Hawaiian Punch vs Tiki Punch


punch cans

It seems funny that Hawaiian Punch is still around, like it should have died out when Capri Sun came onto the juice drink scene but I guess it’s one of those things that will never die.
Like with 90% of the products featured on this blog, this was a forbidden item in my childhood – Juicy Juice only.  I remember one time I was maybe 9 years old,  said something wise to my dad and held his hand up in a wimpy fist and said jokingly said “How would you like a Hawaiian Punch?” and in my childhood naivete I got all excited thinking that maybe he broke down and bought some as a surprise.   I said “Oh my gosh YEAH!  You got some!?” and he laughed and said “no” my face fell expressionless and I thought “I hate you”.  To me, that was nothing to joke about.  It seemed like everyone else got have Hawaiian Punch except us and to make light of it seemed cruel…so very cruel.  That’s how tough my childhood was.
Guess what dad?  You’re not the boss of me and I can buy whatever I want now, so…how would YOU like a Hawaiian Punch?  Um…yeah, so anyway I saw this Shasta Tiki Punch and was curious how it compared to it’s  Hawaiian counter part.

Hawaiian Punch:
Hawaiian punchI know I must have had Hawaiian Punch at some point in life but it wasn’t more recent than middle school so I was actually kind of shocked by the bright redness of the drink that is so poorly depicted in this photo (I swear it looked brighter).  One thing Ethan and I noted was how overly sweet this was, and it even smelled sweet.  The flavor was fruity Ethan described it as a melted Popsicle or like a super sweet pineapple.  I thought it tasted liked a liquified red lifesaver.  Between the uncomfortable color and the overwhelming sweetness I couldn’t finish my glass.

Tiki Punch:
Tiki PunchI wasn’t expecting Tiki Punch to be carbonated so that was a surprise.  Overall the flavor was pretty much the same.  In some way the carbonation seemed to cut the sweeteness just a little but I think it was really just that it was a bit watery, although Ethan thought it was syrupy.  I was reading the ingredients and there is some kind of gum in it  so I think is possible to be watery and syrupy.

Wrap up:
Gross and gross.  Okay, I guess I wasn’t missing out on anything as a kid by not being able to drink this.  I’m actually feeling a little nauseous as I write this and funny enough Ethan just said he feels like drinking more.  If I had choose I guess I’d pick Hawaiian just for familiarity and that it contains actual fruit juice (although less than 2%) while Tiki is nothing but scary ingredients.
I also wanted to point out Tiki Punch does have the better graphics.
guys“Punchy” not only is a heavily pixelated image but the new Punchy is way lamer than the old one. I thought it was mildly interesting that they are both making the same hand gestures.   Also while Punchy is a guy, I can’t really tell what the Tiki bro is.  He/it seems to be a face that has two legs, one arm  and that’s it.  I mean, he resembles a human but there’s a some thing missing that is a little bothersome.

Hawaiian Punch or Tiki Punch

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Nesquik vs Hood

Chocolate milk was always a treat growing up.  Not that we weren’t allowed to drink it but it’s just so good that no mater when I had it, I always savored it.   I always just made it at home and rarely found the same satisfaction when I bought it in a bottle.  It’s been awhile for either home-made or bottle so we compared a national big boy brand with the beloved Hood brand of New England.

Nesquik had a great chocolatey aroma which I was hoping hinted at the intensity of chocolate flavor.
For me the just tasted like milk with a hint of chocolate.  Ethan felt it wasn’t lacking any favor and enjoyed it.  I thought this had an artificial taste to it but Ethan didn’t think it was bad.  There was just something off about the consistency to me, like I could tell it was made from powder even if I didn’t already know it was.

Hood didn’t have a sweet chocolate smell like Nesquik did but we both found the taste was a more sincere chocolate flavor.    Ethan said it tasted like when you ignore the suggested amount of powder to add to make chocolate milk and add an extra tablespoon (or two).  I liked that this didn’t taste as chemically and would like to think that it was a more pure form of this drink.

Wrap up:
I prefered good ol’ Hood for the reasons listed above, although I have to say I feel Hood’s expertise is in their ice cream products (I mean, what’s better than a Hoodsie eaten with a wooden spoon?) and  wouldn’t swear by their chocolate milk as a new favorite.  Although Ethan agreed Nesquik was more artificial tasting he still found something appealing about it.  He liked both in their own way and said it would depend on his mood as to which one he would buy again. 

Nesquik or Hood?

