Spicy Sprite

sprite on fire

Spicy Sprite

Why can’t Coca-Cola leave Sprite alone in China? Why does it keep coming up with freakish flavors? First Mint Sprite, and now this. “Sprite on Fire.” Chinese name: 火辣雪碧.

I took my first sip with great trepidation. It didn’t really seem any different from regular Sprite though. After a few more gulps, I was noticing a slight spicy sensation. It didn’t taste like cinnamon; it seemed to have some of that spicy effect that you get from Atomic Fireballs. But it wasn’t very strong at all. Totally unworthy of being called “火辣” (“fiery hot”).

Later I found a news release about it on the Coca-Cola site. The spice is identified as ginger. That sort of explains the Chinese connection. They didn’t explain why they keep releasing Sprite flavors in China that suck so much, however.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. so basically it’s ginger ale? atomic fireballs are cinnamon, btw — very potent, but still cinnamon.
    there are a number of flavors of sprite in the states now, like remix, and some berry thing, i think. not mint, though. that’s interesting. how bad was it?
    (oh, and 7-up now has a “7-up plus” that has a fruit flavor, plus added stuff like calcium.)

  2. I really envy you down there in Shanghai’s marketing testbed. I was down there a month ago had had some Sasparilla that some pop-star was pushing, but I haven’t been able to find it back in Beijing. Not that it was very good, but it was better than drinking Sprite Mouthwash.

    Coca-Cola really mis-stepped, in my opinion, when they stopped making the Grapefruit flavored Smart drink.

  3. It sells with ppl’s curiosity, considering we have so large a population. Today lota commodities offer a choice of different flavors/functions (so-called). And the manufacturers already profit when we try seeking out the “best” or “fittest” by trying each.

  4. I had the misfortune of trying the Sprite Mint. Tastes like used toothpaste. Must get the fiery sprite..

    My personal fav till now is of course Pocari Sweat. Nothing beats it.

  5. Man the chinese are obsessed with mint fravoured beverages… They’re disgusting! It’s just like drinking mouth wash. This new flavour sounds pretty cool, it’ll probably do well, especially in Sichuan.

  6. Amy,

    No, it’s not really like ginger ale. And yes, Atomic Fireballs are cinnamon-flavored, but the really spicy ingredient is not cinnamon. You’ll see what I mean if you try this Sprite.

  7. Did you try the Sprite ICE as well? It tastes pretty much identical to your ginger version, with the tang of an aftertaste, but otherwise nothing at all that is in any way different to the normal dross.

    Just don’t drink it if you’re really thirsty.

    Which I guess destroys Sprite’s image as a multi-million dollar thirst buster. Ah well.

  8. There must be some kind of Cola war going on. When I was in Vietnam I had a can of Pepsi FIRE, which is being sold everywhere. At the time, I actually noted that it did taste a bit like pepsi with ginger ale mixed in, but the after taste was bad–really bad.

    How is the aftertaste for this stuff?

  9. With any luck, this flavor of Sprite will come and go during the next month. The blue mint Sprint wouldn’t not have been bad to mix with some high-proof schnapps for a winter cocktail –the result would have been better than baijiu at least.

    One wonders what flavors will Sprite come in next to appeal to Chinese tastes? Vinegar flavor, for drinking with your dumplings?

  10. I love ginger ale or ginger beer though, would love to try this new sprite flavor and the spicier the better.

  11. There are a lot of new soda flavors in America lately, I have tried cucumber soda, white tea soda and celery soda. I like the white tea and looove the strange taste of celery soda, and they are being sold in local whole food or Italian markets.

  12. ps I hated vanilla coke and I can imagine mint soda tasting like mouth wash soda.

  13. They have to learn to leave Sprite alone. I tried that damn Sprite Icy Mint and it was like drinking toothpaste.

  14. good blog! huh

  15. Cloud: At a recent dinner the host served some cheap, sickeningly sweet red wine. I had to drink it straight, but the ladies got to cut it with Sprite. One mentioned that Sprite could also be mixed with vinegar. Looking on the net, I found this list. Sprite and ice cream. Sprite and yogurt. Sprite and beer! And yes, Sprite and sweet vinegar. Can’t tell if it’s supposed to be a joke or not.

  16. Hey, I was like browsing around the internet because I totally loved Sprite on Fire. I wish they put mild tobasco in too.

    Yousa in Shanghai? Howza neighbor!

  17. Found some ginseng soda at the local organic market a week ago, along with some flavored versions. I made the mistake of getting the apple soda, which was essentially 90% AJ. It was good, but tasted more like AJ mixed with ginger ale.
    I’ll have to try the straight up ginseng next time.
    My fav tea of all time was translated as female steel buddha tea. It was a ball of dark green tea dusted with a good bit of ginseng. It made for a delightful euphoria, and cool breaths inhaling after the sips. A very nice tea to enjoy with my friends.

  18. Kathy Adair Says: September 14, 2005 at 1:27 am

    Ooooh, I love Ginger! I wish that that hot and spicy Sprite was available here in the States.

  19. I saw the red Sprite in a convenience store and saw “fire” & “ginger” on the bottle and knew I had to try it. I love it. I wish they would bring this to the states. It isn’t like ginger ale – it has a real ginger bite – delightful! The only thing is, Americans love their soft drinks icy cold and this is better closer to room temperature.

  20. ginger ale fan Says: April 30, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    Hey, can anyone tell me where I can actually buy ginger ale in Shanghai? Makes a great concotion with bourbon…

  21. i had icy mint yesterday without reading the label. it is awful.

  22. It’s 2010 now and they have green tea sprite. It’s the bomb!!

  23. After drinking Sprite Ice I’d have to say Sprite is going a little over the top with flavor variations outside the US. They should just leave the whole minty-fresh thing alone.

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