Let me paint a picture for you.
The year is 1998. I am in my senior year of high school. I’m a strapping beefcake of a student recently named Most Likely to Succeed at Everything All the Time. My girlfriend is the hottest girl in the school. She’s also been charged with protecting our town and the world against supernatural terrors such as vampires and praying mantises that eat only virgins. You see our school sits on a hellmouth. But that’s a secret so don’t tell anyone.
I am fresh from quarterbacking our football team to the toughest homecoming victory of our careers against our crosstown rivals and the best team in the league. I admit it didn’t look like we were going to pull off a win. But when our school mascot, a mule named Gus, took the field and booted the game winning field goal, we knew that the world would forever remember us, The Titans!
No. Wait a minute. I’m remembering it wrong. It wasn’t a field goal. It was an extra point.
No. Hang on. That wasn’t my life. It was the plot of a movie I saw. Possibly several movies. And at least one TV show.
My senior year went like this. I was a lanky, bespectacled, acne-ridden nonentity who wasn’t involved with anything on any level. My close circle of friends who I had spent four fantastic years with was irreparably split in two during OUR LAST SEMESTER (!) because one of its members decided he had to go out with the ex-girlfriend of another member like four seconds after they broke up. Hostility and tension soon followed.
So much so that during our Grad Nite at the Magic Kingdom I wasn’t able to enjoy the Backstreet Boys’ performance in front of Cinderella’s Castle as much as I should have. I’ll never get that back, guys. Never.
Why am I telling you this? Because Surge reminds me of high school, that’s why. They used to sell it in vending machines in our cafeteria, and that was the only place I ever bought it.
If you don’t know, Surge was Coke’s answer to Mountain Dew in the late-nineties. They were both playing the Extreme card very emphatically. This was before energy drinks took over and ruined everything.
Sadly for its fans, Surge was only on the market from 1997 to 2002 (2003 if you count fountain syrup).
I was never a Surge guy. I was never an anything guy. I didn’t put much thought into my consumption at the time. I didn’t have a regular beverage until I started in on Mountain Dew in college and then Cherry Coke in my mid-twenties. I drank Surge when it was around because it was the new soda on the block. It was all the rage at the time. Along with Fruitopia. Had a lot of that in the cafeteria, too (shudder).
Yeah, apparently people have been hoarding Surge syrup. That’s genius. There’s a very active movement online to get Coke to bring back Surge. They buy billboards and flood Coke with calls and stuff. It’s like a real organized movement. Kind of impressive.
I knew I had to try this, so I took to the Bay of e’s and found a guy selling little bottles of Surge syrup tapped from a 2001, two and a half gallon…thing…they put in soda fountains.
The syrup itself has a fantastic Secret of the Ooze vibe to it. It’s downright beautiful. So green! I had to mix the two ounces of syrup with ten ounces of soda water. It felt like science! I was resurrecting a little bit of the past for a few fleeting moments! I might as well have had my own desk at Jurassic Park.
Hang onto your butts.
Surge has a really intense citrus flavor (and nosegrope) that leans toward the lime end of the citrus spectrum. It’s very sweet. Its flavor seems deeper than Mountain Dew’s. More intense. There’s a bit of lime Jell-O-ness to it. It sort of reminded me of like if you left some Coca-Cola sitting out and it flattened and then morphed into a green citrus soda. Like it had a cola base. Interesting.
Overall, I still didn’t love it. It’s a decent soda but it would never usurp (usyrup?) my beloved Mountain Dew. But the memory trip back to the bliss of the nineties was well worth the effort. Oh that I had my frosted tips again.
Believe in your dreams, kids! And believe in the nineties! Because Crystal Pepsi is gonna happen someday.