What’s So ‘Baja’ About Baja Blast? (2024)

Praise the Lord and pass the boogie board: MTN DEW Baja Blast is back on store shelves as of this week. Like the rest of the world, The Takeout is obsessed with this flavor, which originated as an exclusive MTN DEW/Taco Bell partnership and spawned an ever-growing line of other exclusive partnerships, like the newly-launched MTN DEW Purple Thunder. But good relationships are built on curiosity, and our staff’s curiosity led us to a MTN DEW quagmire this morning: What is a “Baja” flavor, exactly?

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We Try (and Fail) to Guess the MTN DEW Mystery Flavor

What makes a flavor “Baja?”

Per a press release sent to The Takeout, MTN DEW has declared 2022 “the Summer of Baja.” The brand is bringing Baja Blast to most major retailers, in addition to Baja Blast Zero Sugar, a Baja Blast energy drink, and two more “Baja-inspired” flavors: MTN DEW Baja Mango Gem and MTN DEW Baja Gold, the later of which features “a bright island pineapple flavor.” (Baja California is more of a peninsula, but okay.)


All of these drinks sound delicious—but what characterizes a “baja” flavor beyond a vague suggestion of peninsular vibes? Rather than frantically Google “WHAT MEANS BAJA,” I started at the source: a MTN DEW spokesperson. They told me the following via email:

“Baja Mango Gem, Baja Deep Dive and Baja Gold lean into the tropical nature of the original Baja flavor, while giving back to DEW Nation’s love of trying new ones.”


Well. Alright. Unfortunately, that doesn’t tell me much about the innate Baja-ness of Baja Blast. I get it, I get it; MTN DEW can’t reveal its flavor secrets. Alas, that leaves us to speculate.

Let’s start with the origins of Baja Blast. Baja Blast was first released in early August 2004 as an exclusive partnership with U.S. Taco Bell locations. Per a CNN article published at the time of the beverage’s release, the drink’s “Mexican-inspired tropical lime flavor” was formulated specifically to pair with Taco Bell’s menu.


But why “Baja?” I understand the appeal of product alliteration—but how Baja is this Blast, anyway?

How Baja Blast compares with actual Baja flavors

Baja Blast is named for Baja California, a Mexican state off the southern coast of California. (Baja Blast is not to be confused with Baha Men, a Bahamian band that formed in New Providence, Bahamas, though both Baja Blast and Baha Men continue to delight.) But does the soda’s tropical lime flavor actually connect to Baja California’s rich culinary delights?


Eh, no. Not really. For one thing, limes didn’t originate in Mexico. You may have heard of the Mexican lime, which is a real thing—but it’s actually believed to have originated in the Indo-Malayan region. Perdue University’s horticultural department cites a 1987 paper explaining that the lime was “unknown in Europe before the Crusades,” though it was cultivated in parts of Europe by the mid-13th Century. The author adds that the lime was “undoubtedly introduced into the Caribbean islands and Mexico by the Spaniards, for it was reportedly commonly grown in Haiti in 1520.” Since then, it’s become naturalized in parts of the West Indies and Mexico.

But the drink is called Baja Blast, not Indo-Malayan Blast. So are there other elements of Baja California’s flavors incorporated into the beloved soda? To find out, I took a quick spin through the culinary internet to acquaint myself with the region’s favorite flavors.


There’s savory machaca, a traditionally dried meat that incorporates beef, pork—even stingray. Speaking of seafood: Baja California has plenty, offering up pan-fried lobster as a popular choice. (Puerto Nuevo, a seaside village just south of San Diego, is famous for being the “Lobster Capital of Baja.”) The region also has a rich culinary connection to sea turtles, as outlined in this article by anthropologist and marine biologist Michelle María Early Capistrán. Finally, Baja California has peppers aplenty, with bountiful crops that include the ubiquitous Anaheim and jalapeño peppers. And while Baja Blast does have a bit of a kick to it, it’s certainly not that kind of kick.

So, is there anything truly Baja about Baja Blast? Other than the product’s vague association with Mexican food, I’d say no. There is, however, a whole world of Baja Californian cuisine out there, drawing you in with the promise of buttery pan-fried lobster and zingy machaca. If you live in Southern California, you’re only a short drive away. Feel free to chug a Baja Blast en route.


What’s So ‘Baja’ About Baja Blast? (2024)


What’s So ‘Baja’ About Baja Blast? ›

Some sources say Baja Blast is regular Mountain Dew

Mountain Dew
Mountain Dew, stylized as Mtn Dew in some countries, is a carbonated soft drink brand produced and owned by PepsiCo. The original formula was invented in 1940 by Tennessee beverage bottlers Barney and Ally Hartman. A revised formula was created by Bill Bridgforth in 1958.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Mountain_Dew
spiked with lime. The official word comes from PepsiCo, which says it is a "cult favorite" with a "legendary Tropical Lime flavor," which would explain the tropical-beach-ideation-producing "Baja" in the drink's title.

What is special about Baja Blast? ›

Baja Blast is a Mexican-inspired Tropical Lime flavor of Mountain Dew and is an ocean-like teal in color. Its tropical theming is shared with its Baja Family of Flavors, while it was once paired with former secondary Taco Bell exclusive Sangrita Blast.

Why does Taco Bell own Baja Blast? ›

The flavor was first made available in 2004. Created for, and exclusively sold at Taco Bell locations, it was a collaboration between the company and Mountain Dew owners PepsiCo. One of the first instances of a restaurant offering an exclusive soda beverage, it was created to increase sales of fountain soda.

What is Baja Blast supposed to taste like? ›

Baja Blast is a sweet and tropical beverage that offers a one-of-a-kind taste experience. It combines the flavors of lime and tropical fruit, creating a deliciously tangy and slightly citrusy profile. The bold and vibrant flavors of Baja Blast make it a favorite among soda enthusiasts.

What is the actual flavor of Mountain Dew? ›

Classic Mountain Dew is labeled as a citrus soda, which is often compared to lemon-lime. It originally touted its formula's use of actual orange juice in the recipe. But, if you ask me, it tastes a little less like all these delicious citrus fruits, and a little bit more like “liquid electricity.”

What makes Baja Blast different from Mountain Dew? ›

If you've never tasted this particularly delicious beverage—or even if you have—you might be wondering, “What flavor is Baja Blast?” In short, it is classic Mtn Dew mixed with lime flavor.

Is Baja Blast still exclusive to Taco Bell? ›

- Mountain Dew Baja Blast, the fan-favorite drink once sold exclusively at Taco Bell, is hitting U.S. grocery stores nationwide and will be available throughout the entirety of 2024.

How long will Baja Blast be in stores 2024? ›

Mountain Dew Baja Blast, the popular beverage once sold exclusively at Taco Bell, will be sold in stores nationwide this month and, for the first time, will be available throughout all of 2024.

Is Baja Blast an energy drink? ›

Product details. Conquer the morning with Mtn Dew Energy, sporting the iconic flavor of Baja Blast, caffeine for energy and vitamins to keep your energy up throughout the day.

What are Baja blasts made of? ›

From the Package


Is Baja Blast Mountain Dew rare? ›

Baja Blast was first introduced at Taco Bell in 2004 as a fast-food rarity, a soda flavor exclusive to one chain of restaurants. That soda-fountain-only monopoly ended in 2014 when Mtn Dew finally hit store shelves in cans and bottles for the first time, although only as limited releases over the years.

Is Baja Blast green or blue? ›

During Sunday's Super Bowl, a commercial for Baja Blast, the mystery-citrus-flavored, turquoise-hued Mountain Dew variety, featured one of the evening's better examples of celebrity casting.

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