Red, White and Bleagh: The Captain America Cherry Coolata.
Now and then, despite my mad love for all things flavorful and carbonated, I’ll drop all rules and guidelines and expand my liquid definitions (“liquifitions,” for short). Thus, beverages that clearly aren’t soft drinks slip into the ranks of those that are—Snapple’s soda variations, for instance, or frozen drinks like Slurpees. While I wouldn’t necessarily refer to a Slurpee as soda, it’s a grey enough area that mentioning those icy cups of wet heaven isn’t a stretch for this blog (though using “grey area” when discussing Slurpees tends to offer up visions of ashy, textureless flavors).
In addition to the above qualifier, let me unequivocally state the following: sometimes— but not often—soda sucks. I don’t mean in the “soda makes you fat/will kill you/rots your teeth” way (which it does/it might/you bet) but in the sense that, yeah chief, this drink you’re giving me is flat-out AWFUL. Like I said, the Bad is pretty rare—I tend to enjoy most flavors and variations. The few, the proud, the terrible on my Least Five are as follows:
1) Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda (I don’t eat celery when it ISN’T liquified)
2) Faygo Chocolate Crème Soda (the clear loser in the Faygo portfolio, now discontinued)
3) Pepsi Jazz (coffee flavored soda? No thanks!)
4) Jones Soda Co. Thanksgiving Dinner Soda (pretty self-explanatory)
5) New Coke (though, truth be told, I’m kind of curious to try it again now that I’m an adult)
Both of the above paragraphs lead me to this weekend’s ill-fated frozen folly. Blocks from SodaBlog HQ, conveniently offering a pretty quick drive-thru window, rests a join Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins (man, I hope there aren’t any nutritionists lurking about this blog—they’d no doubt be tossing up their arms in disgust at this point, washing their hands of me and mine). While Mrs. SodaBlog enjoys the occasional DD coffee, I never touch the stuff and when out and about on a weekend with the kids, the two of us sometimes swing through for an on-the-go drink or breakfast. Sitting on line the other day, waiting to shout orders into the OrderBot 6000, my eye wandered to the colorfully perspiring photos of Dunkin’ Donut’s Slurpee knockoff: the Coolata. Adjacent to their Coffee Coolata (an iced coffee stand-in, I’d imagine?) DD offers the following standards: Blue Raspberry, Tropicana, Vanilla Bean, Strawberry and now, Mountain Dew. Figuring “well, Neil likes Mountain Dew. Neil likes Slurpees and/or Slurpee-like drinks” Mrs. SodaBlog and I quickly decided I’d give their wares a try.
My first sip of the Mountain Dew Coolata was…well, it was cold but not exactly Mountain Dew. The normally distinctive Dew taste got lost in an unnecessary amount of water and ice resulting in a very watered-down, somewhat flat bottle of Mountain Dew left in the freezer for five hours. Clearly, though, my opinion had merit. Slightly disappointed, I dutifully finished the cup and vowed to try another flavor at some point in the future.
Fast-forward to yesterday, driving home from dropping Mrs. SodaBlog off at work and jonesing for a drink. Earlier in the week I’d walked past a DD on my way to the subway and noticed their timely partnership with Marvel Studios: for a limited time, Dunkin’ Donuts offers a cherry Captain America Coolata, tying in to the July release of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, a film I’m very much looking forward to.
Sitting on line yesterday, waiting to shout an order into the OrderBot 6000, my eye wandered to the colorfully perspiring photos once more and threw my mighty shield to the wind. I had vowed to try another Coolata and, having written a Marvel comic (and hoping to write more), chose to be a Company Man and give ol’ Cap a try. The cup—clear, plastic and emblazoned with the film logo and a stylized shield—held a thick, slightly watery yet near-bloody red beverage with a straw piercing the top. Pulling free of the drive-thru, I took a sip…and instantly froze my brain.
“Brain Freeze”—or, as known by its medical term Spheno Palatine Gangleoneuralgia—is the result of the constriction of blood vessels in the stomach when put in contact with cold fluids. The pain felt in the head does not actually occur in the head at all but diverts from the stomach to a nerve in the head which receives this particular pain. This process is similar to pain in your left arm while having a heart attack.
Which I was also having, by the way, because the amount of sugar dumped into my Coolata was like a shot of adrenaline to my entire system.
Every sticky sweet, freezing cold, distinctively RED sip of the Captain America Coolata pierced both heart and skull, immobilizing me for a brief moment as I prepared to bolster my guts and take another. The cherry taste of the drink overpowered any other along my palate and I nearly felt to urge to heave the contents of my mouth—much like Steve Rogers’ famed shield—all along the length of the SodaBlog Family minivan. “Terrible” would be spinning it politely. “Undrinkable” hit the target more accurately, for after the fourth attempt and a rush of pounding drums to my cranium married with tense, shaking utensils I once called “fingers” forced the expulsion of the remainder of the cup into the nearest trash receptacle.
To wit, I tossed that mother out.
Recovering the use of both my extremities and circulatory functions, covering the tangy, syrupy taste in my mouth with a slug of Coca-Cola, I silently vowed from hence forward to steer clear of frozen drinks that don’t include the trusted numbers seven or eleven. Fool me once, Dunkin’ Donuts, shame on me. Fool me twice and I’m buying Krispy Kreme donuts with a Cherry Coke Slurpee.
And as for Captain America? He’ll live to fight another day—both on the printed page and vivid celluloid. Besides; any Cap fan knows red’s the color of the enemy…and despite the machinations of licensing executives across the land, when push comes to shove and soft drinks are a-plenty, Steve Rogers puts his trust in a simple glass of clear, cold milk.