While they’re not exactly craft sodas, I was excited to try Big Red and Big Blue due to their cultish regional fan base. The sodas hail from Texas with a long history of popularity. I remember seeing Big Red when I was younger, probably even drank it. A Sodafry reader insisted that I give it another shot and combined the challenge with the “blue” variation of the drink.
I found Big Red hard to describe. It’s sweet. Ridiculously sweet. It hits your palate like a handful of bubble gum flavored cotton candy…but prickly?? There’s an edge to the sweetness. I imagine that the slight bite to the soda comes from the caffeine added to the drink. Although I didn’t care for it I can understand why others would. Texas is full of bold flavors (Tex-Mex, BBQ, JJ Watt), and this super saturated soda doesn’t seem entirely out of place in that context. This puts it at a 5 on my rating scale.
Big Blue is a whole other story. I thought that Big Red was too sweet, Big Blue might be a weaponized version of soda. For real, I thought that four of my teeth rotted at first contact. The only discernible flavor I could pick out was corn syrup. This made it a bit smoother than Big Red, but that wasn’t an advantage in my book. To make sure I wasn’t fabricating this reaction out of some subconscious color bias I closed my eyes and mixed up the glasses and sampled them again. I could immediately identify Big Red from Big Blue, and Big Red was the obvious favorite. That puts Big Blue at a 4.
It’s hard to tell what the intended flavors of these sodas are, but looking at the ingredient labels does provide some interesting information. For one, it helps quantify the amount of sugar contained in both drinks. Big Blue is staggering. Big Red has a big more sugar per ounce than Coke, but Big Blue has about a third more than Big Red. Wow.
Big Red says that it has natural and artificial flavor. Big Blue only claims artificial flavor. I’m guessing that flavor is Blue 1. I don’t want to keep you from drinking the stuff, and I don’t want to alienate my readers, but I give both of these a hard pass. There are plenty of other options out there that offer more flavor, less sugar, and less…Blue 1.
Sampled on 9/21/2016. I believe they were purchased at a gas station somewhere.