Every flavor of Mountain Dew, ranked worst to best

America loves their Mountain Dew. From gamers to grandmothers, you'll find people from all walks of life who can't get enough. In fact, Mountain Dew was the fourth most popular brand of soda in the United States in 2010, while Diet Mountain Dew was the eighth most popular.

Mountain Dew has a complicated history. It originated as a whiskey chaser in Knoxville, Tennessee in the 1940s. But at that time, it only had a light flavor that was reliant on lemon and lime. Since then, the formula has changed multiple times. 

Today, Mountain Dew is a citrus drink with a style all its own. And to make things even better, Mountain Dew has released a variety of flavors that try to build upon their success. While the results aren't always great, the effort to satisfy American's thirst is commendable. Here's our ranking of Mountain Dew flavors, worst to best.

Since Mountain Dew flavors are always changing, it's important to note that these are the flavors available as of January 2019.

15. Mountain Dew Sweet Lightning

The last time you were eating delicious fried chicken at KFC, you might have noticed Mountain Dew Sweet Lightning as one of the soda flavor options. For your sake, hopefully your curiosity didn't get the best of you because this stuff is an abomination. Mountain Dew Sweet Lightning, which is available exclusively at KFC restaurants, was apparently created to pair with their fried chicken — but it totally misses the mark.

Sweet Lightning was obviously formulated to be the soda version of the sweet tea you find in Southern states, particularly Texas. Fried chicken and sweet tea makes a great match. This Mountain Dew concoction? No way. While it gets a satisfactory amount of sweetness from honey, it's ruined by an overpowering peach flavor that tastes totally synthetic.

While Mountain Dew and KFC introduced Sweet Lightning with an entertaining commercial, that turned out to be the only good thing that came out of this flavor. If you want sweet tea with your fried chicken, get your hands on the real thing.

14. Diet Mountain Dew

The only people who drink Diet Mountain Dew are those who love the original but, for one reason or another, can't order the real thing so they settle for something that is the same color and same fizz, and smells similar. But the scent is deceiving because once it gets in your mouth, you'll soon realize it tastes nothing like regular Mountain Dew.

While some diet sodas are tasty, Diet Mountain Dew is just liquified disappointment. Even if your doctor has ordered you to cut back on sugar, you'll be second-guessing everything in your life if you try to scratch your Mountain Dew itch with this stuff. If you must stick to a zero calorie beverage, at least do yourself a favor and get one of the other diet soda options on this ranking — you'll be thanking yourself.

There's also a version of Diet Mountain Dew available that is caffeine-free, and it's somehow even worse. Stay away.

13. Mountain Dew Ice

Apparently, Mountain Dew hasn't learned from other soda brands that have gone clear only to see the idea fail. (Anyone remember Crystal Pepsi? How about Tab Clear?) Mountain Dew Ice is perfectly clear and it's marketed as having the flavoring of lemon and lime. But after you give it a taste, you'll be left confused. First of all, it doesn't taste like much of anything at all before a slight lemon aftertaste hits you after you've swallowed. Secondly, you'll wonder why you wasted your money on something that is basically just watered down regular Mountain Dew.

On a hot summer day when you're drenched in sweat, this might be an adequate selection for rehydrating purposes. It goes down easily and cleanly so you don't need to sip or even pause while gulping. But, again, that's because Mountain Dew Ice is so watered down and so flavorless that it's close to just drinking water with a few bubbles joining the ride.

12. Mango Lime Mountain Dew Kickstart

Mountain Dew Kickstart is a favorite breakfast beverage for many across the country. It has more caffeine than regular Mountain Dew, fewer calories, and a selection of added vitamins including vitamin C and vitamin B. It also comes in a variety of flavors, with one of those flavors being Mango Lime. While there are some Mountain Dew Kickstart choices that taste really good, Mango Lime is not one of them.

If you dare to start your day with this beverage, the first thing you'll taste is an oddly sweet mango flavor. Before your taste buds can even adjust to the mango, the extra sour lime kicks in — and the whole situation on your tongue turns into a disaster. The flavors by themselves wouldn't be bad, but in their combined state, it's just an awkward mess.

While the caffeine fix is a nice reward for powering your way through, it should be noted that Mountain Dew Kickstart has less caffeine than a 16-ounce cappuccino from Starbucks or something like a Rockstar Energy Drink.

