5 New Energy Drinks, Ranked by an Energy Drink Virgin

What happens when an energy drink virgin tries five new energy drinks and records her experience? Will she uncover which popular brand of energy drink works the best? Will she get the jitters and find herself unable to concentrate on any work whatsoever? Will she…keel over and die? Find out! 

Yes, you read that correctly. Before starting the research phase of this article, I had never consumed an entire energy drink. Maybe a sip here or there, to test the waters—but I’ve always been a coffee person, through-and-through. Sure, every now and then I’d look at all the colorful energy drinks glistening on the 7-Eleven shelves and think, damn, those are so pretty. But I never really felt the need to experiment. 

And yet! Here we are, with an impressive lineup of five new energy drinks—including the new Red Bull flavor and the new Monster flavor. I’m grading on two main factors here: 1) taste, and 2) overall energy drink experience. Obviously, I am no dietician, and my body chemistry is going to be different than yours. Consider this ranking more of a series of personal diary entries about the week I drank too many energy drinks. (And, no, I did not workout after each energy drink—I’m just not hitting the gym that consistently, so we’re not going to include my “gains” as a factor here. I don’t even know what “gains” really means.) 

Reign Sour Gummy Worm

Dear diary, why do all energy drinks taste the same? Like artificially sweetened Vitamin Water steeping in metal? Any additional flavors are so subtle, you can barely pick them out of a lineup. Here’s my gripe with this one in particular: If you put the word “sour” on a can, I want to sip it and squint. But Reign’s Sour Gummy Worm, a new Reign flavor that hit shelves in February, gives more “gummy” than “sour.” I’m not mad at it, but I have to dock a few points for false advertising. Reign also has a whopping 300mg of caffeine per can and yet, by the end of the day, it didn’t throw me into an anxiety spiral, it didn’t upset my stomach (in fact, none of these did—and I’m pretty sensitive to caffeine), and it was the only new energy drink on this list that cured my caffeine headache. Can someone tell me why energy drinks, even when they contain thrice the amount of caffeine I’m getting from my oat milk latte (yes, I’m that girl) every morning, still leave me with caffeine withdrawal? Leave a comment if you know the answer, thanks!

Celsius Sparkling Oasis Vibe

Oasis Vibe came out in spring of last year, so this isn’t a strictly new energy drink—but Instacart canceled my order for Blue Razz Lemonade, and this was the newest Celsius flavor I could find at my local 7-Eleven when I went to find a back-up, okay? I expected something named “Oasis Vibe” to be relatively calming—no, sir. This “prickly pear” energy drink is pretty invigorating. With 200mg of caffeine, I was given the self-confidence of someone much taller, stronger, and itching for a fight. (No jitters, though, which is nice.) We ranked Oasis Vibe near the middle of the pack in our Celsius ranking, and I concur that, taste-wise, it’s nothing spectacular. There’s a bitterness I personally like, and the stronger fizziness really lives up to its “sparkling” name.

Rockstar Focus Sugar Free White Peach

Dear diary, did you know the new line of Rockstar Focus contains 200mg of caffeine and an alleged brain-stimulating mushroom called Lion’s Mane? This was actually the first energy drink I tried, and wowee, what a way to begin. As I said aloud, to no one, after just three sips, “Today is the day I might die.” I was buzzing. Bouncing and dancing at my desk like a lunatic. Around the two-hour mark, though, my energy level took a nose-dive. If you need to cram for an exam, Rockstar Focus might be the best energy drink to pick up—but you need to have at least a good eight hours available to sleep off the impending crash. Also, this is probably not the best energy drink for people with anxiety; this was the closest I came to a panic attack throughout this experiment. (Hey, it was the first one I tried. And sometimes first times can be nerve-wracking!) 

Monster Energy Ultra Fantasy Ruby Red

As an energy drink virgin, I went into this with a healthy fear of Monster. It could be the name, the black and neon colors dominating the shelves of any convenience store, or the sheer size of the can, but I really thought this one would spell my death. But I was pleasantly surprised by Ultra Fantasy Ruby Red, the new Monster flavor that launched in late January. The grapefruit flavor is fairly mild, but the ruby red packaging sure is aesthetically pleasing. My energy levels rose and plateaued for a good stretch, and my heart rate stayed pretty steady—makes sense, given it only has 150mg of caffeine (only seems like a crazy word to use, but it’s the lowest on this list). 

Sea Blue Red Bull

I’m about to get flamed in the comments for this, because yes, my top two energy drinks happened to also have the least amount of caffeine content. But the new Red Bull flavor, Sea Blue, just has so much going for it: a zingy taste, thanks to the juneberry; a balanced burst of energy with no impending crash, thanks to the 115mg of caffeine; and such a pretty sea blue color! (Thanks to, you know, the name.) If I’m going to consume energy drinks on the regular, I’m coming back to Red Bull. At the very least, I’ll be scouting the shelves for new Red Bull flavors to try from now on. 

About the Author

Ariana Losch

Ariana Losch is a Sporked contributor, webcomic writer, java junkie, and bad TV enthusiast. She only ever feels at peace laying out on a beach like a kebab, roasting in the sun; sadly, she can never move back to Florida, her home state, because there simply isn’t enough good Mediterranean food. You can find her overstaying her welcome at just about every LA coffee shop, working on a screenplay and avoiding all eye contact. (She is embarrassed to be there, please leave her alone.)

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  • I really like the Monster they are my favorite ❤️ drink…… 💘

  • If you love the juneberry wait till you try the new summer edition Curuba Elderflower..would love to hear your feedback on that one

  • My stores nearby have different sizes.. could you tell me what yours were for these experiments? Thanks!

    My dad goes through Rockstar Zeros like it’s nobody’s business.. but I can have a backup Red Bull in the refrigerator for weeks, he drinks it and NEVER replaces it 😩 but it’s all he needs all day, I’m like, 😤😮‍💨😒