My thoughts on Diet Coke
Every once in a while meet someone who says “on a hot day, after exercise, there’s nothing better that a large, cold glass of milk.” Every time I hear that or think about that, I want to vomit. For me, a cold glass of water is the way to go. However, often times a diet coke will work as well. I’m sure the milk drinkers are not only furious at this point, they want to vomit as well. But eff them.
I grew up drinking diet soda. I know that’s not healthy, and cancer from saccharine saturation must be imminent, but diet soda is simply my way of life. So where does diet Coke rank in the list, and more importantly what are the positive and negative attributes that define the beverage?
The major players are obviously diet Coke and diet Pepsi, but numerous other beverages jockey for important t positions in the diet soda market. Diet Dr. Pepper (DDP as we call it) is a great one, and Tab is an oldie but goodie from my early years that has had a recent resurgence. And, thanks to greater awareness about sugar consumption in recent decades, almost every soda available has a diet counterpart.
Diet Coke is certainly one of the most recognizable brands in the space, which is an important factor. There is a mythos and qualitative difference in recognized brands – a feeling that is present when drinking something that millions of other people also drink. Also, there is a consistency and dependability inherent in a stable brand like Diet Coke.
Regarding flavor, Diet Coke is good. (Drinkers of regular soda need not read this at all. Y’all think diet sodas taste gross, and we diet devotees can’t stomach the amount of sugar found in regular soda.) As I was saying Diet Coke is good. I don’t think it’s great, but it is more than palatable, and as mentioned previously it is eminently reliable. And the image of Paris Hilton (see prior entries in this site) drinking a condensation beaded ice-cold can of diet coke takes a diet beverage enthusiast quite a long way.
Bottom line is this: taste is subjective almost to the point of defining the word. I like DDP, but my friend Jeff prefers diet Coke. That’s cool, there’s lots of options out there. But diet Coke has good flavor, solid branding and marketing, and is a safe harbor when in a sea of competing (and sometimes strange) alternatives. I say 6.5 for DC.