The main draw of a Sonic Drive-In isn’t its sandwiches or fries, but rather, its frozen drinks. You come here not to satisfy hunger, but to quench epic thirst. And the array of beverages is extensive to the point of overwhelming/ There are Green Apple Slushes, Strawberry Real Fruit Slushes, and an ever revolving selection of new and limited edition slushes. How on earth are you to choose? Luckily, someone was crazy enough to try all of them for you, and that person was me. Together with some brave friends and designated tasters, I put 26 frozen drinks to the test to find the champion of frozen lemonades and limeades, candy slushes (which are a thing) and plain ol’ slushy drinks. No bodies were harmed in the process, but multiple Route 44-sized cups of water were consumed.
Blue Coconut Slush with Popping Candy
After much deliberation, it seems that, except for Powerade, anything blue at Sonic will only taste blue—the only way you can tell Blue Coconut and Blue Raspberry apart is that Blue Coconut has a slight sunscreen aftertaste. Popping candy could have been interesting here, but these little bits of sugar just did not pop.
Blue Raspberry Slush with Rainbow Candy
Texture-wise, Rainbow Candy (aka fake Nerds) isn’t the best choice of candy to add to a slush. The tart lumps don’t fit through the straw, which defeats the entire point. In terms of flavor, it’s mostly just candy
Frozen Grape Limeade
Frozen Grape Limeade produced such comments as “weird,” “shocking,” and “what is in my mouth?” It’s acrid, even for a limeade, and as bold as sticking a WarHead candy right on your tongue. Grape and limeade are two flavors that just don’t belong together.
Blue Raspberry Slush
As with the Blue Coconut Slush, the Blue Raspberry Sluch of Sonic lacks flavor – they have to be combined with something else, like candy or lemonade. On its own, the Blue Raspberry Slush tastes limp and watered down, and like it was just left out for too long. After a few sips, I realized the flavor was just like Kool-Aid.
When it comes to grape flavoring, the experience is primarily bad, but here the results are pleasantly surprising. One tester called its taste “super authentic artificial grape flavor,” which lies along the dark purple Gatorade profile with a touch of cough syrup.
Blue Coconut Slush
Blue Coconut and Blue Raspberry were tricky to differentiate except for one factor: aftertaste. Blue Coconut ends with that hint of sunscreen flavor, but no matter how many times you sip Blue Raspberry, it will always taste like blue dye.
Grape Slush with Rainbow Candy
If you take the lid off this one, it looks like a fast-food version of outer spacel. Drinking the Grape Slush with Rainbow Candy is pleasant, but nothing special, even a bit frustrating, like waiting outside a Cracker Barrel.
Minute Maid Cranberry Juice Slush
Remarks here ranged from “concentrate” to “no flavor,” but testers all agreed that the Minute Maid Cranberry Juice Slush tasted like it was straight out of the bottle.
Watermelon Slush with Rainbow Candy
Here, the fake Nerds overpower the slush, and since the straw got clogged I drank some straight from the cup to get the correct taste experience – all I got was a harsh brainfreeze.
The Cherry Slush will easily taste artificial if it isn’t prepared or consumed properly. To avoid its drawbacks, you can’t let it melt – once it does the Cherry Slush tastes like straight-up syrup,. You may also want to visit a Sonic that actually makes frozen slushes.
Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
Frozen Strawberry Lemonade starts out nicely, but the tangy sweetness quickly becomes too much. While the real bits of fruit add a nice touch, this is a drink you can’t wait to melt so it dilutes a bit.
Watermelon is a complicated flavor: you’re either going to get green and sweet or pink and sharp. Sonic’s Watermelon slush finishes of with a hint of sour, making it a nice option for sour beer enthusiasts.