11. Mountain Dew White Out

Mountain Dew White Out is very much like Mountain Dew Ice, but doesn't taste as watered down. The biggest difference? Ice is clear, while White Out is, well, white. Also, instead of getting a lemon aftertaste, you taste a more citrusy flavor.

While a step up from Mountain Dew Ice, there's nothing too special about Mountain Dew White Out. It actually tastes a lot like Sprite, which is fine for Sprite fans. However, why are you buying a Mountain Dew product if all you want is a Sprite? If you want a Sprite, buy a Sprite.

Mountain Dew White Out is an okay choice if you want something smooth that will go down easily. You can save money by drinking water... but if you want your refreshment to be soda, this isn't a bad choice. That said, if you want to excite your taste buds or locate one of Mountain Dew's better offerings, keep looking.

10. Diet Mountain Dew Code Red

For a better diet soda experience than what you get from a Diet Mountain Dew, try Diet Mountain Dew Code Red. It's not perfect, but it's definitely a few steps in the right direction. If you like cherry soda, you'll never go with regular Diet Mountain Dew again if you get your hands on a case of this alternative.

What holds Diet Mountain Dew Code Red from being even higher on this list is the aftertaste. While most diet sodas have strong aftertastes, that's an understatement when it comes to this drink. This soda's aftertaste hits you like a Mack truck. Thankfully, though it's strong, it's not so horrible that it deters you from going back again and again for the next sip.

If you really like the taste of cherry and you're trying to cut back on your intake of calories, Diet Mountain Dew Code Red is worth trying. In fact, it might even surprise you when you become addicted.

9. Mountain Dew Pitch Black

Originally, Mountain Dew Pitch Black was released as a Halloween promotion back in 2004. It had a strong grape flavor and a color that wasn't quite all the way black, but a dark purple. Fans loved this flavor of Mountain Dew, so it was brought back a couple times on short runs before the company decided to make it a permanent offering.

However, before you run out and buy a case of Mountain Dew Pitch Black for nostalgic purposes, you should know that it doesn't taste the same as it did in 2004. While it's still dark purple, it's no longer grape-flavored. Instead, it tastes like dark berries with a splash of citrus.

Many fans liked the grape version better, but this dark berry version tastes fine. It's not great and there are better Mountain Dew flavors out there, but Pitch Black is worth trying at least once — if only for the unique taste and color.

8. Mountain Dew Live Wire

While regular Mountain Dew contains a dash of orange juice, Mountain Dew Live Wire takes the orange flavoring all the way to the top and through the roof. The flavor isn't overbearing, but if you aren't a fan of orange juice, you're not going to like this drink. It's not an artificial flavor, which is a plus.

Despite having a heavy orange flavor, you can still taste the fact that it's a Mountain Dew offshoot. That's important and it's what separates it from a generic bottle of orange soda or even something like Sunkist. Live Wire has a bite that is uniquely Mountain Dew.

Due to the Live Wire moniker, you might be expecting this soda to be energized with an extra serving of caffeine. However, that's actually not the case. A can of Mountain Dew Live Wire has 54 milligrams of caffeine, the exact same as regular Mountain Dew.

7. Mountain Dew Baja Blast Zero Sugar

If you want the best diet soda made by Mountain Dew, head to your local Taco Bell and get yourself some Mountain Dew Baja Blast Zero Sugar. This diet soda is sometimes sold in stores but most of the time it's a Taco Bell exclusive. Even if you don't like the tacos or burritos or anything else they serve, it'd be worth it for a diet soda connoisseur to make a run for the border to give it a try.

The best aspect about Mountain Dew Baja Blast Zero Sugar is its lack of aftertaste. Instead, you experience a delightful lime flavor with a few tropical notes sprinkled in. You might even forget that you're drinking a diet soda at all. Even if you can taste the fake sugar,  you can just keep a bite of tacos in your mouth and that will help mask it. Taco Bell's affordability will come in handy while you down this diet soda by the gallons.

6. Mountain Dew

You might be surprised that original Mountain Dew isn't closer to the top of the list. While it's a very good soda, other flavors of Mountain Dew are better than the original. Let your taste buds be the judge if you are doubtful.

If you've never had Mountain Dew before, it has a neon color somewhere between yellow and green. Its taste is a unique citrus flavor that you're not going to find anywhere else. It also has a bite to it that will make you sit up straight, even on your laziest of days.

