We Tasted And Ranked 14 Mountain Dew Flavors

many Mountain Dew bottles
many Mountain Dew bottles - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

I'm a big fan of the flavor of Mountain Dew. Always have been, always will be. So I jumped at the opportunity to taste as many flavors as I could for an ultimate ranking. It's likely that you love Mountain Dew, too, or at least like it a little bit ... or you wouldn't be here. After driving all over town to gather the goods, I sat down to live out my childhood dream of tasting more than a dozen sodas.

Now, I didn't just randomly throw these flavors in an order. Although if you disagree with some of my assessments, it might feel that way. Instead, I chose to rank the flavors on initial taste, smell, and aftertaste. I used the general availability of the flavor as a tiebreaker, where needed. You can read more about how I ranked the sodas at the end of the article. I sampled old favorites, seasonal options, and might have even found a flavor or two to add to my regular rotation. These flavors, as the old Mountain Dew tagline went, tickled my innards. Where does your favorite flavor end up on the list?

Read more: 16 Popular Energy Drinks, Ranked By Customer Reviews

14. Freedom Fusion

Freedom Fusion bottle and cup
Freedom Fusion bottle and cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

I thought this flavor smelled a lot like grapefruit when I first opened the bottle. It has a strong citrus scent, which I liked. However, when I tasted it and went back to look at the bottle, I noticed its official flavoring was lemonade and peach. As soon as I knew this, mysteriously the grapefruit scent seemed to disappear to peach, while the citrus scent remained. Its icy white color reminded me of a summer slushie, which I liked. This is a limited flavor themed after the 4th of July holiday, so it made sense to me that it would have warm weather vibes.

Unfortunately, Freedom Fusion ranks low on the list because it was so hard to place the flavor at first. Before looking at the bottle, I also thought it might be orange-infused — so the white color didn't match at all. It also has a terrible, bitter aftertaste. If you've ever taken the cough medicine Robitussin, you will be familiar with how it's the kind of taste that makes you wrinkle your nose and need a chaser. For this reason, plus being so unavailable (it wasn't at many stores), I have to give it a spot at the very bottom of the list.

13. Spark (Raspberry Lemonade)

Spark bottle and cup
Spark bottle and cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

Spark lives up to its name because it has a strong, sharp flavor. Just not in a good way. I was initially excited to try this flavor because of the light pink color showing through the bottle. Meant to be a raspberry lemonade, this soda appeared similar in hue and texture to Country Time lemonade, a childhood favorite. When I opened the bottle, my excitement grew because it smelled fantastic, just like a raspberry lemonade you might get at the Olive Garden. However, all of this excitement died away upon my first sip. Unfortunately, it seems like Mountain Dew put all the effort into the color and smell for this one, but saved nothing for the taste.

When I first took a gulp, it tasted okay. However, I didn't even have to wait for an aftertaste to kick in before my mouth was overwhelmed with a strong taste of medicine. It's a bit like cherry Nyquil, or similar. The flavor is too artificial to be enjoyed. It is one of the strongest medicinal tastes of all the flavors I tried. It was also difficult to find this flavor in stores. So, I can't rank it highly.

12. Purple Thunder

Purple Thunder bottle and cup
Purple Thunder bottle and cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

This flavor was hard to come by. It was only available at Kroger (already annoying, as Apple Pay is not accepted there) and not any of the other large grocery stores I stopped by, like HEB or WalMart. The outside of the bottle says it's meant to be a berry plum flavor, supported by artwork of plums and what appear to be blackberries. However, this definitely tastes like grape soda! It smells like grapes, too. I couldn't get past the fact that the actual flavor and what it was supposed to be like were so different. If I evaluated it as a grape option, it was OK. It kind of tasted like a slightly fizzy grape Kool-Aid.

Purple Thunder also had a bizarre undernote of savoriness to it. This became more clear in its aftertaste. While the other options either had sweet or bitter aftertastes, this interestingly savory option was a distinct difference. However, it still didn't move the soda any higher up my rankings as I thought sodas should just be sweet. For all of this, I leave it towards the end.

11. Frost Bite

Frost Bite bottle and cup
Frost Bite bottle and cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

This soda hardly tastes like anything. I scoured the bottle for information on what it might taste like, but couldn't find it listed. Rumors on the Internet say it's a cool melon flavor, kind of like a blue Powerade wannabe with fizz. However, I couldn't really taste that. It didn't taste bad, per se, just kind of like nothing. I was disappointed as I liked the bold blue color and assumed the taste would match, perhaps like the blue Icees you get at the movies. Unfortunately, it fell very short. It's flat. It's generic. Frost Bite is a total flop.

Yet the reason it doesn't rank dead last is because, while it wasn't great, it wasn't bad either. As mentioned, the flavor is so hard to place that I was so focused on trying to figure it out that I didn't notice an aftertaste or anything. None showed up on the second sip, either. While it was easy to find Frost Bite at many different locations, in both bottle and can form, I wouldn't try it again.

