Ugly Drinks
Mountain Ugly Energy Water

As the sun rises on the hills and hollows of the Bubbleverse, the sparkling, effervescent condensation that forms on the trees and grasses of our pristine wilderness trickles in bubbling rivulets down into crystal clear alpine streams.

This is the image that mountain dew conjures to our innocent & naive minds, at least.

In reality, the phrase “mountain dew” originated as a euphemism for moonshine, and was trademarked in 1948 as a soda used as a mixer for whisky drinks.

The original branding was a bizarre, appalachia-laden affair, featuring the slogan “it’ll tickle yore innards” and mascot with a shotgun named Willy the Hillbilly.

Over time, though, Mountain Dew has evolved and become much more sophisticated, as evidenced by the release of dew-flavored Doritos and the exclusive Taco Bell pairing menu.

The perennial meme hydration of choice for edgy adolescents and basement gamers, Mountain Dew’s appeal has historically been rooted in its 54 mg of caffeine per can, almost double the amount of caffeine in other caffeinated sodas.

But Ugly’s recent release of Mountain Ugly has changed the topography of vaguely citrus flavored caffeine delivery forever. Towering above the dews of yore (innards), Mountain Ugly contains 160 mg of caffeine in a 16 oz can.

Grab your wrap-around sunglasses: your World of Warcraft guild is going to be lit.

Tasting Notes


Whatever Mountain Dew’s amalgam of “citrus” flavors is, Ugly somehow cracked the citric code, carrying us to the top of the holy mountain of middle school LAN parties.

It’s lemon-y, it’s lime-y, there’s a hint of detergent, but it’s not straight-up Ugly Lemon-Lime. There’s some other dewiness at play in this, maybe orange? Some grapefruit? Whatever it is, it opens the floodgates of childhood memories of Mello Yellow, Surge, even a little Squirt.

Strangely, the finish is what gives it that classic dew flavor. An unmistakable tang that coats the mouth like a memory. What is it? An unspecified flavor that we thought had to be taste of Yellow #5, the pissy color that inspired that distinct flavor of fear, dominating the minds of young men everywhere in the ‘90s. Would Mountain Dew decrease your sperm count? Would it shrivel your manhood? For so many, it was worth the gamble.

But there’s no Yellow #5 in here: the Mountain Ugly is as clear as John Denver’s serene blue mountain lakes.

The wildest thing about this is that it tastes sweet. We’re almost tempted to call bullshit on Ugly’s insistence that there’s no sweeteners in here. You guys sure you didn’t slip some sucralose into your natural flavors?

Now, we’ll be honest: we haven’t actually drank any Mountain Dew since the 90s, and we’re not about to chug 46 grams of sugar — wait, holy shit, that’s how much sugar is in a 12oz can of Mtn. Dew??? — to do a taste test.

So if you’re a Dew Aficionado hoping to stop poisoning yourself by switching to Mountain Ugly, but you need a perfect taste replacement, we might not be the most reliable judges. You’ll just have to try it yourself.

But if you’re looking for a bizarrely accurate facsimile to tickle yore innards: this is it.

We’ve long greeted the day with a Hiball at the crack of dawn, and we are grateful to Ugly for finally bringing some new flavors to the world of mega-caffeinated sparkling water.

(Mountain Ugly is part of Ugly’s trio of new sparkling energy water flavors, along with Fruit Punch and Mango Soda. You can read our exegesis on their older energy flavors, in a side-by-side death match with Hiball here.)

Speaking of the crack of dawn, we do have to note that PepsiCo just released their new line of Mountain Dew “Rise” energy drinks, targeting the Millennial/Gen Z breakfast caffeine zeitgeist that we have apparently been vanguards of.

While Mtn. Dew Rise does contain sugar, it’s only 4 grams, which is impressive considering the namesake.  Still, we’ll stick with the Ugly, thanks.

This entire Fast Company article is a fascinating look into the mind of Fabiola Torres, CMO and SVP of Energy at PepsiCo, but we want to note here that Pepsi has finally used science to determine the six moments during the day that you need an energy boost.

They call it the “Framework of Energy” and these six moments are:

1. get started
2. keep going
3. charge up
4. tune in
5. elevate the night
6. chill out

If that doesn’t sound scientific to you, well, you’re obviously not a CMO. But it does serve as a handy road map for when to crack open a Mountain Ugly.

See you at the peak!


Carbonated Water, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Natural Caffeine, Niacinamide (vitamin B3), Guarana Seed Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, D-Calcium Pantothenate (vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (vitamin B6), Cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12)

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