December 13, 2005 5:30 AM   Subscribe

Remember Surge? It was a Mountain Dew knockoff from the Super Wicked Radical days of the mid 90's. Reflecting the times, Surge was the color of radiator coolant and as thick as labrador drool. Inexplicably, it failed (except in Norway and also may have been the inspiration for this). The site is a magnificent document of true love for a dead product (and the opposite of Pepsi Blue on so many levels.)
posted by Mayor Curley (61 comments total)
Surge.... 'cause Mello Yello is for hippies!

I loved the stuff, personally - but then again, I worked at a restaurant that served the stuff and was often tired. In regards to the "radiator coolant" comment, the syrup would not freeze. We attempted to make popsicles in the deep-freeze. -5°F and no luck.
posted by benATthelocust at 5:54 AM on December 13, 2005

They had Surge in a soda fountain for one year in my college dorm cafeteria. I don't remember it being as thick as you're saying but I can vouch that it looked exactly like antifreeze. Ironically, Red Bull is still around, which actually tastes like antifreeze, yet Surge went away and it actually tasted good. Granted it would have defied half its purpose, but if there was a diet version I'd have bought gallons of it; the problem was a single glass of the stuff was about 800% of your daily recommended sugar intake.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:55 AM on December 13, 2005

I'm stunned. I had one just yesterday, totally unaware of it's cult status.

It's not appriciably thicker than other soft drinks, though.

The first person who emails me that really, really wants a bottle will get one in the mail, on condition that s/he mails me something cool in return.
posted by Harald74 at 5:58 AM on December 13, 2005

which actually tastes like antifreeze

You've really tasted antifreeze for comparision?
posted by alumshubby at 6:03 AM on December 13, 2005

As a young teenager when Surge promotions offered a sixpack for a as little as a buck, I have a special place in my heart for the first drink to teach me the joys of substance abuse.
posted by allan at 6:05 AM on December 13, 2005

I thought tasting like antifreeze would be a benefit.

But it seems like every niche beverage has a cult following. Ecto Cooler, Crystal Pepsi, TaB... but strangely none for New Coke.
posted by kyleg at 6:06 AM on December 13, 2005

Sucks. I liked new Coke. Not so sure I'll like Coke Blak. I suspect I'd rather smash my toes with a hammer.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:11 AM on December 13, 2005

Ah yes...the 2nd most important ingredient of the Bob Dylan. The ice doesn't count.
Thick? Maybe it was the J├Ągermeister.
posted by badger_flammable at 6:18 AM on December 13, 2005

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola attempted once again to top Mountain Dew with Vault ... a beverage that looks a whole lot like Surge.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:25 AM on December 13, 2005

None of them holds a candle to the other official drink of Scotland, Irn-Bru. Unfortunately it's not easy to find it in the States.
posted by SteveInMaine at 6:28 AM on December 13, 2005

Surge! Holy cow, flashback to middle school. Surge was my best friend's drink of choice. I forgot all about Surge.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:32 AM on December 13, 2005 [1 favorite]

Hello, I am Serge, and how may I help you?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:33 AM on December 13, 2005

Yes, but when will Apple Slice receive its proper requiem?
posted by 8 Bit at 6:43 AM on December 13, 2005

I do not know this Surge whereof you speak, but I do know that your generation are lazy, lazy. In my day we had to make our own sludgy chemical brews. My beverage of choice was Tang mixed to the consistancy of tar. Mmmm.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:46 AM on December 13, 2005

benATthelocust Odd, I specifically remember putting cups of Surge in the freezer and having huge, delectable ice pops that I would eat when our family went on road trips.

