I don’t generally talk about caffeine here, but I love it just as much as ice cream, and consume way more of it. I drink black coffee every single day, and throw in a sugar free energy drink 3-5 times a week, too. I swore these types of drinks off for most of my adult life after becoming nearly addicted to Monster in the mid 2000s, but a couple of years ago they caught my eye again and I’ve found quite a few that I really love. I’ve never really been the type of dude to review beverages (except that one time I wrote about Diet Coke), but as someone that drinks a helluva lot of them I couldn’t help but write about this new collaboration from GHOST energy and two very notable candy brands. GHOST is a supplement company that makes a ton of solid health-related products including some killer protein powder (my favorite was Blueberry Toaster Pastry, RIP). For their first line of ready to drink (RTD) energy drinks they’ve come in swinging with four flavors, including a partnership with Sour Patch Kids and WarHeads.
First things first let’s cover the similarities. All four flavors are clear-ish (more of a light tinted brown), with nice tight bubbles that accentuate the flavors (and sourness) in a way that compliments and excites my palate without being overly bubbly. They all come in at 5 calories each with no sugar, one carb, and a shit ton of vitamins. 100% of your daily Vitamin C, Thamin, B6 and B12, as well as 200 mg of natural caffeine from coffee beans to get you amped, and 1000 mg of taurine for enhanced focus. The primary sweetener used is sucralose, which is my favorite and has no disgustingly bitter aftertaste like Stevia or monk fruit.
Sour Patch RedBerry:
This is the flavor I was most excited about and it’s nearly perfect. Sour and sweet, this one carries that distinct RedBerry flavor that’s so accurate I can sense the squish digging into my molars. Not quite cherry, not quite strawberry, but all the way red berry. The carbonation is perfect and it’s nearly impossible to stop drinking. Every sip I take I think “is this real? Let me drink some more to check.” Yep, it’s real, and it rules. The only thing holding this one back from a perfect score is a bit of a vitamin smell that pops out from the can when you first drink it. Those first couple of sips can be interrupted by the vitamin presence and kinda takes you out of the candy-sipping experience, but doesn’t really effect the taste as much as it does the aroma. Luckily it’s only temporary, and the journey is largely rewarding. Amazing.
Update: the people at GHOST heard the noise and changed the formula and there is no longer ANY vitamin taste or smell. Original rating was a 9.5/10 and it has been upgraded to perfection.
Sour Patch Blue Raspberry:
The first Ghost Energy follow up flavor came in swinging with another Sour Patch fan favorite, and much like its RedBerry forefather, absolutely crushed it. It has the same beautiful sweet and sour balance that gets accented by the drink’s tight effervescence that shines with true blue razz razzle dazzle. There isn’t a ton to say here, if you’ve had and like Sour Patch Kids you will love this drink, and thanks to the V2 formula there are no funky aromas or aftertastes at all. This is going to come down strictly to flavor preference and since the blue Sour Patch Kid was never top tier for me, I still prefer the Red Berry, although this is no doubt one of the best sour blue raspberry’s on the market.
So far the best flavors from Ghost Energy have been far and away the brand tie-ins with notable candy companies. Orange Cream gets Ghost trending in the right direction with original flavors, embracing a classic pairing that gets some but not enough love. This one reminds me of orange soda meets Sunny D, with very strong citrusy orange notes that leave a bit of a tingle on my tongue. The profile is about 80% orange and 20% cream, I’d prefer those ratios to be closer to 65/35 for a true orange CREAM flavor, but this is without a doubt one of the best, if not THE best, orange energy drinks on the market.
A flavor called “Citrus” could go so many ways but this one is easy to describe – Lemon Lime Gatorade. This stuff tastes so much like the classic yellow thirst quencher that if this had a little lightning bolt on it it could be another slam dunk brand tie-in. As far as I know Gatorade doesn’t have a bubbly energy drink on the market but if they ever wanted to give it a go, collaborating with GHOST would be the way to do it. I love yellow Gatorade so I really enjoyed this flavor, even though it doesn’t have the wow-factor of a Sour Patch experience.
