Let's get this out of the way: I'm not a food and drink columnist. (I leave that to my esteemed colleagues at Eater.) That said, some new Red Bull flavors just showed up on my desk. While I don't make a habit of immediately reviewing everything that shows up on my desk, I decided to make an exception for these slim, colorful cans of carbonated science, perhaps because it's 10 in the morning as I'm writing this and I could use a little pick-me-up. I'd get coffee, but it looks gross outside. Where is spring?
Sorry, I'm getting off track. There are three new flavors here: The Cherry Edition Wild Cherry (Artificially Flavored) Total Zero, The Orange Edition Orange (Artificially Flavored) Total Zero, and The Yellow Edition Tropical (Artificially Flavored). Those are long names, but there are a bunch of different words on the front of each can and I don't know which of them qualify as the canonical name of the beverage.
Also, what does yellow taste like? More on that in a bit.
Note that The Yellow Edition is not Total Zero, meaning it has calories — 160 of them per 12-ounce can, to be exact. The others list zero calories and one gram of carbs. All three have 70 percent of your daily recommended intake of "pantothenic acid," which sounds like it probably builds muscle or perhaps gives you night vision or makes your wounds heal at superhuman speeds.
And now, the verdicts.
The Cherry Edition Wild Cherry (Artificially Flavored) Total Zero. This one just tastes like Red Bull to me. Granted, I'm not a prolific consumer of Red Bull — I have perhaps one or two a year, and only because there aren't any other carbonated beverages available. I guess there's a hint of cherry, but I might not be able to identify it if you blindfolded me. Three out of five glittering cherries.
The Orange Edition Orange (Artificially Flavored) Total Zero. The orange definitely comes through, but it's not sweet — it's actually kind of bitter. It almost has a Squirt quality to it, if you've ever had Squirt. (Do they still make Squirt?) You can still taste the Red Bull in the background, but it's concealed. Two out of five swinging oranges.
The Yellow Edition Tropical (Artificially Flavored). I don't exactly know what "yellow" means in the context of a beverage. I have a vague sense of what "tropical" could mean — pineapple, papaya, mango, stuff like that, I think? — but I was ready for literally anything as I popped the can open. And "literally anything" is what I got: there's the bitterness of The Orange Edition Orange (Artifically Flavored) Total Zero, mixed with plain old Red Bull and a dash of fruit punch. At no point was I emotionally transported to a beach, palm trees swaying in the breeze beside a crystal-clear ocean with waves lapping against my feet, but I guess you can kind of taste papaya if you put your mind to it. Two out of five rockin' pineapples.
I wouldn't drink any of these as a matter of habit. If you're really into Red Bull, I guess that more variety is a good thing, and you get a full range of Red Bull-ish-ness with these latest flavors — the cherry is just barely cherry, while the orange leaves only trace hints of Red Bull. None of them taste like soda, which is a good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.
Or, you could just drink water, tea, and coffee.