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A&W vs Dad’s

I found Dad’s root beer at my local dollar store (which I’ve grown to love to find so many second-rate products), I don’t know anything about it but I’m always up for trying a new root beer hoping it will be a new favorite, which I think I did find but I have to do more research on how to get a bottle since I just had it from a tap in a little store in the middle of NH.

Anyhoo, the available opponent this time was A&W so we sat these two down and let them battle it out.

I thought I’d try a different angle with the drink photos (I’ll go back to the old way), but the A&W looked pretty lighta nd the foam didn’t last more than a few seconds after it was poured.  We liked the taste of this, it was very “peppy” to me and Ethan said it had a good, dependable root beer flavor and the sweetness was just right.  For me I’d like it to be a little creamier like this mystery tap rootbeer I had in NH but the flavor of A&W is really satisfying.

I was impressed with Dad’s because the foam didn’t completely dissolve even after sitting for an extended amount of time and had a nice deep brown color.   We felt this had an interesting aroma, which Ethan described as “herby”.  As far as flavor it was flatter than A&W and tasted artificial, which goes to show foam isn’t everything.

Wrap up:
Even though it doesn’t look as impressive, the deep flavor and “zazzyness” of A&W really makes it a more satifying root beer than Dad’s.   It’s not a terrible soda but we wouldn’t go out of our way to buy Dad’s again.

A&W or Dad's?

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Modern-day vs Throwback

I was excited to hear a couple of months ago that Pepsi and Mountain Dew were coming out this summer with “Throwback” versions which contain cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup.

Not that I even like Mountain Dew but of course I just had to try both versions and see if there were any noticeable differences.

There’s not much to say, especially since we just reviewed Pepsi in the Shasta post so I’ll just say it tastes like Pepsi and for more description see two posts below ?

Pepsi Throwback:
Surprisingly, there was not too much of a difference. Ethan and I could tell there was no “syrupyness” to it and we did like that there was a little bit of what I’d describe as a “snap” to it. It seemed to taste cleaner in a way and I think throwback was a great idea, but in the end we both felt that the difference in taste probably wasn’t enough for them to continue production of this after the summer.

Mountain Dew:
As I mentioned I’m not a big “dew” fan. I won’t get too much into the review since we’ve already done it but feel free to check out the Mello Yello vs Mountain Dew post. Ethan being the former Mountain Dew drinker said he did like how citrusy this is and although it does taste very artificial, he said it was in a “good way”. This is just too much for me to take more than a couple of sips of. Too sweet and I don’t like drinking things that look like anti-freeze.

Mountain Dew Throwback:
Before I even tasted this I liked it better because it was so nice to see the old logo again and for me the evaluation could have stopped there since um… I don’t like Dew (have I mentioned that?)
I left this to the expert and Ethan said he was surprisingly disappointed because it tasted watery. He went on to describe it like bad iced tea, like it was just water sugar and bad fake lemon (I guess opposed to the good fake lemon in modern Dew)

Wrap up:
I’d like to say that we were wowed by the throwback versions of both of these but we weren’t. While I did like the “crispness” of Pepsi throwback, it wasn’t the awesome experience I was expecting. Ethan was surprised that he preferred the modern Mountain Dew (or “Mtn Dew” as they now call it) over the throwback version for it’s more citrusy flavor and substantial consistency. If I had to buy one, it would be Dew throwback, I’d dump it out and just walk around with the bottle with the cool label.

Modern or Throwback?

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Cola Challenge: Coke, Pepsi & Shasta

I was walking out of the dollar store with my little purchase and heard the cashier say to the next customer behind me, “Shatsa, huh?”.  I stopped in my tracks and pivoted to turn back towards the drink section.
I thought Shasta was long gone but it may be a regional think like Mellow Yellow.
I bought my 4-pack of Shasta and stopped at a mini-mart on the way home for a Coke and a Pepsi for evaluation.

As I probably have mentioned before, Ethan is a huge Coke fan and I’m a Pepsi girl, somehow we are happily married, but I knew we would both probably be biased so no big surprise that Ethan enjoyed the Coke and stated it’s a “good, solid cola”.  Although he finds that Coke in a can has some sort of faint aftertaste that is not present in bottled Coke.  I think Coke is good, I’m not one of those people that act like their world is turned upside down when a server asks them “is Coke okay?”.  It’s a decent cola product.
Without thinking about the name I actually thought “this has extra ‘pep’ to it”.  Ethan thinks Pepsi is a “semi-tone higher pitch” than Coke.  Seems slightly sweeter too.  There is just something about Pepsi this is subtly more interesting. I don’t know what it is but I just like it.

