Bug Juice – is it truly a junk food, you ask? Maybe not per se, but as I examined this little gem in the beverage section of my local convenience store, I just couldn’t resist its charms. On first glance, it seems to be nothing more than a novelty kid’s drink, no more original than those little plastic baby bottles filled with candy that make me vaguely uncomfortable for some reason. Maybe that’s true, but hey – it was 8am, I was hungover, and I bought it. So now we’re going to look at it.
The label is adorable – there’s a polka-dotted bee…thing, a vampire-fanged spider (obviously the villain in the cartoon tie-in – I mean look at those eyebrows), a humble ladybug that may or may not have been poisoned by Fangs Eyebrow, and that obviously drunk guy at the bottom that my Internet research tells me must be some sort of centipede/millipede hybrid. There’s also some sort of scared worm, but he seems to be more of a bit player. What a cast of characters! Who knows what kinds of wacky adventures they’ll get into next? We don’t know a whole lot about their backgrounds, but I did find this:
Let’s ignore the “especially for kids” part and get to the real meat: FROM THE JUNGLES OF THE GREAT NORTH COAST! Which coast? What continent? These guys are getting more interesting all the time!
There’s also a giant American flag, which I didn’t immediately notice in the store, being all absorbed in the potential mishaps of the Bug Brigade. I have several questions about that flag. Most obviously, what is it doing there? It has nothing to do with my interesting insect friends. Why is it so prominent? Do they really think I’m going to care that my Bug Juice is made in the U.S.A., when there’s so much more going on here?
I don’t have the answers to any of these questions, so let’s move on to the drink itself. As you can see, the liquid is colored neon blue, and is described as “Berry Raspberry”. I would think this to be an unlikely flavor for actual bug juice, but who am I to question? I also find the term “berry raspeberry” to be a bit redundant; I suppose it could be taken to mean “raspberry and also some other random berries you may have heard of”, but since the ingredient list predictably only lists “natural and artificial flavors”, we’ll never know.
But how does it taste? If you’re like me, you’re a sucker for all things that are both blue and ingestible. The fact that most blue foods are also raspberry flavored (way to take up the red market, cherry) is just an added bonus. So, as you might imagine, it tastes like most other blue raspberry things – sweet, but also with a nice kick of sour that leaves your lips all puckery and the back of your throat slightly angry at you. Just harken back to Kool-Aid’s Berry Blue, which I consider to be the grandfather of all blue foods, whether or not that is actually true, and you’ll get the idea of how this Bug Juice tastes. The biggest difference is that Bug Juice really amps up the sour – after drinking half of the kid-sized 10 oz. bottle, I felt like I needed to coat the inside of my mouth with a Lip Smacker.
An inexplicably award-shaped ribbon urges me to meet the bugs at www.drinkbugjuice.com. I wanted to, I really did. I was dying to know more about my new friends. However, going to that URL results in a holding page, informing me that the website is in development and will be online soon. Imagine my crushing disappointment. Bug Juice, you are a tease in every way.
Bug Juice definitely delivers on the packaging, from the cute critters to the petite size to the mysterious patriotism. Honestly, it could have tasted like Windex and I still wouldn’t have had any hard feelings for Fangs Eyebrow. The truth is, this drink is marketed just for kids, and the taste is something only a kid would really want to drink. As an adult, I’m probably not supposed to like blue raspberry as much as I do, but even I can’t get down with drinking a whole bottle of what is essentially the outer coating on a blue Warhead candy. If you’re under the age of twelve, you’ll probably like Bug Juice, and if you’re an adult who eats lemons for fun, you’ll probably like Bug Juice, too. Outside of those demographics, you’ll probably find your face turning inside out after the first swallow.