’s time for the, you guess it again, tough guy . . .

ColuMn Face-Off
First up, I wanted to feature a Face-Off between regular old Pepsi and Pepsi Throwback.  Let’s kick things off with a look at regular Pepsi.

PepsiCalories:  150
Sodium: 30 mg
Sugars: 41 g
Sweetened with high fructose corn syrup

While I prefer Coke to Pepsi, I don’t absolutely HATE Pepsi.  It’s just not quite punchy enough for me.  This taste-test confirms that, but it is a perfectly fine beverage.  I normally drink diet soda, so pretty much anything tastes like a sweet elixir in comparison.

We’ve all had Pepsi.  We all know what it tastes like.  Given that fact, it’s the perfect comparison point to all the sodas that will follow here.

Pepsi ThrowbackCalories: 150
Sodium: 40 mg
Sugars: 40g
Sweetened with sugar

I’ve been enjoying these for some time now, and they are SWEET.  Literally, sugary sweet.  The taste is crisp and very similar to Mexican Coke, but distinctively Pepsi.  I highly recommend seeking these out.  Up until yesterday I thought they were only availble in 12-pack cans, but I purchased five 20-ounce plastic bottles yesterday, so who knows?  They might even have 2-liter bottles of the stuff.  However you drink it, that there’s a major label sugar-sweetened cola available for a standard soda price is HUGE.

Red Bull Cola

Calories: 130
Sodium: 10 mg
Sugars: 31 g

Red Bull has an uphill climb in the Cola Wars.  First off, you see the RED BULL brand and you immediately think, “hideous piss colored poison with generous doses of taurine.”  That’s unfortunate, because of all of the sugar-sweetened sodas I’ve sampled, Red Bull Cola is the most natural, “healthy”, and unique one on the market.  Just check out the ingredients:  Water, sugar, carbon dioxide, natural flavor (caramel), natural flavors from plant extracts (galangol, vanilla, mustard seed, lime, kola nut, cacao, licorice, cinnamon, lemon, ginger, coca leaf, orange, corn mint, pine, cardamom, mace, clove), lemon juice concentrate, caffeine from coffee beans.  That’s it.

Of course, the ingredient getting all of the attention is the coca leaf, which I guess contains trace amounts of cocaine.  They carry this at the QFC and I haven’t exactly gotten high off the stuff yet.

Red Bull Cola is available in 12 ounce (355 ml) and 8.4 ouce (250 ml) cans.

Mexican CokeCalories: 150
Sodium: 85 mg
Sugars: 39 g

This is one Mexican immigrant that even your staunchest Republican asshole would love.    Paint a dick on it and stick it in an airport bathroom and there’s not a Republican that could resist, I’d wager.

I’ve already gushed about this one plenty.  I will say I’m really surprised by the high sodium content.  No wonder I’m so thirsty after finishing a bottle.

This still tastes the best, though.  Maybe it’s the fact that it comes in a fancy glass bottle.  Or maybe it’s the fact that it costs $2.50 for 12 ounces compared to $5 for twelve 12-ounce cans of Pepsi Throwback.  Whatever the reason, it’s awesome.

In the end, taking everything into account, I’d rate the Mexican Coke as the #1 sugar-sweetened soda.  Pepsi Throwback is really close and gets bonus points for being affordable and more or less readily available.  But Red Bull Cola gets points for it’s unique taste and all-natural ingredients.  So what should somebody do who’s looking for the ultimate sugar-sweetened soda experience?  Do what I did.  Load up the trunk with all three and prepare to become an enormous fat fuck.

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