Shasta was surprisingly watery compared to the previous two.  The cola flavor was much less intense and was a little soapy or something.  We kept trying to find adjectives for this but it was just so void of flavor and substance that we just kept looking at each other and srugging our shoulders.

Wrap up:
Coke and Pepsi definitely are more substantial colas.  After that I think it just depends on your blood type or something which one appeals to you more.  Shasta unfortunately was not the treasure I was hoping it would be and because of it’s flavor deficiency, we agreed it was the second rate version of the two better known colas.

Coke, Pepsi or Shasta?

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Starbucks Frappuccino vs Caribou Iced Coffee Drink

I always thought of bottled Frappuccino as a disappointment because if you go to Starbucks and order a Frappuccino, you get something that resembles a frappe (or as some parts of the country call it a milkshake, although I won’t get into the fact that a frappe has ice cream and a milkshake is just milk and syrup but anyway…) So being that the bottled version is more like an iced coffee, when I saw Caribou’s “coffee drink” I felt these were close enough to compare. Ethan doesn’t drink coffee at all so I evaluated these on my own.

I usually drink iced coffee black with no sugar so of course this took a little bit of adjusting to. It’s very milky and they’re not shy on the sweetening. I almost had a hard time detecting the coffee flavor at all but it is in there it’s just over powered by the milk and sugar. Too sweet to drink more than the amount poured in this picture.

Caribou Coffee Drink:
Caribou is noticeably darker. A little easier on the sugar as well but still somehow lacking coffee flavor. I feel like there is a mocha quality to this and even checked the ingredients to see what they added to make this not taste like coffee but coffee is the first ingredient followed by milk, sugar, sodium bicarbonate and then “natural flavors”. I kept tasting it expecting this to get better but it just didn’t.

Wrap up:
I don’t feel so good. Both are pretty sugary and I don’t respond well to that. Between the overwhelming milkiness of the Frappuccino and the odd, non-coffee taste to Caribou’s coffee drink, I never want to have either of these again. Usually wherever you’d buy one of these (mini-mart), there should be a Dunkin’ Donuts nearby (if you’re in New England) so just hold out a few more minutes and get a real iced coffee instead.

Starbucks Frappuccino or Caribou's Coffee Drink

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Mug vs Barq’s

There are so many root beers out there, but these were the two available in the store that I stopped at on the way home today. I don’t know exactly what gives root beer it’s distinctive flavor. I checked out a few recipes and it seems like it’s vanilla and wintergreen and sometimes ginger, licorice and something called sassafras (which I will look up later). I like root beer every now and then, but my love affair with it seemed to end after Ramblin’ was discontinued.

Upon opening the bottle we noticed that this smelled very root beery, like the scratch and sniff stickers I used to have. The taste is pretty decent, a lot better then Ethan had remembered it – he used to think Mug was the “bottom of the barrel” for root beers. This was a little too sweet and Ethan said it tasted almost like Pepsi with herbs.

When I tasted this, I said I thought this had more of a bite and Ethan immediately said “That’s their motto,” – so I guess it’s accurate. Ethan thought the flavor was more of a “true” root beer flavor. The bubbles were a little more present although like Mug, there was no “head” on either of these, but I’m not sure if that’s possible out of a bottle.

Wrap up:
Ethan liked Barq’s better but was surprised that Mug wasn’t all that bad either. I felt both were pretty much the same and feel like I should try harder to find a Ramblin’ equivalent, although I’m not sure if I remember exactly how it tastes. But if there is a root beer that is a little smoother or creamier, I’d love to try it.

Mug or Barq's?

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Gingerale: Schweppes vs Canada Dry

I know there a lot of ginger ales out there, but this “British/Canadian” pair happened to be in the same convenience store so I got them and will most likely conduct a re-match with another product at some point. After all, I’m big fan of Worcester’s own Polar brand, but not sure if it’s available out side New England. Since I recently declared my love for Sky Bar, I’d post about something more available to everyone else (but I will come back to Polar!)


Schweppes has a nice golden color and although it doesn’t look bubbly in this picture, it was when we drank it. It had the expected gingery taste but we also found this to be particularly sweet. It seemed to be a little too syrupy. Other than that it was pretty good.

Canada Dry:

This looked pretty much the same, and actually tasted very similar too. We did notice that it was subtly different though. Ethan said it had a bit fuller body and I noticed that it was slightly less syrupy.

