Pedialyte, the flavored sugar water promising redemption at the end of a CVS aisle, wants you to know that it is not a hangover cure. They even say so on the website: “Pedialyte® is not a hangover cure.” They also warn that “the only way to avoid feeling terrible is to drink less,” which is true, but no one wants to hear that. And now that that Pedialyte has made clear that it would like to be excluded from the hangover narrative, it has debuted a new drink, just in time for New Year’s Eve.
Pedialyte Sparkling Rush is available as either a cherry- or grape-flavored powder, and sold at Target, Amazon, and Meijer grocery stores. Simply add a packet to water slowly, dissolve it, and drink. The result is a fizzy way to replenish electrolytes, akin to mixing Emergen-C with seltzer, or hitting your Powerade with a SodaStream blast.
In a press release, Abbott Laboratories called the drink “a medical-grade hydration solution,” which explains the high-voltage nature of a name like Sparkling Rush. They also promise that the drink “replenishes the body with twice the electrolytes and half the sugar of leading sports drinks, and no artificial colors” — because the first thing someone would find objectionable about a drink like Mountain Dew Code Red is the way it stains your mouth atomic berry, not the caffeine quotient.
But the souped-up name also hints at an inconvenient truth: that sometimes, adult babies need things marketed to them in special ways so that they feel safe and understood. Why else would beauty products market themselves to men at the same decibel as a bar fight? Old Spice Pure Sport High Endurance deodorant! Dannon Oikos Triple Zero yogurt!!! Pedialyte Sparkling Rush!!!!!!!!!!!
Could any of us make do with regular Pedialyte? Sure, why not? Could we also make do with bodega french fries and a carton of coconut water? Absolutely. (There are even better things for your body than fries, but I’ll let my colleagues give you that advice here.) Or, yes, people could just drink less — but then companies wouldn’t be able to market beverages that are definitely not a hangover cure [wink, wink] to the masses.