This is the most underwhelming of all the launch flavors and the only one I probably won’t revisit. The flavor profile is true to its name with a somewhat mellow mango flavor accented by pineapple and a little orange. It’s a totally fine flavor but not nearly as exciting and juicy as Reign’s Mang-O-Matic and at the price point and limited accessibility of the GHOST drinks I don’t see myself craving it.
UPDATE: While it’s still my least favorite can from GHOST, I find this one much more exciting and delicious in the V2 formula. I’m not sure if they changed the flavor balance or if the removal of some vitamins allowed for a juicier flavor profile. Either way, it’s a notably delicious mango that’s smooth as hell. Original rating was a 7/10 and it’s been bumped!
WarHeads Sour Watermelon:
Did someone say sour? Yeah, they ain’t lyin! This drink knocks it out of the PARK! Perfectly sour and watermelon-sweet, just like the candy used to do to me when I wanted to torture my tongue in middle school. If you like watermelon candy this drink will make your head explode, so long as you’re okay with the back of your jaw tingling in activated tartness. This isn’t the type of drink I would have every day, but I’ve already had two and have three more in the fridge. It’s devious and perfectly executed to the degree that I am AMPED for what GHOST follows up with in this line next year.
I’m not gonna dive too deep into the candy history here because that’s not what this review is about, but, for those unaware Swedish Fish are essentially a naked version of Sour Patch Kids RedBerry. Yes, there is some nuance there, but if you’ve ever had them side-by-side and thought about the texture and flavor you’ll know what I mean; there’s a reason they’re called “RedBerry” and not “cherry”.
With that knowledge in my mind I was pretty underwhelmed when Swedish Fish was announced as a new flavor for Ghost Energy, because I thought it would be SPK RedBerry minus the sour, an element of the drink that I love. While it is kind of like SPK RB minus the sour, it’s also really really delicious. There’s zero sour, but there’s an added underlining creaminess that evolves to a mild vanilla note. Ghost absolutely NAILED the Swedish Fish flavor, and I think I prefer drinking its taste over eating the candy. Think a lingonberry cream soda with the perfect amount of carbonation. This one HITS.
Dissecting the name, the drink should have three things: strawberry, mango, and margarita — and it decisively has them all. Coincidentally that’s also the order in which I taste them. Right when the it hits my tongue I get a delightful sweet candy strawberry taste, followed by juicy mango, and rounded out with a bright citrusy lime. When I think margarita I think salt, and somehow I even get a hit of saltiness in the finish despite there only being 35mg of sodium in the can. There’s also a touch of citrus candy, like lemon Pez, in the finish and on the nose, and it really makes the flavor addicting. The lingering flavor left in my mouth when I (very temporarily) put the can down is 100% strawberry lime margarita, and it’s a wonderful aftertaste. This one far exceeded my expectations. I LOVE it.
Warheads Sour Green Apple:
The folks at GHOST have knocked it out of the park. Shattered the backboard. Hit the buzzer beater. This is sour apple perfection. The flavor is full on tart and juicy green apple, followed by a lip-puckering sourness that’s just enough to tickle your tongue without being off-putting. It makes me me brush my tongue up against the roof of my mouth to fully process its depth but stops short of going full-on actual Warheads dust sour. It’s not quite as sour as GHOST’s Watermelon but it’s right below it, with more sour intensity than Sour Patch Kids RedBerry and Blue Raspberry.
The carbonation is a perfect middle ground of tight fizzy-ness that leaves the finish smooth and refreshing while letting the candied notes shine. Sour Green Apple is intensely sour-candy-tasting yet very drinkable all in the same swig. It’s magical and I might be actually addicted, or at the very least deep in my candy apple fall feelings.
Ghost also released a limited edition Bubblicious Strawberry Splash that I did a video review of on my Instagram!
All flavors were bought at GNC or Vitamin Shoppe for $2.99 per can and can be found online in cases of 12 through their website for $29.99 or Campus Protein for $31.99.
Current Ghost Energy Ranking:
Warheads Sour Green Apple (10/10)
Warheads Watermelon (10/10)
Sour Patch Kids RedBerry (10/10)
Limited Edition Strawbango Margarita (10/10)
Orange Cream (9.5/10)
Sour Patch Kids Blue Raspberry (9.5/10)
Swedish Fish (9.5/10)
Tropical Mango (8/10)
Limited Edition Bubblicious Strawberry Splash (8/10)