Taco Bell is selling a Slurpee-like frozen drink that tastes like red Skittles. If that first sentence did not evoke childhood memories, no need to read on. You likely won’t ever try this. But if it did, a few sips of this limited-time beverage may conjure up further nostalgia—the flavors of a Halloween candy bucket, an Easter basket filled with jelly beans, Saturday afternoons playing SNES. By that measure, Taco Bell has already succeeded with its Strawberry Skittles Freeze: It made you reminisce with fondness.
Why else would Marvel license 47 remakes of Spider-Man? Why would McDonald’s bring back Szechuan sauce? Why is Jolt Cola back after being discontinued? We liked the food and drinks we ate and drank back when there was no responsibilities required of us. We compare the shitty lives we lead now (likely not as shitty as you think) with the carefree days of yesteryear (likely not as carefree as you remember).
Perhaps we overthink these so-called reviews. It’s a 16 oz. plastic cup (160 calories) filled with semi-frozen liquid mixed with a flavored syrup. It’s so damn sweet, it feels like something a hummingbird would drink.
And yet: It tastes sort of magical. Not magical in the hocus-pocus transformative way, but magical like unicorns and Lisa Frank and Murakami paintings. It does not taste fake or saccharine. It’s the most real-tasting artificial flavor I can remember. There is no subterfuge or misleading statements: This is red Skittles in frozen slushed form. Yeah, it’s pretty dang tasty. You swear you can taste the rainbow. (Or if you’re lilies require further gilding, I can see this drink mixed with vanilla soft serve.)
Still, 7-Eleven’s Coke Slurpee remains the pinnacle of frozen slushed drink. While you can finish the entire cup of a Coke Slurpee, you’d be hard-pressed to finish an entire Strawberry Skittles Freeze in its standard 16 oz. form, much less the larger 20 oz. format. Three sips here gets the point across. But the three sips are so transportive it’s the fast food version of 88 mph on a DeLorean.