10. Baja Blast (Zero Sugar)

Baja Blast Zero Sugar bottle and cup
Baja Blast Zero Sugar bottle and cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

The zero-sugar version of this flavor can't rank as highly as its full-sweetness counterpart because of the taste it leaves behind. While it had the same great lime smell and initial fizzy first sip, it soon morphed into a bitter aftertaste that let me down. I've found this is unfortunately the case for many zero sugar sodas, not just Baja Blast Mountain Dew. Although there are rare exceptions (and I even tasted one in this very ranking!), the sugar substitutes pumped into the soda make the first taste great, but also make the lingering flavor a bit unsatisfying.

That said, this soda was easy to find in both can and bottle. It's available all year round and could still be a great option for anyone who loves Mountain Dew's iconic Baja Blast, but can't do too much sugar. For this, I give it a place in the middle of the ranking.

9. Diet Mountain Dew

Diet Mountain Dew Bottle and Cup
Diet Mountain Dew Bottle and Cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

I was excited to try Diet Mountain Dew because, through all my years as a Dew enthusiast, I had never tried this flavor. Things started off well when I opened the bottle, as it smelled fantastic. It had a bright and lemony zest, just like the original. The taste was bold and sweet, too, which I liked. At first sip, it seemed a lot like the original option. It was also easy to find, as every location that sold Mountain Dew had diet, too in many different sizes.

However, the aftertaste was where things began to fall apart. It had a delayed onset, but it was too bitter for my liking. I find that this is often the case for zero sugar options and diet options, and Diet Mountain Dew was no different. While the initial flavor was OK, the aftertaste wasn't great. However, as it's a good sugar-free option for the original, I still give it a place in the middle.

8. Purple Thunder (Zero Sugar)

Purple Thunder Zero Sugar bottle and cup
Purple Thunder Zero Sugar bottle and cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

Interestingly enough, the zero-sugar option of Purple Thunder finds itself higher in my rankings than its full-sweetness companion. While it was still a difficult flavor to get my hands on, there was a real difference in taste that I need to point out. While the original Purple Thunder has a strange, savory tinge, the zero-sugar version notably does not. Instead, it's sweeter from the first sip straight on through to its aftertaste. I thought it was interesting that the zero-sugar version was somehow more candied, but still enjoyed it.

It was, however, still strange that a flavor labeled and sold as berry and plum so solidly smelled and tasted of grape, no matter if it was sugar-free or not. Because of this, I can rank it higher than the full sugar version on taste, but the mismatch between taste and marketing means I still can't rank it too high.

7. Voltage (Blue Raspberry Citrus)

Voltage bottle and cup
Voltage bottle and cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

This flavor of Mountain Dew really lives up to its name. When I think of blue raspberry things, I think of airheads, ring pops, and slushies, and when I opened the bottle, the smell of Blue Raspberry AirHead came pouring out at me. I also thought the drink tasted like a liquid piece of candy. That might be too sweet for some people, but Mountain Dew has definitely nailed the flavor here because it tastes so familiar. There's a touch of citrus to taste, as per the label, but it's not very strong. Instead, any non-blue raspberry flavor is taken over by a kind of cotton candy aftertaste.

I liked this aspect, as many of the other flavors had aftertastes so bad I felt like I needed to wash them down. Unfortunately, as good as it tastes, this flavor is very hard to come by. It was only available at 7-Eleven in bottle form and absent from every other convenience and grocery store. Because of its unavailability, I chose to put other easier-to-find flavors above it.

6. Star Spangled Splash

Star Spangled Splash bottle and cup
Star Spangled Splash bottle and cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

This 4th of July flavor was a hit. I liked its bright red color which kind of reminded me of the classic kids' drink, Hawaiian Punch. And you would never guess, but it kind of tasted like a fizzy version of that drink, as well. It smelled strongly of bubble gum with a hint of cherry jello. If you never minded the liquid pink penicillin as a kid, you'll also like this Mountain Dew flavor.

The taste was strong, but not overpowering. It also didn't taste like cough medicine, despite its strong berry flavor. It was interesting to me that some of the Mountain Dew flavors leaned so hard into that bitter yuck, yet others, like Star Spangled Splash, managed to avoid it completely. This one didn't have a bad aftertaste, either. Instead, the same sweet strawberry and cherry, or as the label says "Red Berry," flavor remained. This one would rank higher if it was a more permanent flavor.

5. Major Melon

Major Melon cans and cup
Major Melon cans and cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

This flavor was such a nice surprise. I was impressed with how well Mountain Dew incorporated the watermelon flavoring into the drink. When I first cracked open the can, the sweet smell hit me immediately, even when it was on the counter and not even near my face yet. It doesn't smell like a real watermelon, but rather the sour watermelon candies from Trolli. Yet when I drank it, it didn't have the intense, pucker-your-lips flavor to match the aroma. Instead, it was more subtle. Kind of like I was drinking sparkling water with a hint of watermelon and not a sugary soda.