Wrap up:

We’d go with our Canadian friend because it wasn’t as sweet (just by a little bit) but we both agreed that we probably wouldn’t notice the difference enough to refuse Schweppes if that was all that was available. The nice thing about ginger ale is that I think it’s hard to screw up (but I could be wrong). I’ll have to bring in the Polar and do a re-match for sure.

Schweppes or Canada Dry?

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Tab vs Diet Pepsi

Oh Tab, I love you so much!  Will you marry me?  Wait, are you a guy or or a girl?  Oh I don’t care, all I know is that I want you in my life forever!  As much as I love Tab, I always felt Diet Pepsi may be a good runner up and thought I should do an evaluation sometime with DP and that sometime was tonight.
I decided to conduct this taste test with my eyes closed to see if my devotion to Tab was just habit and all in my head or the real deal.

Diet Pepsi:
With my eyes closed and turned away from the drinks, I asked Ethan to hand me one of the glasses and pick up the other one so I wouldn’t know which one he gave me.  I had to get the stupid grin from anticipation off my face and finally took a sip. As soon as I did I said “Oh my God this is Pepsi” and grinned again.  I didn’t look, but I’m guessing Ethan rolled his eyes in enthusiasm for my passing the Tab loyalty test.
There is something slightly soapy to me about most diet drinks, I’m guessing it’s the aspartame and this came though in Diet Pepsi, although I do like it for what it is, it’s no Tab.  Ethan thought it was tasteless and the bubbles were too small.

All I could say was that it’s just so very, VERY good and ditto everything from my last Tab post.  Even Ethan who says he doesn’t like Tab, agrees it has more flavor.  The bubbles are like applause in my mouth with a sweet, yet full bodied flavor that is uniquely Tab.  Somehow it masks the aspartame better than other diet drinks.

Wrap up:
Tab does it again, and I know it will always have a place in my heart, and my fridge, forever.  Ethan is not a Diet Cola person so he won’t be drinking either of these again, until Tab has a new competitor to beat into the ground ?  Although if I ever find myself in the south or wherever they sell Diet Rite that isn’t 2 years old, I’d be interested in trying that again since people really seem to like that.

Tab or Diet Pepsi?

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Mello Yello vs Mountain Dew

A big thank you to my cousins in Georgia who kindly played along and shipped up a bottle of Mello Yello for us to evaluate.
It’s been a long time since Mello Yello was available in the Northeast and while their logo has changed through the years, I think they had it perfect with the first one.  I’d say the same goes for Mountain Dew.  I don’t know about Mello Yello, but from my observations, Mt. Dew is mostly popular with males who are under 30 years old.   I’m not sure what it is: the intense sweetness, the elevated caffeine, the vibrant yellow #5?
I also thought it was kind of interesting that Mountain Dew’s angle for a while was “Do the Dew!” which included skateboarding, mountain climbing and riding sharks.  In comparison, Mello Yello does indeed seem more mellow as the commercials I found are uncomfortable situations between males and females asking “How would you stay smooth?”.
Ethan and I tasted this and then I brought the rest of the Mello Yello bottle into work to be tasted by our resident everyday Mt. Dew drinker, (who is a 24 year old male) Brendan.

Mello Yello:
We were out of our usual plastic tasting cups so we used wine glasses.  It’s kind of funny how this almost looks like chardonnay (or pee).
The color was a little brighter yellow than how the picture came out.  Ethan and I felt this was extremely sweet and syrupy.  Brendan’s notes on this were the same, he felt it was okay but also said it was more syrupy than Mountain Dew and that dominated the flavor.  I thought it tasted a lot like sprite and wondered if that is the base for this soda.

Mountain Dew:
This was very similar to Mello Yello, almost undetectably different but it does has a very lemony flavor that I felt tasted like those free lollipops you get at the bank.
Ethan said this was very citrusy but didn’t really see why he used to like it so much in college.  I guess its worth noting that both drinks have orange juice in them too which probably helps add to the strong similarities between them.

Wrap up:
We really didn’t notice much difference between the two and I can see why in some areas of the country only one of them is offered.  I will say that Brendan, being a hard core “Dewer” prefered Dew and felt Mello Yello was sweeter but he didn’t say he would never drink it again, if offered.  In fact, he finished the rest of the bottle.  I’d be interested to know which is more popular in areas where both of these are sold, which as the Coca-Cola distribution rep told me, is only in the south.

Mello Yello or Mt. Dew

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