REVIEW: Sonic Jalapeño Chocolate Shake

Sonic Jalapen?o Chocolate Shake Cup

Waaay back on April 1st, Sonic Drive-In announced their newest shake – the Kale Cream Pie Shake.

Sound horrifyingly disgusting? That’s because it was an April Fool’s joke. It was a promotional gag for their Summer of Shakes, which includes Oreo Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, and Chocolate Covered Jalapeño.

Does that last one sound horrifyingly disgusting? That’s because it was an Apri- oh, shit. It wasn’t a joke. The Sonic Chocolate Covered Jalapeño Shake is real.

When I got my shake, I was disappointed it came in a pedestrian Styrofoam cup. The promo pictures had a clear cup that showed little pepper pieces in the shake, as well as jalapeño pieces on the whipped cream. Presumably, this is why it was initially called the Chocolate Covered Jalapeño Shake, but is now called the Jalapeño Chocolate Shake.

It looked so innocent at first. Just a chocolate shake. I dipped a spoon into the cup, expecting to come up with some little pieces, but instead I found…

Sonic Jalapen?o Chocolate Shake Jalapen?o Slice

Yeah. Whole sliced jalapeños, right in the shake. What the fuck.

Sonic Jalapen?o Chocolate Shake Glass

Wanting a better look, I unceremoniously dumped the shake into a glass, and the results gave me no encouragement.

Using a straw with my shake, as God intended, it initially tasted like a chocolate shake that was somehow…off. If I didn’t know there were peppers in it, I would have tasted it and thought, huh, they did something weird to this. There wasn’t any real spiciness to it, just an offness, like maybe the chocolate syrup had gone bad. I’ve never had the experience of tasting that, but that’s the closest I could come to a comparison.

And then I sucked in my first piece of jalapeño.

You know how sometimes you’ll get a chunky shake and accidentally suck a piece straight to the back of your throat? That’s exactly what happened to me. But, instead of a delicious piece of Oreo cookie, it was a motherfucking jalapeño.

And not just some pedestrian pickled jalapeño, either. A fresh jalapeño.

I did that thing where you use your tongue to move the piece back to the front of your mouth and started chewing it, but the damage had already been done. Jalapeño juice burned the back of my throat, causing me to choke and gag a little.

After getting over that, I chewed the jalapeño piece. My poor mouth was so confused. “I love jalapenos!” Some of my taste buds said. “I love chocolate shake!” others joined in enthusiastically. But then the two clashed, and both sides screamed.

“AAAAHHHHHHH THIS IS SO WRONG WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US!”

“WE LOVE JALAPENOS WHY IS THERE CHOCOLATE SHAKE IN HERE!”

“WE LOVE CHOCOLATE SHAKE WHY ARE THERE JALAPENOS IN HERE!”

At this point, I was chatting with a friend, who kindly informed me, “I heard you don’t get the full effect unless you muddle it first.”

I hated this idea with a passion. But I had to admit he was probably right.

So I smashed my straw down into the glass, hearing the sickening squish of peppers releasing their capsaicin like a hundred villagers being reduced to a slick yet chunky mash of viscera under the foot of a vengeful giant.

Did I mention that I hate this friend?

What was once an off-tasting chocolate shake with the occasional nasty jalapeño surprise turned into a creamy drink of unending horror. The peppers had now blended efficiently with the chocolate shake, resulting in a taste that, and I’m not over-exaggerating for effect here, made me think I might vomit.

All that pepper taste that had been released and was now free to mix with the chocolate and ice cream, and it’s hard to even describe the outcome. It wasn’t just spicy chocolate. It was jalapeño peppers a la mode with some chocolate. It was bitter and sickly sweet and spicy and sad and I honestly made that face you’d make if a hippo flung poo into your open mouth.

After a few sips, I could take no more. What the hell was I going to do with this thing? I was afraid if I tossed it down the kitchen sink, I might actually toss my cookies along with it.

So I did the only thing I could – I chucked it into the dumpster outside. I should have covered it with cow excrement to make a more pleasant smell or burned that dumpster down and buried the ashes. But that’s probably a felony, so I just threw it in there and hoped no dumpster divers had the misfortune of finding it before it went to the landfill.

I’ve eaten a lot of terrible things in my journey as a food reviewer, but there are a few that really stand out. The #1 on my list has always been Jones Bacon Flavored Soda, and I was reminded of it often as I tried to down the Sonic Jalapeño Chocolate Shake.

With both I experienced a grey, mushy feeling of wrongness deep inside my soul; a knowledge that this is an experience that will stay with me forever; nausea; and the idea that a company had taken a flavor I loved and ruined it forever. Two flavors, in this case.