For caffeine fiends, another important distinction about Mountain Dew is its higher caffeine content when compared to other brands of soda. A can of Mountain Dew has 54 milligrams of caffeine, which is far more caffeine than Coca-Cola Classic (34 milligrams), Dr Pepper (41 milligrams), and Pepsi (38 milligrams). If you drink enough Mountain Dew, you can skip your expensive drive-thru morning coffee.

5. Mountain Dew Code Red

While it might not be the best cherry-flavored soda on the market, Mountain Dew Code Red is at least in the conversation. Mountain Dew describes the taste on the bottle as a "rush of cherry flavor" and that's exactly what it is and what makes it so tasty. Take a sip of this beverage and your taste buds will be trampled by cherries — but in the most delightful way possible.

The one issue with Mountain Dew Code Red is that you may grow tired of it after a few days of non-stop bingeing. The cherry flavor is so strong that eventually you will want a break, because it will start to taste more and more like cough medicine. However, after an ample break, you can go back to Mountain Dew Code Red and enjoy the cherry flavor in all its goodness once again.

Tip: Mountain Dew Code Red tastes best when it is extremely cold. The colder, the better. If it's warm, it's almost undrinkable.

4. Mountain Dew Voltage

Mountain Dew Voltage has an odd blue color that might make you hesitant to buy it. That would be a mistake. This stuff is one of the very best flavors Mountain Dew has to offer. Besides, the blue coloring makes sense once you taste it and realize that the primary flavor is blue raspberry. Beyond the blue raspberry, you will taste that citrus flavor that lets you know you're drinking a Mountain Dew product.

Though it might sound odd, Mountain Dew Voltage also has ginseng flavoring. While that's not a common flavor in soda, it works very well next to the blue raspberry and the citrus. It gives this drink a spark that raises it up a notch or two.

The "Voltage" name is yet another name that might make you think there is more caffeine in it. That's in fact true — but only slightly more. A can of Mountain Dew has 54 milligrams of caffeine, while a can of Mountain Dew Voltage has 55 milligrams. So, it's not enough of a difference to notice.

3. Black Cherry Mountain Dew Kickstart

If you want a Mountain Dew product that is high in caffeine but also tastes really good, the answer is Black Cherry Mountain Dew Kickstart. Of all the Mountain Dew Kickstart options (there are nine flavors as on January 2019), this flavor is far and away the best — by a long shot. The cherry flavoring is deep but not overpowering.

Black Cherry Mountain Dew Kickstart uses real fruit juice, which will be obvious to you after your first sip. The taste is too real to be anything else other than actual juice. It also has added electrolytes to help you start your day off right. Or, if you've partied hard into the night, electrolytes can also help provide hangover relief.

The only possible downside to this drink is that it contains sucralose. If you're sensitive to this sweetener, you should skip Black Cherry Mountain Dew Kickstart. That'd be too bad, though, because you'll be missing a fantastic beverage.

2. Mountain Dew Throwback

Remember the good old days before high fructose corn syrup? Mountain Dew Throwback does. Instead of corn syrup, this soda is made with real sugar. It might not sound like a difference that's worth a celebration but you'll be convinced after you try it. Compared to regular Mountain Dew, it's a cleaner, crispier, tastier drink.

If you loved Mountain Dew years ago but gave it up after something changed that you couldn't quite put your finger on, you owe it to yourself to try a can of Mountain Dew Throwback.

At first, Mountain Dew Throwback was just a limited time offering. But after its popularity soared among those who prefer real sugar, the company has made it a permanent fixture in their lineup. While it'd be difficult to convince yourself that Mountain Dew is a health food, you might be more comfortable knowing that you're ingesting something a bit more natural than corn syrup.

1. Mountain Dew Baja Blast

Mountain Dew Baja Blast is unquestionably the best Mountain Dew flavor available anywhere. The one problem with it is that you are going to have to go to Taco Bell if you want it from a fountain. This delicious soda has an amazing tropical flavor mixed with the perfect amount of lime to send your taste buds to heaven. The aquamarine color of Baja Blast gives you a hint of what's to come, but you will be surprised by just how good it tastes.

Sometimes, you can find bottles or cans  of Mountain Dew Baja Blast in stores for a very limited time. If that ever happens in your area, you should purchase it by the truckload because it doesn't happen often. And if you can't find it at your local grocery or convenience stores, you can always just hit up Taco Bell — even if you're not ready for lunch. It wouldn't be embarrassing to go to Taco Bell and just order Mountain Dew Baja Blast. In fact, you'd be completely justified.