cost:$1 a can
When the email arrived in my inbox, the subject line was at once ominous and unassuming, kind of like the box in the final scene of David Fincher’s Se7en. “Give coffee a day off and have a Jolt in Columbia,” the title read. Jolt? As in Jolt Cola, the long defunct soda that was whispered about in reverent tones in schoolyards in the 1980s, when students who had partaken of its sugary nectar described it to their friends as no less than liquid cocaine in a can? That Jolt? I clicked on the promotional email, where I was met with the opening missive: “Did you hear? Jolt Cola is BACK and only available at Dollar General.” At that point my loins started tingling, so I grabbed my keys and headed for the nearest Dollar General.
As there is a Dollar General roughly every tenth of a mile in the Midlands, it didn’t take me long to get there. I found the new supply of Jolt back in the grocery section, lined up like chainsaws in your grandpa’s tool shed. Same red can, same lightning bolt, just like the old days, with the requisite slogan/warning: “All the sugar and twice the caffeine.” They weren’t lying: Jolt really is back. And I’m happy to report that it still tastes ... kinda OK. It seemed slightly less carbonated than Coke, and it’s still really sweet. It comes in a 16-ounce can these days, which seems almost like a mild form of abuse. If you need to pull an all-nighter, or if you just want to test the limits of your heart, get to the nearest Dollar General and look for the lightning bolt. — Chris Trainor