You Should Think Twice About Using Mountain Dew In Mixed Drinks

Mountain Dew may technically be a citrus soda, but it's an entirely different animal from Sprite and 7UP. Lemon-lime sodas are bar staples, offering a mild citrus flavor, light sweetness, and carbonation for a fizzy mouthfeel. It's a foundational ingredient in such iconic cocktails as the Tequila Slammer, Shirley Temple, Razzamataz, Seven & Seven, and many more. Mountain Dew, on the other hand, is an entity unto itself. And while the Dew might be a soda-sipper superstar, you should use it in mixed drinks advisedly. 

This is mainly because a 20-ounce bottle of it contains a breathtaking 77 grams of sugar (for reference, it takes 16 Oreo cookies to get near that amount). So we're not saying don't use it, but if you do, be prepared for an exceedingly sweet cocktail. Not only is that what some folks are looking for, it was very much the style of mixed drinks in the 1980s. But historian and master bartender Simon Difford calls the decade's trend of sickeningly sweet sour mixes with neon colors to match "grim" and tacky as opposed to camp. 

Mountain Dew's fluorescent hue and equally vibrant flavor profile may have made it the fuel of frat brothers and gamers, and included in a mixed drink, it has the same vibe as Aftershock liqueur or a pre-makeover Four Loko. But for detractors like Difford, who think cocktails are reserved for something a bit more sophisticated, it just won't do. 

Mountain Dew is too overpowering...unless that's what you're going for

As ill-fitting as some regard it for mixed drinks, Mountain Dew has had a long relationship with booze. When the now-giant soda was originally invented in the 1930s, it was a type of whiskey hooch. According to lore, "mountain dew" is actually slang for moonshine. Today, it's proven tough to keep Mountain Dew spirits down — in the business sense and, for some, the literal sense. You can order a tequila-spiked Baja Blast Freeze at Taco Bell Cantinas, and as of March, you could get PepsiCo's boozy, orange-flavored, all-caps offering, HARD MTN DEW Livewire.

But if you care to take part, the best thing seems to be to lean into the tacky, and enjoy the Dew with ingredients that are proportionately powerful. You could play with its citric flavors and make a cocktail with Mountain Dew, spiced rum, and orange juice, or for a Tokyo Tea ripoff, combine Mountain Dew, melon liqueur, triple sec, and pineapple juice. You could even swap Mountain Dew for the lime juice in a traditional margarita or use it in place of cola for a Long Island Iced Tea for the ages. 

So, give it a try ... or don't. Some might find it useful for masking a four-finger pour of well liquor in a red solo cup, others might just enjoy the bro-ey rebellion of thumbing their noses at cocktail snobs.