Mountain Dew is perhaps the greatest beverage since the dawn of high fructose corn syrup. It’s sweet. It’ll give you that “voltage,” if you know what I mean. Like, drink one of these babies and you’ll be “live wired,” no doubt. But the real magic of the Dew is its wide variety of options. And each one of them packs its own special punch. For example, I’ve tried mainlining some Code Red, and it’s never quite the same as freebasing Original Dew.

A real Dewnnoisseur knows how to detect the subtle nuances of each can, and especially how lit it’ll get you. No time to send yourself into a jittery, insulin-flooded shock? Cut straight to the single Dew that hits your particular sweet spot.

Original Mountain Dew

Formal Friday with DEW.

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This is where it all started. The Original. If you’re looking to crack open a frosty Mountain Dew, get ready for these few things: You’ll be amped. Amped as fuck. Chugging down that Dew reminds you that nobody can fuck with you. Embrace your inner self. Come to grips with your lonely existence in a cramped studio apartment. You don’t even own a panini press. But you got a solid sixer — that’s a six-pack for anybody not “in the know” — of Dew Classic. You’ve never been fired from a job, because you can’t even get hired for one. But that Dew is coursing through your veins. Feel the power. And probably just torrent a movie for the night or some shit.

Code Red

This Valentine's Day, say it with #CodeRed.

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Code Red is Dew alternative number one. Dew Classic is like the Paul or John (take your pick) of the Dews. Code Red, though, is the George. You’re not wrong for liking it best, but you’re definitely conscious of the fact that you’re picking it over Original Dew. It’s a delicate flavor, with a sensitive palate able to detect the hints of Yellow 5 amid the power of the Red 40 dye and just a soupcon of Nerds.

Once consumed, Code Red reminds you of your sense of obligation. To your parents. To your friends. To the world. Take responsibility for who you are. That’s a complete can of soda: It’s got cherry; it’s got Dew’s lemon-lime zing; it’s mostly just red. Be as complete a person as Code Red is a drink.

Voltage

We're ready for our first summer BBQ with plenty of Voltage on hand!

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Ginseng and raspberry citrus flavors? Voltage is a standout among Dews. It’s the rebel’s Dew. It’s the kind of Dew that Jason Statham needs to pound every hour on the hour so that his heart doesn’t explode into a million shattered pieces. Drink Voltage responsibly. The last thing you want is to casually down a handful of Voltages before a party, only to feel the need to bang your head through the walls. Because Voltage does not hold back. The flavor’s not for everyone. If you’re brave enough to shoot one down that esophagus, you’re part of a proud lineage. Don’t take that shit lightly. It’s for rebels, but that vigilante might as well be a king.

Live Wire

BATTLE OF THE ORANGE.

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Live Wire tastes a lot like a bubbly orange Gatorade, making it the athlete’s default Dew. They don’t show this stuff on TV — because the media lies — but during commercial breaks of sporting events, the players are guzzling squirt bottles of Live Wire. Good sources indicate that the Seattle Seahawks refused to give Marshawn Lynch the ball on the last play of the Super Bowl because he didn’t Dew up. He knew better, but said he was stronger than the Dew. Jokes on you Marshawn: nobody outdoes the Dew.

Baja Blast

Now it's a party. #BajaBlast #🌊 #🎉

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Baja Blast used to be the Taco Bell-exclusive Dew, sorta like Beyoncé was once confined to Destiny’s Child. Nowadays, though, you can find this lil’ number everywhere. And thank God. Baja Blast is a thrilling Mountain Dew product. It’s among the lighter Dew offerings, in color, flavor, and debilitating aggression. Baja Blast — BB, to anybody ready for a cold one — is the Dew for relaxing with your bros. About to rev up the engine on the ol’ hacky sack machine? Bring a cooler fulla BB, baby. It’s like a warm’n’cool day on the beach. It’s the Dew you bring on a first date. Your companion will be agog when you say (and I urge you to write this down), “Hey, why don’t we get outta here before that uptight waiter comes with our bill? I got two unopened cannerinos of Mountain Dew Baja Blast in the passenger seat of my 2004 Chevrolet Impala and I literally scribbled your name in Sharpie on one of them.”

Diet Mountain Dew

Key to getting through Friday afternoon

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The final Dew proper we’ll review here is Diet. It’s the sensible choice, for those who want to watch their waistlines as they lose track of their extremities. Not like those chillax vibes of Baja Blast, though. Diet Dew is for the hard-working white-collar Dew drinker. Bring that shit to a meeting and you’re nearly guaranteed to get a promotion. If simply the site of the Diet Dew doesn’t bring good tidings, it’s probably because you didn’t scream the signature catchphrase: “Diet Coke is for n00bs!” Once spoken, things change for the better.

King’s Cup

A King's Cup of Mountain Dew with Original Dew, Diet Dew, Live Wire, Code Red, and Voltage.

Here’s a little something you don’t see everyday: five Dews, one glass. That’s a little bit of Original Dew, Diet Dew, Live Wire, Code Red, and Voltage put together. Set the ratios, as you’d like, but I tried to keep things pretty evenly distributed. It’s like a Live Wire with a shot of Voltage.

Get the fuck ready for the combo, though. Hours later and I am still vibrating. Remember that scene in The Revenant where the bear throttles the bejeezus out of Leo DiCaprio? It’s like that. Except you’re the bear and anything else is Leo. Except instead of walking away when you think he’s good and dead, you maul him to a bloody, bloody pulp.

Maul the world. Do the Dew.

Photos via Matthew Strauss, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images