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Red Bull's new cola disappoints, naturally

February 27, 2009 |  3:57 pm

P1010374When a four-pack of the new Red Bull Cola arrived in my editor's mailbox, he kindly passed it off to us plebeians in the bullpen. I was the most excited of all because I consume Red Bull with almost anything (read: vodka, jagermeister, breakfast cereal…). We cracked open our slender 12-ounce cans and began to chug, anticipating an afternoon spent cranking out fresh copy at warp speed.

"This tastes like Heidi Montag's tears," said one of my co-workers. Disappointment set in almost immediately as I realized: Red Bull Cola has no taurine. It's as befuddling as it sounds. The only caffeine it contains is derived naturally from coffee beans. It has about 10 milligrams more caffeine than either Pepsi or Coke, but that's still about 30 milligrams less than regular Red Bull, and about 50 milligrams less than what it takes for us to start making some bad decisions.

"Why a cola from Red Bull?" asks the drink's pamphlet. "Why not?" it answers. Well, Red Bull, I'll tell you why not. Because you're Red Bull. Your sole job is to lift the world's 21-year-old Tri Delt alumnae onto a fleeting wave of tooth-rotting adrenaline.

And what's with the all-natural ingredient list? It reads like the bulk bin roster at my local food co-op: kola nut, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, pine, vanilla, ginger, mace, licorice, cacao, mustard seed. Mustard seed? Really? I expect zero purity from the Red Bull brand. I want it to initiate slow-speed car chases down Cahuenga Boulevard on Friday nights, not gently remove the toxins I work so hard to maintain in my bloodstream.

A 12-ounce can retails for about $1.50. Beyond tee-totaling final-exam-takers, I'm not sure who this drink will appeal to.

--Jessica Gelt

Photo: August Brown / Los Angeles Times