I have no idea why, but back in March I got it into my head that I absolutely needed to get some Tang. I hadn’t thought about Tang in decades. I vaguely recall drinking Tang as a kid, but it wasn’t a staple around our house. We were way more apt to mix up a pitcher of Kool-Aid than Tang. But for a while, back in the 70s, Tang was all over the place. This was mostly due to the fact that Astronauts apparently enjoyed a refreshing drink of Tang while on missions to the moon or whatever.
From my research (Tang’s Wikipedia page), I learned that up until very recently, Tang was sweetened with actual sugar. This all changed a few years ago when they switched over to artificial sweeteners, because nothing fights obesity like cancer.
At any rate, this week I FINALLY found a big ol’ container of Tang and promptly got to work mixing up two quarts. I was sort of expecting something along the lines of the old McDonald’s non-carbonated orange drink, and while it is somewhat similar, this is more citrus-y.
First off, I was amazed by just how much powered drink mix you need to make two quarts of Tang. I’m used to mixing a moderate amount of Kool-Aid granules into a pitcher, but I guess when you add the sugar, the amounts are roughly the same.
My biggest shock came after the water was added and the concoction was stirred up. Tang is SUPER orange-colored. This stuff looks like really orange orange juice. These pictures really don’t do it justice. The color of Tang redefines the word “orange”. When reports of my findings reached the Crayola company, the orange crayon committed sepaku because of the level of dishonor it felt in representing its color. Burnt Sienna was nonplussed.
But now it was time for the real test. The taste. I took a big swig and, um, it was super sweet. Almost like syrup. I figured I’d measured wrong or something, so I cut it with some cold water and that seemed to do the trick. Sometimes tasting something I haven’t had in a long time will bring back memories, but not this time. If my spotty memory is any indication, I’ve never had Tang before, despite my insistence that I have.
It’s not terrible. It’s definitely better than a lot of the beverages we’ve reviewed on ColuMn™. I’ll easily be able to finish off this pitcher. Will Tang become my go-to non-soda/non-alcohol drink? No. I probably won’t buy it again, but that’s not a slam against Tang. Tang seems to be for people who want orange juice, but don’t necessarily want the “juice” part. I like orange juice, so there’s no need for me to buy Tang. But rest assured, if I ever go into space, I’m definitely bringing Tang with me.
If Wikipedia is to be believed, Tang comes in a whopping 38 flavors, which I have reason to doubt since it took me half a year to find original orange Tang in any grocery store I bothered to check.
ColuMn™ Fun Fact: Tang was invented in 1957 by William A Mitchell, the same genius that invented Pop Rocks. Seriously. How cool is that? This one unsung hero gave us Tang and Pop Rocks. The only way he gets any cooler is if he also invented flying cars or Frankenberry.