Essentials: Cobra Verde, Iowa City, Iowa
A different kind of energy drink
The problem with most energy drinks is that they taste like a dirty guitar riff—distorted “fruit” flavor, blown-out sweetness, and an aftertaste of metals the periodic table hasn’t yet named. Cobra Verde, Iowa City’s homegrown green coffee extract drink, just tastes like a tart citrus soda. Each poison-green can contains as much caffeine as a Rockstar (160 mg), but the flavorings are stripped-down indie folk: cane sugar, orange juice, peach juice, and lemon. If you prefer your energy unsweetened, try Paleo Verde, which delivers the same snake-like stamina in a puckery ginger-lemon brew. And if you’re an unrepentant maniac, stir either version into a cocktail for a bifurcated buzz. —Liz Cook
Liz Cook is a Kansas City-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Pitch, Bon Appétit, Eater, and The Kansas City Star. She also writes the experimental food newsletter Haterade.
Kevin Necessary is a freelance illustrator and editorial cartoonist. He is currently the editorial cartoonist for The Cincinnati Enquirer. His cartoons are syndicated by GoComics, and his cartoons have been published in a variety of publications such as The Week and Politico. A Cincinnati native, Kevin will fight to the death defending Cincinnati chili. He lives with his wife, Julie, and three cats, Huckleberry, Grayson, and Bonnie.