“Chad fulfilled my dream of bringing the Baja Blast to Fox Dining,” Holly Kaighan ’23 said.
As a regular customer, Kaighan never leaves Taco Bell without purchasing her favorite drink, the Baja Blast. This exclusive Mountain Dew flavor was sold only from Taco Bell soda fountain machines and in limited quantities at grocery stores until it made its first appearance at Ursuline in September.
To gain approval for to sell this exclusive drink, Kaighan, Megan Nuchereno ’23 and Walker Madison ’23 created a petition. Their petition for the Baja Blast successfully earned 217 signatures, over one-fourth of the whole UA student body.
Neon teal in color, the Baja Blast has the same taste as regular Mountain Dew, but with a tropical lime flavor twist. Fast food restaurant Taco Bell partnered with the carbonated soft drink brand to create this drink as the perfect complement to their Tex-Mex offerings.
Introduced in 2014, the Baja Blast became an instant hit as a cult classic. Not only did this drink pair perfectly with any taco, but it also brought in over $1 billion in sales since it was introduced. Mountain Dew already had a strong marketing campaign, appealing to young crowds with their highly caffeinated drinks, but the brand now appeals to customers at Taco Bell who also attend or work at Ursuline.
After learning the copycat recipe for the Baja Blast from Sabrina Ramirez ‘23, Kaighan began to make the drink at school. There are many recipes for the Baja Blast, but Kaighan claims Ramirez’s has the most accurate taste and look when compared to the real drink.
“It is a simple combination of Powerade, Sprite and lemonade from the fountain drink machine,” Kaighan said.
After mixing this combination almost every day at school from Fox’s soda fountain machine, Kaighan decided to present the recipe to Chad Nielson, Ursuline’s new Food Service Director in Fox. She knew that if Chad approved the recipe to be sold on campus, then she would representing her fellow student body by fulfilling a request made by many.
Before meeting with Chad, however, Kaighan knew she would need support from her peers and classmates. And so, the petition for the Baja Blast to be brought to school began.
With the help of Madison and Nuchereno, news of the petition spread across campus.
“Why go to Taco Bell when the Baja Blast could be sold at your own high school?” Madison said.
Students from all grade levels signed the petition, anticipating a successful result.
With over 200 signatures, Kaighan could now present her idea to Chad with confidence. Right away, he was amazed at how many signatures appeared on the loose-leaf sheets of paper. He immediately gave his approval and went to work to submit the idea to the FDA to gain final school approval.
Shortly after, a large acrylic drink dispenser labeled “Holly Kaighan’s Baja Blast” appeared in Fox Dining. Word spread quickly of the petition’s success as students eagerly crowded the drink station during lunch. The line to try the exotic looking drink went from zero to 50 people in only seconds. Students even re-entered the line for refills.
After one sip, Nicole Gossage ’22 said, “This brings me back to Taco Bell!”
“It was the first time my tastebuds felt loved,” Regan Chen ’24 said.
The Baja Blast was a success in Fox Dining.
Kaighan said, “This may have been my best idea yet, but definitely not my last; I have many more ideas in store for the future.”