Frozen Cherry Lemonade
Frozen Cherry Lemonade makes you pucker immediately, and it takes a few tries to figure out what you’re actually drinking. The flavor is pure and concentrated, but by the time you’ve had every frozen drink at Sonic, you realize that this one is part of a paradox: the Frozen Cherry Lemonade has a tartness that you’d expect in a limeade (Cherry Limeade, on the other hand, is saccharine), making it something it isn’t supposed to be.
Although it’s totally syrup-based, the Orange Slush tastes slightly different and less sweet – less like orange-flavored candy, more like orange soda or an orange Freezepop. The Orange Slush is one of your best bets for neutrality.
Frozen Classic Lemonade
Frozen Classic Lemonade is usually inoffensive—one taster described it as “the Cadillac of the frozen slush.” The sweetness here is along the Country Time lemonade powder caliber, so if you prefer citrus over saccharine, go with the Frozen Limeade instead.
Frozen Blue Raspberry Lemonade
It turns out that when you mix blue flavoring with lemonade, it actually has a taste. The Frozen Blue Raspberry Lemonade, which mixes to a deep teal, tastes vibrant and beachy, making it the closest thing on the menu to a much-needed Ocean Water Slush.
Powerade Mountain Berry Blast Slush
Part of the appeal of sports drinks is that despite having just as much sugar as soft drinks, they have a lighter, tangier tastes. Thus the Powerade Slush is less sugary than others, which I appreciated while tasting myself through in a sea of flavored syrup. However, that means it has less flavor, which might be a drawback if you weren’t tasting 26 slushes in one sitting. .
Pineapple Real Fruit Slush
The Pineapple Real Fruit Slush earned mixed reviews among testers, and it all came down to flavor. One tester lauded the presence of real fruit chunks, while another enjoyed that it wasn’t too heavy on fake flavor. Personally, I thought this slush had less taste than the syrup that pools at the bottom of canned fruit.
Green Apple Slush
If Green Apple was your go-to choice as a kid (or you’re a fan of Green Apple Jolly Ranchers), then tasting one some 15 years later is refreshing and nostalgic. If not, you might not enjoy it that much.
Frozen Cherry Limeade
Frozen Cherry Limeade is deceptively saccharine. One tester noted the sweet and sour notes don’t mesh too smoothly, while another lamented that Cherry just wasn’t as good as Classic Limeade. Apparently it also tastes like the cherry limeade at Firehouse Subs.
Green Apple Slush with Rainbow Candy
Mother of God, we liked this one. Still, it can be improved by switching out fake Nerds for real Jolly Ranchers. Don’t forget to balance it out with some water, kids.
Cherry Slush with Rainbow Candy
This one was another universal favorite.
Frozen Classic Limeade
Cherry Limeade and Classic Limeade are both good for different reasons. Whereas Cherry pumps up the sweetness, Frozen Classic Limeade delivers what its name promises. It’s a light jolt to the mouth, but here the cool lime notes are refreshing, although the citrus does leave a sticky mouth feel. Also, this needs to be in a margarita.
Green Apple Slush with Jolly Rancher Hard Candy
This had the perfect level of tartness mixed with the perfect level of sweetness, creating an echo chamber of jolly. Sonic’s Green Apple already tastes like Jolly Ranchers, but rather than adding overkill, the shredded candy lingers and melts. It was also one of the only drinks we finished.
Cherry Slush with Jolly Rancher Hard Candy
If it isn’t yet apparent, the ultimate add-in for a candy slush is Jolly Rancher. The shards of candy gather in chunks where they regain their adhesive nature. It also ages (aka melts) quite well.
Strawberry Real Fruit Slush
Ancient lore dictates that the Strawberry Real Fruit Slush is among the best hangover remedies, but its merit goes far beyond magical properties. This may be the only slush that doesn’t turn disastrous once the ice starts melting. Testers applauded the Strawberry Real Fruit Slush for its less artificial (and truly “strawberrian”) taste, and those little bits of blended fruit add a fun texture while ensuring that whatever you’re drinking did in fact once live on earth.