There is something nostalgic about Warheads Soda. Not in a bike-riding, sprinkler-running, sleepover-camp kind of way, but more in a repulsive sort of “Remember how I used to think it was acceptable to eat Cool Ranch Doritos crushed over an untoasted bagel for lunch every day?” kind of way.
Forget summer vacation and not paying bills; my favorite childhood memory is the complete indifference I had to dietary carcinogens.
It’s macabre, really, this liquified monstrosity of a malic acid-coated candy. One imagines this being the type of formula kept from an unsuspecting public behind lock and key, not—as is actually happening—being hawked for allowance money at pubertal meccas like Hot Topic.
Despite (or maybe because of) this, Warheads Soda calls me, an adult, to the void. It beckons me to jump off a cliff I shouldn’t be on in the first place, a cliff typically reserved for pre-teens with eyebrow rings.
So now, a can of Warheads Soda lies in wait inside my refrigerator door. Its familiar “Kidz Bop Presents: Faces of Death” logo goggling out at me, daring me to risk it all and consume thirty-five grams of sour sugar in one chug.
As David Byrne might rhetorically ask: “How did I get here?”
There are five flavors of Warheads Soda. I have selected blue raspberry, the Mandela effect of fruits. I pour the contents into a glass, wanting to visually confront the use of “Blue 1” teased on the ingredient list.
The liquid itself is the kind of clear, brilliant blue usually seen in the most gorgeous sights on Earth: the sparkling bays of Santorini, the cerulean Crayola crayon, that delectable-looking barbershop comb disinfectant.
After double-checking that my life insurance covers accidental death due to beverage stupidity, I take the plunge and try it: it’s extremely sweet, pleasantly sour, and tastes all around like drinking a jungle juice vat of melted popsicles. While that might sound off-putting, the light carbonation adds just enough buoyancy to cut through an otherwise viscous azure syrup.
Yes, Warheads Soda is delicious, but ultimately, its biggest charm is in the leap you are required to take to crack one open. If you’re brave (or foolish) enough, for a few brief moments of freefall you can recapture that pure tweenage experience: wind in your hair, carbonation on your tongue, and no obligations beyond math worksheets that have answer keys in the textbook.
But take heart, when you do inevitably finish your sip and crash land on your arthritic knees, you can still stick it to those facial-piercing-having middle schoolers by doing something they can’t: adding vodka.