Secret Diaries of Dr. Victor Drankenstein Ch 11: Dungeons and Dragon Joose
The Bumwine Chronicles have come and gone, and now it is time for Dr. Drankenstein to return to his carbonated, sugar-engorged roots. And what better way to make a stylish return to form than with a drink marketed towards dragons (or at least dragon enthusiasts)? This drink is definitely unique for its category, in that it’s not directly named for the flavor it is, nor does it contain any information on the can about what flavor it might in fact be. I’m going to go out on a limb though, and guess that Dragon Joose is probably grape.
Allow me to keep you in suspense though, while I dispense with the customary background information. Along with Four Loko, Tilt, and Sparks, Joose was one of four brands briefly forced off the market by the US government in late 2010. Citing an insidious devil’s brew of caffeine and alcohol, the helpful hand-holders at the FDA warned that these drinks were in fact super dangerous, then sat quietly and hoped we wouldn’t notice that the beer cooler is almost always the one right next to the energy drinks anyway.
Like the others, Joose was temporarily pulled from shelves and then rereleased minus the offending caffeine. Another thing they all have in common is a relatively high alcohol content, with Joose weighing in at 9.9-12%, depending on the flavor. Why that number is flavor dependent, I have no idea. I assure you it’s something I’m looking into though, so you’ll all know as soon as I know. Tilt is the same way, but Four Loko seems to be the same across the board.
In addition to the customary 24oz cans, Joose is also now being released in a “user-friendly” (quoted from their website) 12oz bottle. The 12oz variety contains a mere 8%ABV and is available in six-packs. Between the cans and bottles, Joose is available in nine flavors, all of which are named after their flavors, with the exception of Dragon. Although the Wikipedia page mentions something about a “Panther” flavor, there is no trace of it on their website. That’s a shame, there are too few drinks on the market named after jungle cats.
So now that you’ve all waited patiently, I can let you in on the big secret. Dragon Joose is, in fact, grape flavored. It’s a little more sour than other grape malt beverages I’ve had though, so perhaps that’s the reason for the inexplicable name? Dragons are pretty sour, right? You might think I’m getting hung up on this whole grape thing, but trust me. You haven’t done the “research” that I’ve done in this department. Grape is probably the most hands-off flavor of all time, especially in the corner store drank market. You just don’t mess with it by adding a second flavor, and you don’t change the name. Your malt beverage brand can have a flavor called Blue Razbizzle or one that’s Pomegranate/Mango Fusion, but between those two cans best be one marked “Grape” if you want any sort of consistent business.
Name oddities aside, this stuff is really good. If I had to compare it to another drink, it’d be the legendary Mt. Dew Pitch Black. For those unfamiliar with Pitch Black, it’s a sour grape Mt. Dew variant universally beloved by all soda drinkers. A drink which the good folks at PepsiCo periodically see fit to bestow upon us then remove again at a moment’s notice. For example, it was available in 2011 for all of eight weeks, at participating retailers. Who does that? It’s the Flying Dutchman of soda flavors, setting the Internet buzzing with each new sighting. Meanwhile, their Robitussin-flavored Code Red is on shelves year-round, despite nobody caring.
Man, that was kind of a tangent, huh? The point I was trying to make, I guess, is how happy I am to have found Dragon Joose. It’s close enough flavor-wise to get my Pitch Black fix whenever I need it- no longer will I be a thrall to the cruel overlords at PepsiCo. And there’s the added bonus of this stuff being jammed full of alcohol, so that’s a plus. And thanks to the dragon-emblazoned can, it will look just as much at home amidst the piles of dice and Magic decks on any gaming table.