Jolt Red Eye
I appreciate energy drink companies who take a beating and still come up fighting. Jolt cola is one of those drinks – they just don’t know when or how to quit. They were one of the first real energy drinks, becoming beholden to geeks and gamers everywhere back in 1985. Included on every can and bottle was the memorable slogan “All the Sugar and Twice the Caffeine.” Sure, Jolt Cola used to cost a bit more – but it was also more awesome than any other cola out there. They had enough foresight to break from soda cans, and come out with a bunch of candied caffeinated soda flavors, like Red Eye. Over the years, however, in the face of Red Bulls and Monsters, Jolt was left by the roadside and forgotten.
In January 2007, Jolt transformed itself from an energized soft-drink to a full-potency energy drink, but did not have nearly the same edge – and lasted a couple years until they folded after a problem with their fallout with Rexam for their battery-style cans. They are back out in regular energy drink style cans in some value stores – but does not get close to the Jolt of yesteryear.
That is why I got so excited seeing this glass bottle of Jolt Red Eye. I found this one next to the Venom and Monster at an Ace Hardware of all places – acting like it had every right to be there on the shelf! What was this years old bottle of Jolt soda doing here? was this part of a dusty old case this hardware store just had lying around? Did Jolt make a retro comeback? Either way, this bottle might be a sign of better things to come for this battered drink company.
One of the best things about this package was that it used the old logo. Part of the fun of Jolt was that it was a drink reminiscent of those earlier days of spending all night awake doing fun stuff. It could be that this can was actually from the late 90s when they started releasing their drinks in bottles – there was no timestamp on the bottle or any other way to check. There was also no caffeine listing – just this silly drawing of how much caffeine there was as opposed to Mountain Dew – with a floating head atop the bar graph. This lists Wet Planet as the producer along with their website, so you know this is at least a good three years old, I do wish they listed the caffeine amount – but I don’t think even Coca Cola did that back then either.
It is still pretty common knowledge that Jolt always had about 72mg of caffeine for the 12 ounces of soda. This is a big bump from Mountain Dew, but not quite up to Red Bull standards. Unfortunately, this is after they switched from sugar to High Fructose Corn Syrup – so there is not the same simple carb rush you would get from cane sugar. Like Mountain Dew however, this is full of much of the same ingredients, like preservatives, orange juice, food coloring, ester of wood rosin and bromated vegetable oil.
For all the similar ingredients to Mountian Dew, this tastes nothing like a MD creation. This is a maraschino cherry flavored friut punch – and has a delicious sweet candied soda flavor that really fills that soda sweet tooth. Slamming these down with pizzas and computer gaming would still be an awesome treat, even if I am about twenty years older than the last time I had one of those parties. While energy drinks might have taken center stage today, there is something to be said for a drink to taste as good as you remembered it back when.