I once found a gas station in rural Virginia that didn't get the memo that Surge was out of production. It was about 3 years ago. It was the last time I tried the wonderful liquid sugar.
posted by cloeburner at 6:59 AM on December 13, 2005


*jumps over a couch inexplicably placed in the middle of a highway*
posted by cloeburner at 6:59 AM on December 13, 2005

Ah, Surge. Back when we were too young to traffic narcotics, the cool kids at my middle school had quite a black market established for the stuff. Walk to the Kwik Shop up the road, buy a few 6-packs at 99 cents a pop. Smuggle them into school, sell cans out of your locker for a buck each. Profit!
Also, the first time I ever tasted Surge was at a boat show. They were handing out free samples. The lady at the booth told me that it had "low carbonation" and could therefore be used as a sports drink. I think I believed her until I saw that it came in pop cans.
posted by PhatLobley at 7:01 AM on December 13, 2005

I prefer OK Cola.
posted by spilon at 7:10 AM on December 13, 2005

I remember Surge. I'm kind of a marketing buff especially when it comes to junkfood, so I bought a two liter bottle. It was OK, like Mountain Dew, more or less, but we already have Mountain Dew, which renders it all pointless. Me and three female friends mixed it with some vodka one night. One of them drank herself under the table. I mean, she was literally, under the table rolling around and gibbering. No joke.

Surge is dangerous stuff, children.
posted by jonmc at 7:15 AM on December 13, 2005

Oh, man. I remember when the promotional truck came around and was handing out cans to all of us in high school. no memory of what it tasted like. (sadly?)
posted by kalimac at 7:16 AM on December 13, 2005

I still have a Surge keychain on an old backpack from college days.

It was like drinking caffinated syrup, and I loved every minute I had to pry myself off the ceiling.
posted by fnord at 7:19 AM on December 13, 2005

Let's Bring it Back!
One of the most effective steps you can take to bring SURGE back is to write to your local Coca-Cola bottler. They are responsible for deciding which beverages are available in your area and they do value input from consumers. The more SURGE fans who make their voices heard the better chance we have to bring it back!

I love this, thanks for the post
posted by matteo at 7:23 AM on December 13, 2005

There's always Faygo Moon Mist.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:24 AM on December 13, 2005

... Tang mixed to the consistancy of tar.

Funny you should mention that. In HS I used to brew strong yerba mate and sweeten it with Tang. That was before I hooked myself on the light sweet crude, of course.
posted by lodurr at 7:27 AM on December 13, 2005

Ironically, Red Bull is still around, which actually tastes like antifreeze, yet Surge went away and it actually tasted good.

Um, how exactly do you know what antifreeze tastes like? Even a spoonfull would kill you. I was always told that it tasted 'sweet' anyway.
posted by delmoi at 7:33 AM on December 13, 2005

Good god. cloeburner, I am amazed noone else has mentioned the ads for teh SURGE. "Hey fellas, lets all get cool haircuts and then I'll yell "uh... surge!?" and then you all fall all over each other tryin' to climb up a hill...!"

posted by zoinks at 7:36 AM on December 13, 2005

My only memory of Surge is one of its radio ads - a rough, "hip" (ha!) voice boasted about the fact it was "LOADED WITH CARBOS!" Great - carbos. Carbohydrates. Known elsewhere as SUGAR. (Or, more likely, HFCS.) The ad seemed so condescending and insulting that I swore never to touch the stuff, and apparently, the ads were not terribly effective.

Now if the rest of the soft-drink industry would disappear the same way, we'd be doing well.
posted by deadcowdan at 7:42 AM on December 13, 2005

I loved Surge. I had a friend who loved Surge. I once spent over $80 sending a 24-pack of Surge to this friend internationally. Such was our love for Surge.
posted by moonbiter at 7:49 AM on December 13, 2005

My memory of Surge was that it felt more syrupy in your mouth than similar sodas (Mt. Dew and Mellow Yellow). If you compare its Nutrition Facts to a Mt. Dew (live wire), it appears that Surge has both "maltodextrin (glucose polymers)" and "carob bean gum" that Dew does not. Both of those sound something like thickening agents.

