What The Original Version Of Mountain Dew Tasted Like

What's in a name? A lot, apparently. "Mountain dew" was an old Scottish-Irish term for whiskey, according to Smithsonian. There's even a song entirely dedicated to the spirit, "Mountain Dew," written and performed by country bluegrass duo the Stanley Brothers. Others say it's a Southern reference to moonshine, reports Thrillist. Either way, today, it's the name of a popular soda brand. Carbonated beverage enthusiasts everywhere know that Mountain Dew has an easily identifiable, electric green color and a uniquely sweet, citrusy flavor. Its vibrant appearance and taste have made it one of the most iconic American products over the years.

But these iconic attributes weren't always a factor. As a matter of fact, the soda was originally formulated to be a whiskey chaser. (Sort of like how Coca-Cola was meant to be a medicine, but we all know how that story ends.) It looked and tasted completely different when it was invented in 1932 by Knoxville, Tennessee brothers Barney and Ally Hartman (via Smithsonian). Let's take a closer look at the Hartman brothers' invention and how "The Dew" has transformed into what it is today.

Mountain Dew used to taste more like these popular sodas

When Mountain Dew entered the U.S. soda market in the 1930s, it was caffeine-free, colorless, and lemon-lime-flavored. If you've ever chugged 7UP or Sprite, it wasn't too far off. In fact, those two lemon-lime giants were Mountain Dew's main direct competitors for many years. When the 1950s rolled around, the Tip Corporation, a soda bottling company, acquired the struggling soda company and slightly tweaked its original formula. Mountain Dew finally had a key differentiator: lemonade. Then, in 1964, PepsiCo bought the Mountain Dew brand rights and altered the recipe even further by adding orange juice — which is still a key ingredient to this day. Per Thrillist, this is also when the iconic neon green color came to be!

It took awhile for Mountain Dew to achieve its success, but it was worth every twist and turn. There have been a number of colors and flavor varieties over the years, including a red, cherry-flavored Code Red, a turquoise, lime-flavored Baja Blast created exclusively for Taco Bell restaurants, an orange-flavored Live Wire, a pink, watermelon-flavored Major Melon, and many more. Mountain Dew has evolved and expanded since its genesis, which has, luckily, vastly saved the brand.