Confession from a former soda fiend: at the height of my addiction, I’d slam roughly the equivalent of 6-8 cans per day—sometimes more. Sometimes a lot more. Last summer I finally managed to kick the habit and now I’ll have just one in the morning if I can’t snap out of my post-coming-into-work-at-6AM-induced coma. For those scoring at home, I don’t count Monster Energy Drinks as soda. Sweet Nectar of the Gods!
Although I have reduced my soda intake to sub-cancerous levels, I do enjoy delving into new soda flavors whenever they are released. I was grocery shopping last week and came across a display for a new flavor of Pepsi Max: Cease Fire. The label on the Cease Fire bottle encouraged me to combine this hallowed new elixir with a potent, spicy variety of Doritos for a hot-cold synergistic explosion of flavor. They also included a coupon that gave me the soda for free if I bought a bag of Doritos, which sealed the deal.
The name of Cease Fire does little to reveal the true flavor of the drink. From a quick glance at the lime green lettering on the 2-Liter bottle, you have to assume that Cease Fire will sport some sort of lime flavoring, you know, like Diet Coke with Lime. A little lime wedge icon on the bottle confirmed my suspicion.
Oh Pepsi, I had such high hopes for you this time. You are always the follower. Sure, Pepsi tried their hand at innovative, oddball flavors such as the immortal Crystal Pepsi, but it feels like most of the time they just wait on Coca-Cola to invent and then they copy. For a brief moment, I was pulling for them. I hoped that they’d surprise me with this flavor and perhaps, instead of lime, there would be a cool, refreshing hint of mint that would help wash away the spicy after-tang of Doritos. Or maybe, I mused, they’d even rock the fashionable combo of lime and mint?
I originally purchased some 2nd Degree Burn Fiery Buffalo Doritos for this review, but my hunger got the best of me and I ate them on the way to watch some cage fighting. It’s just as well: Fiery Buffalo Doritos come from Hell. That shit is miserably hot! With nothing around to drink in the car, I couldn’t taste anything but molten lava for like 20 minutes after eating a few chips.
Pepsi Max Cease Fire by itself tastes almost exactly like regular Pepsi Max. Maybe there’s a slight hint of lime in there somewhere, but I wouldn’t doubt it for a second if that’s just my imagination playing tricks. For the sake of this review, let’s give Pepsi the benefit of the doubt and assume that there is a slight limey flavor to the soda.
“With the fireproof formula of Pepsi Max Cease Fire, you’ll keep coming back for more. So prepare your mouth for the pleasure of two highly reactive flavors.”
My first test was Doritos: Last Call Jalapeño Popper vs. Pepsi Max Cease Fire. As an avowed cheese hater (notable exceptions to my hatred being pizza, Cheetos, Cheez-Its, and Doritos), the Jalapeño Popper was simply too cheesy for my liking. There just wasn’t enough flavor mixed with the cheese and eating a mere five chips made me wanna hurl. I was only too thankful that one sip of Cease Fire easily killed the awful flavor. I wouldn’t call this combination highly reactive, but Cease Fire did live up to the claim and quench whatever fire the chip supposedly had. However, I’ll never eat another Jalapeño Popper Dorito again. Blech!
The second test was Doritos 1st Degree Burn: Blazin’ Jalapeno vs. Pepsi Max Cease Fire. Now, the Blazin’ Jalapeño Doritos have the perfect amount of heat to them. It’s not enough to make you cry home to mommy, but you do get a dignified amount of heat combined with a savory Jalapeño flavor. After five chips I had a good sensation of heat in my mouth; I definitely wanted a sip of Cease Fire before the heat became overwhelming. Two sips later, I was pining for more chips. This is the perfect heat/cool combo that can maintain happy snacking equilibrium throughout an entire football game!
After writing the first part of this article and hyping the power of Fiery Buffalo Doritos, I ran to the store and bought a bag. I just couldn’t live with such an incomplete review. How could I deny the test of Cease Fire vs. the hottest Dorito I’ve ever tasted? So, for the final test we have Doritos 2nd Degree Burn: Fiery Buffalo vs. Cease Fire. The Fiery Buffalo Doritos have great flavor—at first. They really are delicious—just like your favorite sports bar wings. As such, you are apt to start tearing through them like a savage. Ah, but the heat is strong with this one. And sneaky. About three chips in is when the fun begins. Your mouth begins to burn, but you think you can handle it. What you don’t realize that the heat grows exponentially with each chip. After two more, your mouth is ablaze and you’re clamoring for something, anything, to wash it away.
I knew what was coming with these chips so I had a fresh glass of ice cold Cease Fire ready and waiting. Did it help? Not one bit. It was cold and wet, which was all I wanted at that point, but the combined taste of the soda and the chips was bitter and actually seemed fan the flames. Yup, Cease Fire only made the heat from the Fiery Buffalo Doritos burn even hotter! I would’ve been better off drinking nothing at all! You lose Cease Fire!
Pepsi Max Cease Fire doesn’t quite live up to the hype. It handled the awful Jalapeno Popper flavor with ease and was evenly matched with the Blazin’ Jalapeño. However, Fiery Buffalo straight-up kicked its ass.
What is the perfect synergistic combination for Pepsi Max Cease Fire? Flor de Caña Centenario rum, straight from the República de Nicaragua, aged 12 years, on ice. Make sure to mix it with a splash of lime to compensate for the barely-existent lime flavoring in Cease Fire.