I won’t make any apologies for my enjoyment of the “Lime-A-Rita” family of beverages from Budweiser. To me, the taste of alcohol is both deeply unpleasant and overpowering: people offering drinks they claim “don’t taste like alcohol at all” are full of crap. I’m sure it’s true to them- their palettes cannot detect the burning poison hiding within. Mine can. And a Straw-Ber-Rita isn’t immune to this problem, but at least it’s tolerable enough to just get it over with and not have a miserable aftertaste.
I am also a big fan of lemonade, so it was natural for me to pick up a tall can of Lemon-Ade-Rita as I sat down to rewatch Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. In retrospect, it’s probably good I picked that particular drink: if I’d picked up a similar sized can of Straw-Ber-Ita, I would have had a killer hangover the next day (the second of my life). Instead, I was only able to drink about sixteen ounces of Lemon-Ade-Rita before I gave up.
You know the lemon-scented cleaning chemical Lysol? Yeah. Except alcohol.
It’s honestly hard to understand how they thought this was ok to sell. I’m not saying because it’s bad- bad food and drinks sell all the damn time. The real problem is that Lemon-Ade-Rita doesn’t read to your brain as a beverage, it reads as sanitizer. Were it not for the assurance of the great people at the Budweiser company that it was safe to drink, I’d think it was a cocktail of booze and Windex. It’s not like this is the first lemon-flavored alcohol I’ve had before, either: limoncello tastes perfectly fine, but I prefer the more pedestrian “frozen lemonade concentrate and vodka slushy.” Lemon-Ade-Rita has the hyphens for a reason; if it was “Lemonade-Rita” they’d be liable for false advertising.
I want to make clear before I proceed that my lemonade passion hasn’t made me a snob about the beverage. Sure, fresh-squeezed lemonade is best, but I’m not too good for fountain machine “1% juice” lemonade. Shit, I’ll even slam a cup of Country Time. Ain’t too proud for that.
The first sip I took of Mountain Dew SPIKED Lemonade made me set it down and walk away.
I honestly thought I’d be ending this double feature with a banger. I love Mountain Dew, and so many of its flavors. Those folks do good work. But SPIKED Lemonade is just… lame. Apparently it is “spiked” with prickly pear cactus juice: the name is a trick, and the beverage is non-alcoholic. The flavor was incredibly confusing to me for a while- it almost tasted like a diet drink? But it had 33 grams of sugar, so that made no sense. A look at the ingredients list baffled me.
It has stevia in it- an artificial sweetener used in some diet sodas. And it has a shitload of sugar. Oh, and agave syrup, and juice concentrate from prickly pears and lemons. I don’t know what this soda is doing. It tastes like a confused mess. It does taste edible, however, so I guess it’s preferable to Lemon-Ade-Rita.
I would love to call it here, and say “that’s all, folks, two bad lemon beverages,” but the problem is, I’m a critic. I couldn’t sit here in front of you folks right now if I didn’t sometimes do things I was going to regret in pursuit of the Truth.
So I poured Lemon-Ade-Rita and Mountain Dew SPIKED Lemonade together.
So here’s the thing: it’s not good, right? Of course it’s not good. It’s bad. But it’s… better than either of them on their own? The lysol taste is masked by the confused lemon/prickly pear flavor from the SPIKED, and the diet soda taste is completely hidden by the addition of alcohol. At least… for a moment. While you’re drinking it, it’s fine. It’s not good? But you could totally put it inside your body if you just kept drinking. But the moment you stop, guys, the moment you stop, it all hits. The diet flavor. The lysol. The confused “not really lemonade” of the SPIKED. It’s bad, I don’t like it, and I am really not happy now.
I can’t recommend either of these drinks. If for some reason you end up with both of them, and have to drink them for some reason (what kind of bizarre hostage scenario is this?), combine them, drink it all in one go, and then try not to throw up. There’s a good fellow.