I really thought I would hate the Sonic Jalapeño Chocolate Shake before I tried it, but thought it wouldn’t be as bad as I’d anticipated. I was wrong. It is so, so much worse.

(Nutrition Facts – Small size — 670 calories, 280 calories from fat, 31 grams of total fat, 23 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 480 milligrams of sodium, 89 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 56 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein, 20% vitamin A, 1% vitamin C, 26% calcium, and 5% iron..)

Item: Sonic Jalapeño Chocolate Shake
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: Small
Purchased at: Sonic
Rating: 0 out of 10
Pros: The chocolate shake only tasted “off” before I muddled it. I guess using fresh jalapeño peppers deserves a mention? The cherry on top hadn’t touched the shake, so it was okay.
Cons: Muddling the jalapeños was the worst idea in the world. Um, everything about this shake is a terrible idea. Sonic had the audacity to charge me an extra $0.60 for the jalapeños, for some reason. Burning public dumpsters is probably illegal. Fuck you for scarring my soul, Sonic.

44 thoughts on “REVIEW: Sonic Jalapeño Chocolate Shake

  1. Are you sure that you’re not that same guy who cries like a little schoolgirl when he eats a Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder?

      1. A woman who has eaten a Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder and didn’t even glance in the direction of a glass of milk. Just, y’know, for the record.

  2. They could had done this in a different way. Aztec chocolate shake maybe? Cinnamon, cloves, and little spice for kick.

    1. That actually sounds pretty brilliant. Pitch it to Sonic immediately and demand it replace the Jalapeño Chocolate Shake. There’s a way to do spice and chocolate together, but this was just the most wrongest way.

  3. Yeeeeup… there’s a reason that desserts that combine “chocolate” and “pepper” usually use ground, dried peppers and stick to ordinary black pepper or ancho chili pepper. (Even white pepper doesn’t go all that well.)

    About the sweetest thing that jalapeno works with is Italian sweet sausage, and that’s on pizza, not in a milkshake. I love jalapeno to the point of keeping a jar in the office as well as one at home, and you know what I did with my strawberry cheesecake blizzard from DQ yesterday? I did NOT put jalapeno in it. And that was the right decision.

  4. I usually avoid Sonic, because their food isn’t that good and they seem to mess up my order EVERY time.

    This shake sounds so vile. Thanks for taking one for the team and reminding me to continue to avoid Sonic.

      1. “I usually avoid Sonic, because their food isn’t that good and they seem to mess up my order EVERY time.”

        “You shouldn’t avoid a restaurant just because of one item.”

        Joe Cool needs reading glasses.

  5. Those really look like pickled jalapeños. I can’t see all of it, but color, size, and thickness all point to pickled. Plus the fact that Sonic uses pickled in everything else and other reviewers had pickled…regardless, I won’t be trying this shake.

  6. As much as I want to give you a hug for trying this shake, I have to say, this atrocity produced some excellent writing! I laughed the whole way through. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I don’t mean to be rude Kelley, but, what the hell were you thinking wanting to try that? That just looks gross and I wonder if Marvo ever gave a review a zero?

    1. I honestly have a masochistic streak when it comes to junk/fast food – the weirder it is, the more I’m intrigued. It’s part of why I started writing food reviews. Plus, people love reading about others’ suffering. (I call it the “hey, this tastes horrible – try it!” factor.)

      If you look at the top of the review, you’ll see “0 ratings” that you can click on. I was surprised that there have been so few zeros, but unsurprised to see Jones Bacon Flavored Soda made that list.

  8. On a side comment….little surprised by the profanity in the review. Don’t get me wrong, I have a sailor mouth for a girl. Just not used to seeing it on this website, and multiple times in one review. I also twitch at change, so if the reviews are going to be a bit more free flow just let me know so I can expect it from now on.

    1. I didn’t even notice the profanity…which just tells me I’m completely desensitized by it now… I’m not sure that’s a good thing… :\

  9. I tried one and thought it was okay. The heat of the jalapeño was absent unless a jalapeño bit found its way into the straw. I was more disappointed by the lack of heat than anything else. Found myself wishing they’d have blended the shake with jalapeño juice to give it the kick I was looking for. I didn’t think it was gross, disgusting, etc. Tasted like a chocolate shake with an occasional jalapeño bite to me. On to the next flavor!

    1. Well, if this is your cup of…um…whatever, you should try muddling the peppers. That releases the jalapeño flavor that you seem to be craving.

