Tru Blood Beverage: A Taste Test

I don't watch HBO's soapy vampire drama True Blood. I like the idea of the show and always thought I would get around to checking it out, but so far—despite the frequent convincing arguments made by my colleague Joan Raymond—I have yet to do so. Still, I think I get the conceit: vampires are real, they walk among us, and thanks to an artificial blood substitute called Tru Blood, they can feed without having to bite human's necks to do so. But some humans still think that vampires are monsters and shouldn't have equal rights, and the oppression of and intolerance toward vampires can be seen as an allegory about homosexuality, except that some of the vampires are kind of monsters, and also total sluts.

(I fact-checked this with NEWSWEEK TV critic and True Blood agnostic Joshua Alston, who affirmed my summary and also noted that on the show, "vampire blood is used as a drug by humans, much like straight people get high on gay people's blood." Ball, Alston tells me, has made clear that it's not completely allegorical.)

Yesterday, HBO unveiled Tru Blood, the beverage, a blood-orange (get it?) soft drink packaged to look like the blood substitute quaffed by vampires on the show. I've had a sample of it on my desk for about a week, but couldn't bring myself to drink it. It's supposed to be blood, which is not all that appetizing to me. Even fake blood: once, on a dare, I drank the fake corn-syrup blood at a haunted house, a super-thick, obnoxiously sweet concoction, the taste of which haunts me to this day.

Unfortunately, Tru Blood is also pretty sweet, though its flavor comes from cane sugar, not corn syrup. I was hoping it would be more like a delightful Italian soda: heavy on fizz with traces of blood-orange tartness. In actuality, it's kind of like a mix between Orange Crush and Hi-C, another concoction of my youth, this one made possible by the serve-yourself fountain sodas at various fast-food restaurants. Which is to say, if you are a fan of sugary sodas and vampires on cable, you'll be thrilled with Tru Blood, the soft drink.

If you're not a fan of the show, or have a more sophisticated palate, you'll probably be disappointed, as I was. Also disappointing: after drinking about half of the 14-ounce bottle, I am not even a little bit high.

Tru Blood beverage retails for $16 per four pack at

Tru Blood Beverage: A Taste Test | News