Just as in the world of alcohol, the soda industry is overladen with gimmicky bits of ephemera. Compare Cherry Coke to cherry vodka or cherry rum or cherry moonshine or Wild Cherry Boone’s Farm.
Different versions of different sodas are constantly marching out the door, and just as quickly shuffled under the rug once they realize they turn give your piss just a bit of warm bioluminescence.
However, every once in a while something sticks. Mountain Dew – the perennial favorite of 12 year olds yelling racial slurs on Xbox Live – isn’t exactly known for their subtle flavors. Neither are they considered fair game in the “legitimate” cocktail industry. After all, with the nauseating god-knows-what that goes into Code Red, no spirit would be able to stand up to the flavors.
That’s why we’re hoping Mountain Dew’s newest release – Dewshine – actually sticks around for a little while.
Presented in a glass bottle, a classier label, and a softer flavor, it may not win over the Call of Duty crowd, but it actually got us thinking cocktails.
Released nationwide earlier this spring, Dewshine is softer than mountain, and a little bit sweeter and heavier, considering it uses sugar versus HFC. It tastes more 7-Up than Mountain Dew.
Now, there are some who like to shit on the usage of sodas in cocktails, but there’s a reason they’ve been used as mixers for as they’ve been around. Mixed in the right proportions you can make some amazing things. I’d challenge even the most hardened cocktail snob to turn up their nose at a well-made Cuba Libre.
Even more fitting, Mountain Dew itself was created to be mixed with whiskey after its originators had trouble tracking down their preferred mixer back in the 1930s. Not only that, “mountain dew” was common Southern slang for moonshine and the soda’s initial bout of marketing focused heavily around the hillbilly/moonshine runner theme. Inexorably, Mountain Dew’s history is then married to the (illicit) spirits industry.
While they’ve certainly strayed from those roots, it appears that PepsiCo is at least making attempts and returning to form. Visually and aesthetically at least.
Because it’s lighter, we decided to pair the Dewshine with a nice, spicy rye, bitters, and just a bit of citrus to cut through the sweet.
Rye and Shine
- 2 oz rye whiskey (the spicier the better, like a Rittenhouse or Crown Royal Northern Harvest)
- Angostura bitters
- Juice from 1/4 lemon
- Mountain Dew Dewshine
Place an ice ball in a rocks glass and completely cover it with Angostura bitters. Add the rye and lemon juice. Swirl gently around (you don’t want to crack the glass with the ice) and then top with the Dewshine.
Again, because you’re mixing with soda you need to expect the drink to sway sweet. The stronger bite of the rye will take some of that syrup off, and the addition of the fresh lemon juice brings out the bite from the Dewshine. The Angostura bitters (or really any type of bitters you may like) will balance it out and give some extra depth.