I also liked its vibrant pinkish-red color. Because it was so subtle, I felt like the flavor had hints of bubblegum or strawberry to it. The lighter taste also meant there was no aftertaste to contend with, which I considered a plus. Yet it was a little difficult to find this option in bottles. Most locations only sold it by the can. So I rank it high and suggest you try it, but only if you can get your hands on some.

4. Regular (Zero Sugar)

Mountain Dew Zero Sugar bottle and cup
Mountain Dew Zero Sugar bottle and cup

This flavor smells and tastes very similar to classic Mountain Dew. It smelled full and strong, just like a lemon candy. I did a few rounds of blind taste testing and could tell it apart from the original, but only barely. I wondered if others would be able to tell the difference at all.

While many might consider the two low and no-sugar options basically the same, I ranked the zero-sugar Mountain Dew flavor higher than the diet option because I thought this one tasted more like the regular soda. Whereas the diet option had the bitter aftertaste, similar to Diet Coke, zero sugar did not. This is a personal preference, as I know that others don't pick up on the same level of bitterness with alternative sweeteners. The zero sugar option was also readily available at all the stores I visited, in both can and bottle options, giving it a spot high on my list.

3. Code Red

Code Red bottle and cup
Code Red bottle and cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

This ranking challenge was the first time I had ever tried Code Red Mountain Dew and now I have a new flavor to add to my rotation of faves. When I first opened the bottle, I was overwhelmed by the powerful cherry scent. It was like opening a jar of maraschino cherries for dessert. The taste was also very strong and sweet, which I liked. It kind of reminded me of one of my favorites from Sonic, a Cherry Limeade.

While many people might be understandably wary of a cherry soda because of childhood cough syrup associations, Code Red is nothing like that. While it does have a sticky, candied cherry taste it's not bitter or sharp like you get from medicine. The aftertaste is also pleasant, which I was relieved by. It stays sweet, almost bubble-gummy, and never morphs into something you would be eager to get rid of. It was also easy to find in both cans and bottles in every store I went to. So, it was easy to rank it in my top three.

2. Baja Blast

Baja Blast bottle and cup
Baja Blast bottle and cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

This is a nostalgic flavor that fast food fans will be very familiar with, Taco Bell has even used Baja Blast as a flavor for desserts. While the classic Mountain Dew flavor is lemon, Baja Blast is the lime option. Unlike close competitors 7 Up and Sprite which combine the two flavors, Mountain Dew seems to keep them apart, which I find interesting. I thought this choice created a more distinct flavor. This drink is sour, sharp, and tangy.

The first sip gave me the same lip-puckering sensation that sucking on a fresh lime might. It didn't have any hint of cough medicine, as some of the lesser flavors do. Instead, it tasted like fizzy lime candy, which I liked. I also enjoyed the aftertaste because there wasn't one. The flavor was consistent from the first sip through to when I finished drinking. Baja Blast was also easy to find, as it was available in small-bottle form at nearly every location. It also came in cans and 1-liter bottles at most spots. For all of these reasons, it's nearly at the top of my ranking.

1. Regular

Regular Mountain Dew bottle and cup
Regular Mountain Dew bottle and cup - Emily Kammerlohr / Static Media

There's just something about the classic flavor of Mountain Dew. Any fans will know just what I mean. When I first opened the bottle, the smell of lemon was very strong. It hit me right in the face. The drink was also very bubbly and crisp. A pop of carbonation even came out and bopped me on the nose. Upon first sip, I noticed how smooth and even the lemon flavor was. While it didn't taste anything like a natural lemon (or lemonade), I don't think anyone really expects that from a manufactured soda, anyway.

Instead, classic Mountain Dew has a sweeter candied taste, kind of like a lemon drop. It's consistently delicious. The aftertaste of this flavor is also good. I didn't think it changed much from the flavor of the original sip. Some of the other flavors had aftertastes which were bitter or medicinal, but the classic flavor tasted the same while drinking and in between sips, too. This was important to me because it made drinking it a better experience overall. Mountain Dew is also easily available as the original flavor. Every store I stopped by had it in cans and small bottles, as well as in 2-liter size. Because of this, it's no surprise that it comes out on top.

How I Ranked The Sodas

many Mountain Dew varieties
many Mountain Dew varieties

To taste-test the Mountain Dew varieties, I started by smelling each flavor as soon as it was opened. Was it appetizing or off-putting? Then with the first sip, I took note of the flavor. I was looking for options that were bold, pleasing, and true to the name on the bottle. If they were boring, bland, or bad, I ranked them lower. There were also a few instances of the flavor name and taste not matching up.

I also considered the aftertaste of each flavor, too — as it's an important part of enjoying a drink. I didn't want to feel like I needed to wash a flavor away. Finally, as a few tiebreakers, I considered the general availability of the flavor. Whether or not it was seasonal, or if it was available for sale at more than one of the locations I visited. I shopped at HEB, Walmart, 7-Eleven, Valero, Kroger, and a local gas station to find all the options.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.