Welcome to this week’s Thumbs up/Thumbs Down, which from henceforth will be known as Ta-da. The actual abbreviation would be TUTD, but when you pronounce this it sounds like Ta-da. Anyway . . .
Whereas last week I compared two unlike items (a chicken sandwich and rice pudding), this week I’ll make a more exact comparison. I do this because it seems more fair, and because it just happened to work out this week.
Thumbs Down: Mr. Pibb Xtra.
In all likelihood, I’ve had this drink before. When I order Dr. Pepper at restaurants (like all really classy people do) they will sometimes say they only have Mr. Pibb and I accent the substitute. I never inquire as to whether they are serving me the Xtra variety or the normal, but I’ve probably had both. But this was my first instance of purchasing this soda with the express purpose of analyzing it. The results are negative.
It’s not that it’s bad per se, but it simply doesn’t compare to Dr. Pepper. The initial flavor isn’t as strong and the residual sweetness is irritating. It lacks some of the fruity quality of the good doctor and instead has a bit of a tang that I find moderately unpleasant. In addition to these flaws they insist on calling it Xtra, and I hate words that try to sound cool by starting with X. It’s dumb, and this soda is dumb by association. Stick with DP, no question. I did find a new concoction this week by mixing 3 parts DP with 2 parts Diet DP. It dilutes the slightly syrupy nature of straight DP while pushing the flavor of DDP ever so slightly. In case you’re wondering I don’t often attempt to create drinks at home, I was simply consolidating bottles.
Thumbs Up: Vault Zero
Vault markets itself as a soda energy drink hybrid. Zero is the diet variety. Now I fail to understand how an energy drink with zero calories works, but I wasn’t drinking it for the buzz since neither sugar nor caffeine have that effect on me. I bought it because it was 50 cents and I’m a sucker for anything new. But I was pleasantly surprised.
I don’t really like Sprite or 7-Up. I’ll drink them when parched, but almost never purchase them. If I do it’s the Cherry variety. I prefer Vault Zero to either of these products. It’s a hard thing to distinguish between all these “uncolas,” so the only assessment I can give is that I like Vault better. Try it for yourself and see if you agree. It’s my new favorite clear soda. After Fresca. And Crystal Pepsi. And Ginger Ale. Yes, I drink way too much soda, you don’t need to tell me.
Song of the Moment: “Hips Don’t Lie” Shakira and Wyclef (sorry to abandon my Alternative standards, but it’s stuck in my head.)