Mountain Dew’s Patriotic Pop

The vibrant purple DEW.S.A. is a combination of Mountain Dew's Code Red, White Out and Voltage flavors.

click to enlarge DEW!S!A! DEW!S!A!
DEW!S!A! DEW!S!A!
Americans use many different names to talk about flavored carbonated beverages — those in the Northwest and Midwest call it “pop,” the upper East Coast and lower West Coast call it “soda” and Southerners call any and all bubbly beverages, regardless of flavor profile and color, “coke.” However, there is one thing all Americans can agree upon: the power of the good ol’ DEW.S.A.

Naturally, DEW.S.A. is Mountain Dew’s newest patriotic flavor of soda. It was reportedly released on April 28 to coincide with Memorial Day and Independence Day and the name DEW.S.A. is meant to be a play on words to sound like U.S.A.

DEW.S.A. is a combination of Mountain Dew’s Code Red, White Out and Voltage flavors. Mountain Dew Code Red tastes like cherry, White Out tastes like citrus and Voltage is intended to taste like “ginseng and raspberry citrus.” You might be thinking to yourself, “Hey! All of those flavors should not naturally go together as a beverage.” To which Mountain Dew replied, “You are so wrong and America is the greatest country in the world. DEW!S!A!”

The combination of blue, white and red soda produces a light, lavender-colored beverage that is, honestly, pleasing to the eye. I held my plastic soda bottle up to natural sunlight and marveled at the colors produced by the shifting bubbles and chemical flavoring. The flavor itself was surprisingly pleasant — not too tart, not too sweet. It tasted kind of like a mix of a Coke and cherry Slurpee in a Styrofoam cup from a 7-Eleven. 

Not to be outdone by Mountain Dew, Pepsi (actually owned by the same overarching PepsiCo) has also been putting out new flavors, including Pepsi 1893. The Pepsi 1893 containers are slick, skinny metal cans with minimalist advertising that could almost be misconstrued as pre-mixed alcoholic beverages. I myself don’t care if I’m drinking a soda or an alcoholic soda, so I eagerly purchased both new flavors of Pepsi 1893 — available in black currant and citrus. 

Pepsi 1893 has been around for a minute, or so I have concluded based on some third-party food-reviewing websites, but I’m not even sure what Pepsi 1893 is referencing. Was Pepsi founded in 1893? Was Mr. Pepsi himself born in 1893? I don’t know. 

When I tried to research Pepsi 1893’s origin — by Googling Pepsi 1893 in all quotes — I was directed to a plain HTML website that just said, in all capital letters: “DON’T BE SAD. BE GLAD. BECAUSE YOU’RE JUST ONE CLICK AWAY FROM GETTING BACK ON THE PULSE. GO TO PEPSI.COM.” Maybe 1893 means that there are 1,893 mysteries behind what this Pepsi could be referencing? 

Pepsi’s website says the drink is a “modern take for consumers while honoring the original cola recipes created over a century ago by our founder.” But the site also says Pepsi-Cola was formulated in 1898, not 1893. 

Again, mysterious, until you consult Wikipedia, which says Pepsi was first introduced in 1893 as “Brad’s Drink” at Caleb Bradham’s drugstore in North Carolina. It was then renamed Pepsi-Cola (a combination of dyspepsia and kola nut) in 1898. 

The drink does play into the natural soda trend by combining “old-fashioned” ingredients like kola nut, real sugar and sparkling water with its mix of caramel color, phosphoric acid, sodium citrate and gum arabic.

The black currant Pepsi 1893 reminded me of something I would have manically made myself as a child, standing in front of a soda fountain, mixing every single available flavor at my fingertips. It tasted like citrus, berries, soda, chocolate and also weirdly like an artisanal syrup found on the very top shelf of Starbucks during Unicorn frappe season. 

The citrus flavor tasted like nothing at all, even though it contains grapefruit essence. My grandfather woke up every morning and consumed a single grapefruit half and thanked the citrus superpower every birthday for his long life. I don’t think he would have been satisfied by 1893’s citrus flavor. 

Really, I don’t think my grandfather, who grew up drinking sodas before aspartame and corn syrup and was intensely patriotic, would have been impressed by either Pepsi 1893 or DEW.S.A. Stick to traditional Coca-Cola or a Mountain Dew and leave the vintage styling and American pride to Old Navy’s discount Fourth of July section. 


CONTACT MADGE MARIL: [email protected]

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