The best form of Surge I ever had was the Surge Surplee from 7-11, now that was good. Of course, Surge alternated with Coke during an all night demo party... that was pretty good.
posted by skynxnex at 8:02 AM on December 13, 2005

spilon, damn, I had completely forgotten about OK Cola! Oh, the memories!
posted by kimota at 8:12 AM on December 13, 2005

Spilon, I liked OK Cola too.
posted by notmtwain at 8:13 AM on December 13, 2005

When I was in High School, they handed out free 16oz. bottles to everyone one lunch time. My friend drank six of them. He made it through 5th hour without going to the bathroom. In six hour (a class I had with him), he explained why he was so jittery. Then the teacher made him sit through a test before he could go to the bathroom. I've never seen anyone take an exam so quickly.

Feed the Rush indeed.

I'm going to start making money on the side by importing Ecto Cooler, Tang, and now Surge.
posted by dial-tone at 8:41 AM on December 13, 2005

I remember Surge vaguely - never tried it, my caffeinated beverage of choice was and still is old trusty Diet Coke - but I do feel that Surge was the basis for the Futurama episode featuring Slurm.
posted by LilBucner at 8:44 AM on December 13, 2005

Remember Cappio?
posted by swift at 8:47 AM on December 13, 2005

it was OK *SODA* you heathens.

God I miss OK SODA.
posted by stenseng at 8:49 AM on December 13, 2005

They came to my high school, too, with a big truck full of free Surge in the parking lot. It was like a food truck arriving in a refugee camp. I remember crowds of students surronding the truck then running through the halls with armfulls of soda cans and inexplicably hoarding them in their lockers. There was no class that day. Everyone was too hopped up on the green stuff.
posted by Alison at 9:18 AM on December 13, 2005 [1 favorite]

surge > mountain dew.
posted by clyde at 9:21 AM on December 13, 2005

Surge was great.

These days I've moved on to the similarly-flavored Full Throttle.

Too bad they never made Surge in the larger Full Throttle-sized cans...
posted by First Post at 10:15 AM on December 13, 2005

The real cult soda "OK Soda" made by coke. Does anyone remmeber it? It tasted like Dr. Pepper mixed with Sprite. For some strange reason I enjoyed it. There was a 1800 number you could call for OK adivice. The label and can were pretty much grey with the work OK soda is red.

Yummm, all I need now i a crystal pepsi.
posted by AMWKE at 10:23 AM on December 13, 2005

Surge = Slurm
posted by apis mellifera at 10:48 AM on December 13, 2005

AMWKE, OK soda, the w+k marketed 'anti-coke' has already been mentioned a bunch of times in ts thread, s yeah - other people do remember it. :)
posted by dabitch at 10:54 AM on December 13, 2005

who ate my letters?
posted by dabitch at 10:54 AM on December 13, 2005

I am certain I have seen Surge for sale in the last 2 months. I cannot recall where, but likely a very rural gas station I tend to stop at whilst motorcycling.

I am not impressed by Vault, but the new Mountain Dew MDX or whatever is at least drinkable. But still not what I would call "good". I have to literally choke down something like Red Bull, so I tend to drink them very, very rarely. I think in 2005 I have had 4 "energy drinks".

Is there a particular reason "energy drinks" all taste like horse piss? Is it due solely to the ingredients, and it cannot be improved?

Or is it some kind of protection mechanism to keep you from chugging 12 of them?
posted by Ynoxas at 11:01 AM on December 13, 2005

Dandelion and Burdock*

That's a fizzy drink.

*may not taste of/contain dandelion and/or burdock.
posted by lalochezia at 11:39 AM on December 13, 2005

I have fond memories of two long-gone sodas of my youth... Red Baby ("pop in the mouth" [pop!]) and Aspen. I've mentioned them to people and they look at me like I'm hallucinating.
posted by scody at 11:53 AM on December 13, 2005

Heh, brings back memories of trying to play some table-top RPG after sucking back a 1L bottle of the stuff.

