I was not the best 90s kid. I never watched Ninja Turtles, very little Power Rangers or Nickelodeon (Cartoon Network was more my speed), didn’t give a shit about Pokémon, have hated “Who Let the Dogs Out?” since I first heard it…and I never drank Surge. Not to my knowledge, at least. And for years, it was the great lost soda of the 90s, a lamented relic of our collective youths–though supposedly Vault was pretty similar–until now.
Now, I wasn’t really interested in buying a whole case of a soda I’d never even tried just to relive my misspent youth, but when I found out that my soda shop of choice would be carrying it, I set out to get a can…and initially, failed. I don’t remember if it was because they’d sold out of it or if they hadn’t yet received any, but I was disappointed, and assumed my options were either to get lucky and find a can (possibly obtain one from a generous friend), or to break down and order a case. But then…
The other day I was walking with a group of friends towards the soda shop; most of them followed me because it was a lazy afternoon and they had nothing better to do. And suddenly, I saw it; in front of the shop was a sign touting the presence of Surge. I sprinted around those friends who walked ahead of me and bolted through the door, seizing on the first can I saw. That night, I left my purchase at a friend’s house (in the refrigerator, at that), and sheer coincidence enabled me to go back and get it. Now, with the can well-chilled in my own fridge and my palate cleansed, I am ready to step back in time and finally taste the nectar of the 1990s. It’s Surge time, people.
A classic citrus-soda bouquet. Is that Yellow #5 I smell? It does appear to be so.
I do hope this hasn’t gone flat. That would be vexing. The first sip is a little flat. (I’m really glad most of the sodas I drink come in bottles. I feel like that tends to provide a more satisfactory experience.)
It’s a crisp taste, not unlike Sprite, but with a definite orangey undertone. It’s almost like Sprite with a soupçon of Fresca.
I’m actually surprised how crisp it is. I think I was expecting something more sweet, more syrupy, like Mountain Dew.
It’s a pretty color. Like I said, like Chartreuse. Or absinthe, perhaps? Is absinthe green? “The Green Fairy”, right? But I digress.
All things considered, it is a pretty good soda. Does it reawaken memories of childhood? I confess it does not. The graphic design on the can is another matter; the typeface used for “citrus flavored soda”, I’m pretty sure, ceased to exist around the turn of the millenium. There’s an alternate can design that’s even more 90s:
I would frame that on my fucking wall. That is just pure 90s graphic design right there. Like the design for Mr. Pibb when it was Mr. Pibb, and not this “Pibb Xtra” bullshit.
I remain unsure as to whether I ever sampled Surge in my youth. I suppose it doesn’t matter, really–what matters is that I got to have this sort of last dance with the 90s, and drank a nice soda while I was at it.
Citrus sodas have never been my favorite–and admittedly, 16 ounces is a little more than I really wanted–but it’s nice and crisp and not too sweet, and if, when I pass the shop’s way again, I might just get one more can. Because you might only live once, but you can relive all you want.