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WHAT'S IN A DAME: New flavors of Diet Coke fall a bit flat

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Photographs by Courtesy of The Coca-Cola Co. via AP

Diet Coke is selling slim cans of its original formula and four new flavors. Are any of them to die(t) for?

I am going to live forever!

It's the conclusion I came to recently after reading a study in a very scientific journal.

OK -- it was an article on Cosmopolitan.com: "104 year old woman credits Diet Coke for living such a long life."

According to the story, Theresa Rowley of Michigan explained to a TV station "how she's drunk at least one one can of Diet Coke every day since the product was first launched in 1982, when she was 68." And she buys a multipack every time she grocery shops: "I drink it because I like it."

And I like Theresa. She has given me -- a lifelong diet-soda junkie who was practically bottle-raised on Tab -- a glimmer of artificially sweetened hope.

Maybe a Diet Dr Pepper a day (or two, or sometimes three) really can keep the Dr away!

Good news for Theresa. She has even more options when it comes to continuing her longevity.

Diet Coke recently introduced five varieties in slim, attractive 12-ounce cans (sold in packs of eight): the original and four new flavors -- Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Twisted Mango and Zesty Blood Orange.

A consortium of four fizz-sipping colleagues helped review chilled cans of the new flavor. They'll be identified by their usual poison of choice: Dr Pepper (DP), Kroger Diet Ginger Ale (GA), Seltzer (SZ) and Coke Zero Sugar (CZ).

GINGER LIME

DP: My favorite of the four. The lime and ginger are well balanced and the flavor is clean and crisp.

GA: I didn't taste any ginger. Just a huge aftertaste of artificial sweetener.

SZ: Pretty ghastly.

CZ: Very, very light flavoring. Favorite of the four. Could be refreshing on a hot day.

Me: Diet Coke pretending to be Ginger Ale. Or like Mary Ann impersonating Ginger.

FEISTY CHERRY

DP: Tastes like cough medicine. Cheap cough medicine. Also, I'm getting a bit of a burning in the back of my throat. Maybe that's the "Feisty" part? Excuse me while I go drink a bunch of water.

GA: OK, but again, the aftertaste was still evident.

SZ: The only one of these I might consider would be the Feisty Cherry, which has a distinct cherry aroma and flavor -- or at least as much as you'd find in Cherry Coke.

CZ: A bit medicinal. Almost has hints of pepper in the flavor. Sort of lingers in the throat.

Me: A bad name for a bad beverage. Merriam-Webster.com defines "feisty" as: "full of nervous energy, fidgety, touchy, quarrelsome, exuberantly frisky." Also it says "feist," which in the South refers to a small hunting dog, comes from "fisting hound" and -- giggle -- "fist, a verb that once meant 'to break wind.'" Because of those reasons -- and the harsh flavor -- I would not cherry-pick Feisty Cherry.

TWISTED MANGO

DP: Not sure what makes it twisted, but there is an undeniable mango flavor. Not bad.

GA: The worst. Awful. And with that wretched aftertaste.

SZ: Inoffensive.

CZ: I'm not a mango fan, but I don't find it off-putting. Tastes sort of like what mango lip gloss might taste like.

Me: Imagine encountering the most foul tropical air freshener spray ... and then taking a big carbonated swig. Coke's most Twisted concoction since New Coke.

ZESTY BLOOD ORANGE

DP: It's an orange pop with a Diet Coke aftertaste. Bring me a Faygo.

GA: Just too fake to enjoy. Maximum aftertaste.

SZ: Inoffensive, but as with the others, the name promises more flavor than it delivers.

CZ: Not bad, but the flavor is similar to effervescent cold tablets.

Me: With a perky aroma, pleasant pop of citrus and mellow morning vibe, it's like "orange juice" for the soft-drink set. Of the four, Zesty is by far the besty.

FINAL NOTES

GA: I suppose if I were dying of thirst in the Sahara these drinks would keep me stay alive.

SZ: I made the fatal mistake of examining the list of ingredients, where I discovered that each can has "less than 0.5 percent of: natural flavor." Aside from carbonated water, pretty much the rest of the list consists of chemicals.

Me: With the exception of the orange, these fizzes fizzled. My favorite Diet Coke is still Diet Dr Pepper.

Pop an email to:

jchristman@arkansasonline.com

What's in a Dame is a weekly report from the woman 'hood.

Style on 02/13/2018

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