Courtesy Coca-Cola Company
January 11, 2018 04:17 PM

What Is It: Diet Coke’s new Twisted Mango, Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry and Blood Orange flavors

Who Tried It: Mark Marino, PEOPLE contributing writer

Level of Difficulty: 2 (I know this should be a 1, but drinking four cans of soda can make one’s tummy bloated)

It’s been a rough week. The free soda machine at our office has been broken since Monday, so I’ve had to survive mostly on water. And for someone who lives on an all-carb diet (carbohydrates and carbonated beverages), that ain’t easy. So you can imagine why I almost did a backflip when a package arrived today containing all of Diet Coke’s new flavors: Feisty Cherry, Twisted Mango, Ginger Lime and Blood Orange. I was excited by the news that they were hitting the market this month, and I couldn’t wait to find out which flavors popped and which ones fizzled (get it?).

First up: Feisty Cherry. It tasted slightly syrupy and more cherry-y than Coke-y, which I kind of liked. I didn’t quite get what was feisty about it — although I suppose I’d be pretty feisty too if I was trapped inside a can all day. After a few more sips, I thought I detected a bit of a spicy sensation in the back of my throat. Was my Diet Coke getting feisty with me or was I imagining it? I’m still not sure. Either way, I would definitely drink this flavor again, despite its sassy attitude.

Next I tried Twisted Mango. The only twisted thing about this beverage is the person who came up with the concept. There are some things that just don’t mix well: mango and Diet Coke, oil and water, Peggy and the rest of the Real Housewives of Orange County… you get the idea. It has a nice scent, though, and if you place a few sticks in the opening of the can, I bet it would make a nifty room diffuser.

WATCH: How to Use Your Flat Soda to Make BBQ Sauce

I had high hopes for the Blood Orange flavor, since I fell in love with the fruit when I traveled to Ortigia, Sicily, a few years ago. When I took a sip, I hoped it would bring back memories of myself happily wandering through the town’s old, narrow streets, the locals placing curses upon me as I passed. Instead, I was getting the “Want a Fanta?” theme song by that legendary girl group the Fantanas. This tastes like Diet Coke mixed with regular orange soda. Or was that Anbesol? For some reason my tongue was feeling a bit numb. Either way, I think if you want orange in your soda, just buy orange soda.

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Last up: Ginger Lime. Maybe it was because the Feisty Cherry singed my throat and the Blood Orange killed my taste buds, but I could not detect any ginger whatsoever in this drink. It does have a pleasant lime flavor, though, which seems a bit more subtle than regular Diet Coke with Lime. I’d definitely drink this again — and I wouldn’t rule out using it to marinate chicken.

The Verdict: Uh… the cans are nice? Honestly, the Feisty Cherry and Ginger Lime flavors are pretty good, but the Twisted Mango and Blood Orange are disappointing. And all of the new flavors just seem completely unnecessary. If you’ve got a successful formula, don’t mess with it, because introducing something new can really throw things off. Have we learned nothing from RHOC‘s Peggy?

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