Pepsi decided that now would be a good time to bring back their failed drink from the early 90’s, Crystal Pepsi. I say failed, because even back in the 90’s it wasn’t very popular, so I’m not quite sure why they felt the need to bring it back almost 25 years later, but thats exactly what they did, and I had to try it.
When it comes to pop (or soda, depending on where you’re from), I don’t drink nearly as much these days as I used to, although I have done an energy drink taste test in the past couple years. In college I would have a fridge stocked full of Pepsi, Cherry Pepsi and Cherry Coke… it was pretty disgusting. I would even go so far as to say when I stopped drinking it, I started to have withdrawal symptoms, but that was probably just in my head. Either way, I drank a lot of pop in the early 2000’s.
Today, I still sometimes get a taste for a pop, but those tastes are few and far between and I usually just need a sip or two to quench that thirst. I can’t tell you how many restaurants I’ve been to with a thirst for a Coke/Pepsi, ordered one, and taken two tiny sips out of it throughout my entire meal… I basically just throw money away on pop. Thankfully, while slightly more expensive in the long run, they do make those small cans that I can buy so that I’m not wasting a full 12-oz. can on a couple sips.
In addition to a couple sips here and there, my alcoholic drink of choice is still Captain Morgan and Coke/Pepsi, so when we have a chance to go out on weekends, I’ll usually end up having the equivalent of a can or two of pop depending on how many drinks I have, but it’s usually not more than 3 drinks.
So seeing as how I don’t drink much soda these days, I was still weirdly excited when Pepsi announced that they were going to re-release Crystal Pepsi for a limited time only (even though the last time I bought a weird Pepsi flavor I wasn’t impressed). I knew I was probably going to find it disgusting and it would be a waste of a 20 oz bottle (which is all they sell it in), but for nostalgias sake, I had to track down a bottle… and that wasn’t too hard.
Our local grocery store had a few of the 20-oz. bottles left in the cooler near the registers when I went in this week to pick up some other stuff for dinner, so I grabbed one. I also picked up a liter bottle of normal Pepsi just so I could do a taste comparison, as well as have some Pepsi in the house to mix with my Captain Morgan.
Crystal Pepsi Taste Test
I got home, we ate dinner, put the kid to bed, and then it was time for the taste test. Like I said, it has been like 24 years since I’ve had Crystal Pepsi and I have no recollection of how it tasted or whether I liked it or not. I do remember us saving a bottle or can of it on our bookshelf in the family room at my parents house for a long time for some reason though. I don’t even think it was full, I think it was just an empty bottle/can. Either way, I definitely remember having it in the house and knowing that I tried it at some point, so maybe the first sip would bring back a rush of memories.
It did not.
Once the first sip hit my lips, I was kind of confused. Being a clear liquid, you kind of expect it to taste like Sprite (or Sierra Mist, since this is Pepsi after all), but it has a distinct “cola” flavor. I think my mind was playing tricks on me after seeing it and then tasting it because it definitely tasted like someone poured a little bit of Sierra Mist into a Pepsi, or maybe poured a little Pepsi into a Sierra Mist. It tastes way lighter than regular Pepsi does, and has that slight citrusy aftertaste that you would get from one of those clear lemon-lime pops.
It’s definitely not bad, I ended up drinking most of the bottle, but it’s not something that I would ever choose over a normal cola drink. Honestly, I would probably choose an RC Cola or a Presidents Choice Cola over Crystal Pepsi, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means, I just like my colas to taste like a real cola and my lemon-lime citrusy pops to taste like Sprite or Sierra Mist.
So with the plain taste test out of the way, how would it mix with alcohol…
Captain and Crystal Pepsi
It’s very weird having a “Captain and Coke/Pepsi” that looks almost like a ginger ale. The Crystal Pepsi is obviously clear and the Captain Morgan is a brown liquor, so the mixture gave the liquid a light hazelish tint to it… just like a ginger ale. But the color of the drink doesn’t matter, how did it taste?
The first sip I took was terrible. I don’t know if everything was still settling up or what, but I’m pretty sure I just got a mouth full of straight Captain Morgan, and even though I like Captain Morgan in a cocktail, I don’t necessarily like it straight (it’s not a liquor I’m taking a shot of). After waiting a couple minutes, I took another sip and this time it wasn’t nearly as bad. Everything seemed to have combined nicely and it was actually pretty enjoyable.
Again, I’m not sure I would choose this over a normal Captain and Coke or Captain and Pepsi, but it was nice to have something a little different. And obviously no bars are going to stock Crystal Pepsi just in case someone asks for one, so there’s a good chance I’d never be able to order this drink when we’re out, but it as cool to try it.
If you can find Crystal Pepsi in your area, and you’re curious, I say give it a shot. It’s not terrible to the point where you’re going to waste your money and pour it down the drain, but it’s not good enough to buy more than one 20-oz bottle in my opinion.
And if you can’t find it in a store near you, you can always order it from Amazon at a slight premium. The 20-oz bottles in the store were the same price as all the other 20-oz bottles, where as amazon has it for like $4 a bottle… but, if your area is sold out and you’re really fiending for some of that delicious clear pepsi, it’s another option.