Some things have always been stable and unchanging in our topsy-turvy world - especially in the world of energy drinks. Monster has 300 varieties, Rockstar comes in dozens of flavors, but Red Bull has tasted like Red Bull for ever. A new flavor of Red Bull is like a new flavor of ketchup. Sure - sometimes crazy marketing might get a crazy idea for a bottle and the Asian version tastes different, but you could always rely on a Red Bull to taste like it does.
So Red Bull coming out with new flavors is kinda a big deal. Unlike their other failed attempts at branching out into the cola and energy shot market, Red Bull is pretty much the staple of all energy drinks, enouh so that my review of their flavor was an April Fools joke. Not only is the arrival of Cranberry, Lime and Blueberry Red Bulls a big shift, but it is interesting that rather than a huge release they are only selling these through 7-11 convenience store chains - and only for a very limited time. After that, if things go well, they will be launched everywhere later on in march. It seems that Red Bull is one of 7-Eleven’s top-sellers and the largest U.S. retailer of Red Bull. So while Europe has been able to sample these new flavors for the last number of months, you will have to head down to your local 7-11 to give these a try.
And it is worth the trip.
My problem with Red Bull is of their own design - they were the first to come in these tiny 8 ounce cans, and now in the face of larger, more potent drinks these have paled. That being said, they are very pretty. I like the color and logo change a whole lot - looking new and fresh while still keeping their unique design. They now list the caffeine content on the can - which is a definite plus, and have a cool tab that has their bull cut out of it. Of course it is double faced and is complete with easy to read fonts explaining warnings and such - all without the annoying explanatory paragraph about how this drink will make you into an extreme sports god. For being a small can, it does not get any better than this.
Taste - Cranberry:8 Lime:6 Blueberry:10
The hardest part of reviewing these drinks is getting past the point of Red Bulls not tasting at all like a Red Bull. Gone are the medicinal herbal flavors that everyone has copied a million times over. Instead, these drinks have a complete redo on taste - and they did a decent job all around on them too. All the flavors are like nothing you have tried before, all tart and not overly sweet, but enough real fruity flavors to really enjoy them differently than you would enjoy a normal soda.
My least favorite of the flavors is the Lime, which does not taste bad as much as it does not really taste like how I like my lime drinks. It was certainly tart enough, but it just did not have enough flavor to really get my taste buds moving like the other flavors. Also, it just did not hold up as a mixer - when I added it to a shot of vodka it really did not hold up as much as I wanted it to.
The Cranberry was a real treat though. It really tasted like cranberry juice - only not nearly as sweet as Ocean Spray bottles. Instead, this was a real tart sour punch that not only woke me right up but also keeps a bit of the Energy Drink Bite that i have ome to expect from a Red Bull.
The best flavor is the blueberry - and like nothing else I have tried before. I really like blueberry flavored drinks, although most of my experiences are mixes of blueberry and pomegranate or acai or other fruits. Red Bull Blueberry was just a nice strong blueberry flavor that popped in my mouth and tasted like I just tossed a handful of ripe blueberries in my face. Also, I dumped a shot of tequila into a can and it exploded with flavor. If Red Bull keeps these new flavors around the blueberry will be the new standard-bearer for taste.
Whether you like it or not, Red Bull set the bar for what goes into energy drinks - and what you get out of them. If an energy drink wants to seem powerful, they add more than Red Bull, and if a drink wants to seem less jittery, they add less. Red Bull is the de-facto standard for energy drink ingredients and buzz - and they have changed nothing about their contents in any of these formulas. This is the same kick you would find in any Red Bull for the last half decade - with 80mg of caffeine, taurine, glucuronolactone, B-group vitamins, sucrose, and glucose.
You already know what type of buzz you get from a Red Bull - it is the same buzz you find in almost every energy drink everywhere. For myself, I knew that one small can is not enough for me to function for any length of time, and really need two cans to get me moving for the day. Fortunately with all three flavors on sale together at the 7-11, the choice was not how much to drink, but which Red Bull Edition to enjoy first.