I still like Jolt, though (warning, annoying annoying flash - and big "buy stuff now" boxes).
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:59 AM on December 13, 2005

Me, I was a Rondo fan. That was a manly drink.

Slam it down quick!
posted by maxsparber at 12:49 PM on December 13, 2005

Am I the only person who actually LIKES the taste of Red Bull? Yeah? OK. Nevermind. I mean... yeah! It tastes like antifreeze!

I'd forgotten about Surge. I always thought it was ridiculous that such an unhealthy product was marketed as an "X-Treme" sports drink. That said, I drank it religiously.
posted by brundlefly at 12:54 PM on December 13, 2005

*Looks to see what namechecks are left*

I miss Like Cola, the "natural" cola made from real cola nuts.

Actually, I can't remember the taste of Like at this point. I do miss Snapple root beer.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:10 PM on December 13, 2005

I seem to recall that Like was more or less indistinguishable, to me, from Royal Crown.
posted by lodurr at 1:39 PM on December 13, 2005

Yes, Rondo! The Thirst Crusher! Man, now I want a Crystal Pepsi. I used to get 12-packs for a dollar ...
posted by mrgrimm at 1:47 PM on December 13, 2005

Actually, some of my earliest experiences sneaking drinks from my parents liquor cabinet involved using Surge as a mixer. Peach Schnapps and Surge was excellent when I was fourteen (not sure I could stomach it now), and I really wish I'd had that recipe for a Bob Dylan listed above...
posted by jrb223 at 1:54 PM on December 13, 2005

Back in college when I was delivering pizza, I use to grab a 2-liter od Surge on the way out the door on my first run.

I had to give it up as it made my heart hurt.
posted by Mick at 2:18 PM on December 13, 2005

Surge. omfg. I think that I ran to a soda machine every day after school during junior high to get that stuff. As I recall, I liked it because it was sweeter and less fizzy than mountain dew.
posted by Orrorin at 3:18 PM on December 13, 2005

What about Orbitz, the clear, syrup-cola with floating globs of snot inside?
posted by my sock puppet account at 4:28 PM on December 13, 2005

What about Orbitz, the clear, syrup-cola with floating globs of snot inside?

Ewww. I remember the first time I saw that. Never got a chance to try, however. Reminds me of the later "bubble tea" fad.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:17 PM on December 13, 2005

Orbitz was pretty gross; the whole point was that the blobs were the same density as the drink, so the liquid was incredibly thick. Even chilled, it just didn't appeal.
posted by jenovus at 5:31 PM on December 13, 2005

Josta is the finest beverage ever. I only got through high school because of it's double stimulant goodness. I was quite addicted to it, and now years after it was pulled I still get cravings for it.

One day I had the horrible experience of being given false hope of it's return. It was about 4 years after it was gone, and my local convenience store had one of those big R2-D2 looking tubs of iced 20oz soda's sitting near the counter. And what did meet my eyes? 3 of those delicious Jostas mixed among the 50 or so other assorted drinks.

My companion (who was my partner in Josta addiciton) and I feverishly quizzed the manager only to find out it was a half filled box they uncovered in the storeroom, that provided the sweet nectar, not as we had assumed a full scale return.

Needless to say, we treasured those last 3 bottles, even after sitting in a dank storage room for almost half a decade it was still the finest non-alcoholic beverage I had ever put to my lips.

posted by Jezztek at 8:41 PM on December 13, 2005

Rondo. Great stuff. Worth reminiscing over.
posted by jiawen at 10:31 PM on December 13, 2005

7Up Gold. I miss it.
posted by yerfatma at 9:52 AM on December 14, 2005

To me, Josta tasted exactly like Rock 'N' Rye. Definitely more of a punch, but I can never feel caffeine from anything but coffee (or snorting No-Doz).
posted by mrgrimm at 5:11 PM on December 14, 2005

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