We Tried Coca-Cola Starlight, Coke’s Mystery Flavor That Tastes Like “Space”

Ready to learn what "Space Flavored" means? Then it's time for a sip of Coca-Cola Starlight.

What does outer space taste like? Is it cool and refreshing, with a blast or fresh mint? Or more like raspberry with a touch of cotton candy? To find out, I took a sip of Coca-Cola Starlight, a brand-new version of Coke that promises to have a space-inspired flavor. Is this one small step for soda, one giant leap for sodakind?

What Is Coca-Cola Starlight?

Coca-Cola Starlight is a limited-edition beverage, labeled as being from “Coca-Cola Creations.” It makes me think of the many, many times I’ve mixed up a unique beverage at a soda dispenser by adding a splash of fruit punch, a dash of regular Coke, a shot of Sprite—you get the picture.

The only hint about the actual taste of Coca-Cola Starlight is a line on the package that says “Space Flavored.” It’s less traditional that the most recent new Coke flavor, that’s for sure.

Coca-Cola Starlight Review

Coca-Cola sent me a sample of Coca-Cola Starlight Zero Sugar. The drink itself is red, and the bottle has a striking pink label with a starry background. First, I nosed around the internet a bit to see if anyone else had sampled it. One Reddit user described the label as looking “like Nathan Chen’s figure skating costume.” Someone else on Reddit surmised from the color that it was “raspberry mint” (what?) while others reported hearing it tastes like “sugar cookies, red pop (and) chocolate.”

It can’t be all those flavors. Can it?

First Impressions

If you don’t like sweet flavors, stop reading now. The instant I uncorked the Starlight Coke, out wafted the scent of something like cotton candy. My first sip tasted like licking a Bubble Yum wrapper. Coca-Cola Starlight, even the zero sugar variety, is sweeter than a Pixy Stix milkshake, unlike the regular Coke Zero.

Could it be raspberry? Maybe—Asia had strawberry Coke once. Was I picking up a fruit punch vibe? Could be. I didn’t dislike the drink, but once my sample bottle was empty, I couldn’t imagine stocking up on more.

My ever-patient husband agreed to try it too, and he came up with an apt description. “It’s like Coke mixed with Dr Pepper,” he declared. Coca-Cola does call it a cola, and while I didn’t get the traditional Coke taste, I see where he’s coming from. The drink’s not Tahitian Treat fruity, and neither is it traditional Coke, but inhabits some kind of weird galaxy between the two.

Final Thoughts

When my friends and I were kids in the 1970s and ’80s, our parents were strict about the soda we were allowed to drink. We were rarely allowed carbonated beverages at all, certainly not cola, and never a recognizable brand. (Yes, we walked to school in a blizzard, uphill both ways, all while writing in cursive and talking on rotary phones, throwing lawn darts at siblings and listening to vinyl records. Add your own Gen X cliche here.)

 McDonald’s made Hi-C Orange, a weird melange of juice and soda that we called “orange drink” and thought was the nectar of the gods. Sometimes we had Kool-Aid. When we got older, Mom liked to pick up a case of Shasta.

Coca-Cola Starlight reminds me of those days. When beverages weren’t afraid to march to the beat of their own drum, make up strange names, design crazy labels and claim the soda tasted like outer space. I’m not sure I’d buy Starlight Coke again—even the zero sugar version makes me want to brush my teeth from the sweetness overload. But bravo, Coca-Cola, for getting out there and reaching for the stars.

Where to Find Coca-Cola Starlight

Coca-Cola Starlight will start appearing in US stores now, in both original and zero sugar varieties. It’ll only stay in stores for six months. Future Coca-Cola Creations could stay in stores for just weeks!

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Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is a pop culture junkie and the co-author of Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops and The Totally Sweet '90s. She covers TV, movies, books and pop culture, as well as food news of all kinds. Gael is a weblog pioneer who started her first blog, Pop Culture Junk Mail, in 1999.