Exclusive: C4 And Popsicle Are Teaming Up, And We Got The First Taste

For the second summer in a row, C4 Energy is claiming the trademarked title of "Official Energy Drink of Summer." This year, the energy drink empire is introducing a new collaboration with Popsicle that is sure to refresh and refuel every consumer, while transporting them to the nostalgic flavors of their childhoods. Each of these drinks, which come in cherry, grape, and Hawaiian pineapple varieties, contains 200 milligrams of caffeine and CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine.

This proprietary blend of beta-alanine has undergone rigorous research and testing to obtain NDI status from the FDA, and has been honored with numerous awards. It has been recognized for its efficacy in helping athletes improve their overall performance in a number of categories, including increasing endurance, improving strength, helping to shorten recovery time, and enhancing mental focus.

While all of this is exciting for avid athletes and workout enthusiasts alike, I wanted to find out if this new collaboration succeeded in capturing those flavors of childhood. Having grown up consuming original-flavored Popsicle brand ice pops, I was excited to get my hands on these new drinks. I evaluated each variety based on aroma, taste, and fidelity to the original ice pop upon which it was based. I also assessed them in terms of how well they improved my energy level and whether or not I experienced any adverse reactions to them, something that can be problematic with other energy drinks. Read on for the full scoop.

What does the C4 Performance Energy x Popsicle Cherry taste like?

In order to get a real side-by-side comparison between this new beverage and classic Popsicle ice pops, I purchased a box and sampled the two at the same time. The aroma of the C4 Performance Energy x Popsicle Cherry drink smells distinctly like a cherry-flavored ICEE. This beverage is clear and quite bubbly, which gave me pause when considering what the taste should be. I was anticipating something with a bright red hue, reminiscent of the pops.

The taste of this drink did evoke that nostalgic memory of cherry-flavored Popsicles melting down my chin on a hot summer day, though I thought the drink itself was quite a bit sweeter than the original ice pop. What I was not anticipating was how long the flavor would linger in my mouth after each sip. This drink has staying power in the taste department that far surpassed the Popsicle I consumed at the same time. That said, I did find it refreshing and quite pleasant to drink.

Each can contains just 5 calories, 45 milligrams of sodium, and is sugar free. It also contains 250 milligrams of potassium, which is 6% of the recommended daily value, and 6 micrograms of vitamin B12, a hefty 250% of the recommended daily value. The sweetness is conferred by sucralose, which is among the higher ranking artificial sweeteners in terms of taste.

What does the C4 Performance Energy x Popsicle Grape taste like?

The C4 Performance Energy x Popsicle collaboration that evoked the strongest sense of nostalgia for me was the Grape variety. From the aroma to the flavor, the fidelity of this beverage to the ice pops I loved as a kid was spot on, if not necessarily something I am overly fond of as an adult. There is a distinctive artificiality to this grape that is hard to explain, but that you will recognize immediately upon popping the can open. I did find this beverage to be the sweetest of the bunch, verging on almost cloying, but still potable.

To be fair, grape is one of those flavors that is difficult to mimic in food. Real fruit is highly acidic, abundant in moisture, and loaded with anthocyanins, antioxidants that are responsible for their deep red hue. Any attempt at extracting the natural flavors and aromas from the real fruit and converting them into something, like ice cream, that even remotely resembles the real deal is extraordinarily challenging to do, leading most manufacturers to opt for grape-like flavors that generally have a synthetic undertone.

So while this beverage did perfectly capture the Popsicle vibe, it may or may not be something grown-up palates will be enthusiastic about. That said, each drink contains only 5 calories and 35 milligrams of sodium. These too are sweetened with sucralose and both natural and artificial flavors. Potassium and vitamin B12 levels are identical to the Cherry variety.

What does the C4 Performance Energy x Popsicle Hawaiian Pineapple taste like?

The one C4 Performance Energy x Popsicle beverage that I did not have a comparison for was the Hawaiian Pineapple flavor. The original Popsicle ice pop flavors are grape, cherry, and orange, with the Hawaiian Pineapple being available in the Sugar-Free Tropicals pack, which I did not find at a local grocery store. So I literally was comparing (pine)apples to oranges. 

The aroma of this drink took a while to open up, particularly due to its bubbles. Once I poured it into a glass and the bubbles subsided a bit, the scent of real fruit came out. The taste of this drink was equally as pleasing, redolent of fresh fruit, rather than an artificial facsimile of pineapple. It was also the least sweet of the three beverages, something that appealed to my adult palate.

This drink also contains 5 calories, 45 milligrams of sodium, 250 milligrams of potassium, and 6 micrograms of vitamin B12. Sucralose, natural, and artificial flavors round out the ingredients list.

Where to buy the C4 Performance Energy x Popsicle drinks

These beverages are available individually in grocery stores nationwide. They can also be obtained via the Cellucor website in 12 packs of each flavor, or a variety pack, with four of each type. Subscriptions are also available that provide a 10% discount and free shipping.

The products are intended for use by adults only, and they do come with some warnings for certain members of the population, including those who are pregnant, nursing, or taking certain medications, including nitrates and PDE-5 inhibitors. Others with conditions, including high or low blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, anxiety, cardiovascular, psychiatric or seizure disorders, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke, heart, liver, kidney or thyroid disease, or difficulty urinating due to prostate enlargement, are encouraged to consult with their physician before using these products. This is consistent with some of the common reasons consumers are advised to imbibe energy drinks with caution.

Additionally, if you are highly sensitive to caffeine, you may want to avoid consuming these, and any other energy drinks, that have significant quantities of the substance. According to the Mayo Clinic, caffeine can become habit forming and cause a number of other side effects when consumed in excess, including irritability, muscle tremors, and heart palpitations. That said, I happen to be one of those who is highly sensitive to caffeine, and I did not feel any adverse effects from consuming these beverages, so take that with a grain of salt.

Final thoughts

When it comes to how well the C4 Performance Energy x Popsicle drinks captured the nostalgia of childhood, I give these beverages an A+ grade. They were all flavorful and evoked positive feelings. That said, as an adult, I am less fond of some of the strong artificial flavors that some of the things I ate as a kid had. For this reason, I probably would not purchase the Grape or Cherry varieties for myself. The Pineapple variety, however, was a delight. It was just the right balance of sweetness and more realistic fruit flavor that lit up the happy place in my brain.

I also quite like the fact that these drinks are not loaded with sugar and calories. You can consume them in the middle of the day as a pick-me-up or before a workout to help fuel you, without worrying about a serious sugar spike and crash. I could also see utilizing these in recipes, particularly in a tenderizing marinade for tougher cuts of meat. The pineapple variety in particular would be delicious as a refreshing addition to a homemade barbecue sauce or as a sweet component in a classic cornbread.

Purchase the C4 Performance Energy x Popsicle 12-pack on Cellulor's website for $27.99.