What do we have here? Why, it’s another energy shot from Aldi! It’s no surprise that their Red Thunder energy shots are one of my favorites on the market (and one of the best deals out there), so then it’s probably a safe bet that this one will be along the same lines, right? If only everything in life were so easy…
For starters, I can’t even find what product this is supposed to be knocking off—I only know of shots that give you five hours of energy that come in this size, but have never seen any kind of “relief and recovery” shot, at least in this format. The first thing that sprang to mind was “Life Support”, but those cans are almost twice the size, and feature Japanese tree nuts as a main ingredient (this is just according to their website…I’ve never had it before). So I think this is just meant to be its own thing, something Aldi should do more often!
Anyway, a quick perusal of the ingredients reveals that this is pretty much one of their typical energy shots, only with actual juice in it. Okay, that seems like it could be pretty cool. I must admit that I’m a little off-put by the $1.49 price tag, but hey, if the juice is going to add that much more to the flavor experience, then I’m all down for it! Another quick reading of the label claims that one should drink one shot before and after alcohol consumption. Oh, so wait, this is supposed to counter-balance the effects of alcohol? Weren’t alcoholic beverages containing caffeine in hot water a few years back for essentially trying to negate the felt effects of alcohol?
Needless to say, I haven’t been in a drinking mood for quite some time, so I only used it as a straightforward energy shot…if you’re an alcoholic who actually tried this for its intended reason, please feel free to share your experience in the comments!
The first thing you will notice is that it’s very, very tart…I mean, lip-puckeringly so. I can usually take a good bit of tartness (though it admittedly isn’t my favorite kind of flavor), but this is just the kind of super-sour that makes your tastebuds tingle. The initial cranberry tartness, however, is almost immediately followed up by the exact same kind of artificial sweetness found in “typical” energy shots, which once again has brought me back to square one in wondering: what the hell is the point of this? It’d be one thing if we were looking at a caffeinated shot with juice, but when juice is the only addition—and one that apparently commands a $.50 price hike—then I’m just kind of lost. Supposedly, it’s also meant to boost metabolism, but doesn’t caffeine already do that for a short while anyway?
A comparison of ingredients between the two kinds of shots does reveal a few differences, such as 22 calories per 2 oz. serving for this recovery shot, versus less than 10 calories for the “regular” extra strength version. This juiced version also has slightly more sodium (8 mg here versus a mere 1.5g in the extra strength shot), as well as a different energy blend containing Leucine, Lysin, Valin, and a few other things that sound like a mix of household cleaners and prescription drugs that are missing from the extra strength shot. I can’t say for sure what these do differently than the regular energy shots would to block alcohol sluggishness, but I’m assuming there’s some kind of science (at best; it’s probably just a marketing ploy) behind it.
I will have to say that, like their regular extra strength shots, this contains a solid 230 mg of caffeine, and I certainly noticed a pretty big energy kick after downing some of this shot. Again, not sure how well it’ll keep you going during a night of drinking, but I could see it stifling the effects of alcohol consumption at least for a few hours, especially if you down two energy shots (one before and one after drinking) as the “directions” suggest. But then you’d be getting a whopping 460 mg of caffeine, which could also be a pretty dangerous situation when mixed together. Besides, if you’re really that hell-bent on counteracting alcohol consumption, I’m sure you could get very similar results just downing two of their extra strength energy shots, and save yourself $1 in the process.
I wished Aldi would get more energy-enhancing drinks…and this is the best they could come up with?
Overall: 5/10. Unless I’m missing something, I just find these to be a rather gigantic waste of money compared to their $.99 extra strength shots, which have just as much caffeine and still deliver a solid rush. I mean, on the one hand it does get rid of the “artificial and natural flavors” of the cheaper energy shot, but it still has “berry flavoring” (which sounds suspiciously like a “natural flavor”), sucralose, sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate, which still lead to an artificially fake ending flavor that almost completely negates the excessive tartness (and real juiciness) of the initial swig. If it were priced more in line with the regular, we might be looking at some kind of deal, but unless getting real juice on top of your sugarless chemicals is that important to you, I’d consider these as a rather lame misfire.