Back in my younger days, somewhere around 1891 or so, there were a number of classic soft drinks that were near and dear to my heart. There was Surge, the thinking man’s Mello Yello, which has returned and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. There was also the guarana-laced Josta, the best thing Pepsi ever created, which has yet to return. And there was Jolt Cola, much beloved among anyone who craved some liquid sleep and needed something to wash down the last pot of coffee.
Jolt Cola evolved and changed with time, getting all fancy pants with multiple flavors and battery-shaped cans and whatnot (which I didn’t mind, personally, but then again I enjoyed Blue Superman) but eventually it faded from public view. Jolt became like Bigfoot…you’d hear about somebody who’d hear about somebody who saw one in the wild, but you weren’t sure you believed them.
A couple of years ago, though, word came down the wire that it was returning. Apparently to Dollar General and Amazon. But I’ve been trying to cut back on sugar so I wasn’t eager to go seek it out. However…it sought me out. There I was in a vintage soda shop, minding my own business, when a can of Jolt caught my eye. Tchaikovsky’s “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet” started playing …and I knew it simply had to happen. Which was fine, because I could answer a question: was Jolt Cola really that good or had I just not discovered coffee yet? (I came to appreciate coffee late, and by that I mean late at night at my day job, mostly because they had free coffee.) Was I merely remembering Jolt through the veil of nostalgia and the loss of brain cells we call time? I was fully prepared to be disappointed.
Good news: I was not disappointed in the least. Not only has it gone back to the original logo, can and motto, but it also uses real sugar. (Did it use real sugar back in the day? This was 1891, after all, I don’t know if we had invented high fructose corn syrup by then.) I compare all colas to Coke, because Coke is sort of the platonic form of colas in my mind. And this comes damn close to the taste of Coke I am addicted to. I’m actually glad I can’t just find Jolt Cola down the street at just any store, because now that I know it’s still damn good, I might be drinking more of it than I should. As for caffeine content, it’s 160mg for the can (which is supposed to be two servings, but we all know it’s really one, right?) so that’s a decent amount…and when you couple it with the sugar, it’s enough to even get me slightly awake. Considering my current level of caffeine tolerance, I’m surprised I’m not sprinkling my salads with caffeine powder just to function. (By the way, don’t do that.)
Sometimes you can go home again. And if Jolt Cola isn’t home, it’s at least the mall arcade that had the good sit-down Spy Hunter. (Kids, ask your parents.)