Serious Eats: Drinks

Mountain Dew 'Dark Knight' Releases: 'Dark Berry' and Cold-Activated Cans

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Two things I've never understood: "cold-activated" cans and product releases pegged to movies. It seems to me that God granted us a pretty sensitive instrument to determine whether a Coors Light is down to temperature—you know, your hand—and if you're too far gone to tell when a beer's cold by touch, then a) you probably can't see the blue mountains, either b) you probably don't need another beer c) all of the above.

And has the premiere of a new action movie ever made you think "Wow, I really wish there were a new flavor of Mountain Dew to go along with this? Gosh, the usual neon lemon-lime doesn't cut it anymore." Raise your hands... anyone? Exactly.

That said, I'm pretty okay with the Dew's new products pegged to "The Dark Knight Rises." Here's why.

The 'Dark Berry' looks like a creepy teeth-staining dark purple, but it pours an appropriate-to-Dew not-found-in-nature royal blue. Like so many sodas, the flavor is one you associate with a color rather than a fruit; this could be any combination of raspberry or blueberry or strawberry, tasting like none of those in particular, and more like blue Airheads or Blue Raspberry Slush Puppies than any of the above. That is to say, it just tastes blue. (Of course, if you dyed it red and called it Dark Cherry, I'd probably say it tasted like red. But that's a greater degree of experimentation than we're tackling today.)

And blue works well with Mountain Dew. The standard soda has that super-aggressive, kinda tastes like citrus floor cleaner, love-it-or-hate-it "lemon-lime" thing going on (I went through a serious Diet Mountain Dew phase back in the day, so honestly, I kinda love it). But that means there's a lot of room to play with sweeter, fruitier flavors around the edges, making the soda seem a little more balanced. This is a Mountain Dew that Dew skeptics could drink; and really, there aren't that many blue-flavored sodas out there, are there?

The "Dew Thermo Can" holds standard Dew inside, but that metallic bat-shape on the front? It turns green when the can is chilled enough. Cute? Sure. Gimmick? Clearly. But I have to admit that I like the hefty can as a vehicle for soda-drinking. I'm at a point (like any good American) where I find 12-ounce cans disappear too quickly, but drinking out of a can just feels better than the bottle: the chill against your hand, perhaps; the way whatever you're drinking (and whatever its strange color) is obscured. And it ends up feeling like a beer can, which with the cold-activated mountains bat and all, is presumably what they're going for.

Would I go out of my way for either? Nope, but a Blue Dew is a pretty okay thing. And if a can to cover up that crazy Mountain Dew green is an okay thing, too.

About the author: Carey Jones is the Editor of Serious Eats New York and co-editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. Follow her on Twitter (@careyjones).

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