  10. Thank you Kelley! Best. Review. Ever. I literally laughed until I cried. Fantastic way to combat the Monday Blues.

  11. Wow. I think the concept is interesting (though I have no desire to try it myself) but the execution seems insane. Who wants giant slices of jalapeno in a milkshake? At the very least it should’ve been blended down to boba-size

  12. I tried this today. The jalapeno flavor in the shake was really obvious for MAYBE the first third of the shake. From that point on it turned into regular old chocolate shake. All my pepper rings sunk to the bottom, too. Probably would be way better if they were diced smaller and blended in.

    Liked it for the novelty, but it’s not something I’d ever bother buying ever again. Probably should’ve went for salted caramel.

  13. Actually, you unfortunately got the shake made incorrectly!
    I’m a sonic employee, and it specifically says on the recipe card to used diced jalapeños. Not only that, but they are supposed to be pickled. Whoever made your shake was either lazy, or the store ran out of pickled jalapeños and sent someone out to get fresh ones… Regardless, your shake wasn’t made correctly.

    1. Hm, interesting. I got a few pieces, but for the most part, as you can see, they were whole slices.

      A few people have commented that surely the jalapeños were pickled. I’d like to think I know the difference between fresh and pickled; however, I was also in the throes of horror, so I guess I could have been wrong?

      I’m not sure if them being diced and/or pickled would have made it any better, however. Have you tried your own product? What did you think of it?

      1. I am so curious as to what Casey’s thoughts are on the product and what the employees thought when they heard this terrible excuse for a treat was being introduced. I just don’t understand how this could have even made it onto the menu. Who buys these? I felt sick to my stomach upon simply reading the title. Great review though, Kelley!

        1. Reading my comment back, it sounded a bit snarky, which was not at all my intention. I am just genuinely intrigued (so much so that I am checking back to see if Casey has since provided any more insight into this enigma). I just stumbled upon this site a few days ago and am completely obsessed. I love reading the 0-2 out of 10 reviews, not merely for entertainment and educational purposes, but to curb my appetite when I’m starving and all I have available is a couple of expired yogurts and half a bottle of ketchup.

        2. Thanks Lace! In my years of reviewing (and thus paying close attention to) fast food, I’ve learned that they love their gimmicks. It seems like it doesn’t matter if it’s good, as long as it gets press. And I’m one of those suckers who buys these things.

          Hope you keep reading (any buy yourself some new yogurt, please!)

      1. Pickled, I’m not sure why my autocorrect changed that. I will also add that is clearly a pickled jalapeño that is pictured. Fresh ones don’t remotely look like that.

  14. I’m a newbie to the site. LOVED this review! I laughed from start to finish. Thanks for making my day humor filled. Keep up the great work (errr, not so, in this case)!

  15. I assure you, the salted caramel shake is no better. We just tried it. It was like drinking heavily salted water with more salt just to make sure you get enough. All three of us who tried it, spit it right out. It is a heart attack in disguise. We like to try all the new flavors but, based on this experience and your reviews, no thank you. Word to those of you who still might want to try it, good luck, be sure to have a backup to remove the heat of the jalapeno or the severe overage of salt from your pallette.

  16. Spicy and chocolate can go great together. Brownies, after a spicy chili dinner when your mouth is still hot, are awesome. Soooo awesome.

  17. All I can say is that I had the same thinking and feeling when I bought that “milkshake” (if it deserves called “milshake”)last night. NEVER buy it even if you feel curious about it.

  18. I actually love it and I’m not a chocolate shake or ice cream person. The jalapenos aren’t too spicy and taste pretty good with the chocolate.

  19. Anyone who says this shake is good…gets paid by Sonic.

    I am a regular, loyal Sonic customer for years as were my parents
    before me and quite possibly my children will follow.

    I am a die hard fan of jalapenos and hot peppers. You know, the guy
    who would actually eat the Tabasco peppers at Mexican restaurants
    without being dared.

    But the Jalapeno Chocolate milkshake at Sonic deserves to be the logo image
    accompanying the entry of the word “disgusting” in all standard modern dictionaries.

    Beyond disappointed.

    I understand Sonic’s willingness to experiment and don’t fault that side of it,
    but please have the decency to admit it when an idea just doesn’t work.

    If the peppers tasted like actual jalapenos instead of these cheap SOUR VINEGARY PICKLED abominations
    impersonating as jalapeno peppers, then it could be relaunched and tested again with an improved recipe,
    but evidently, using any kind of jalapenos except for the nasty pickled sour vinegar in a can kind,
    isn’t as cheap on ingredients.

    Man, Sonic.

    I’ll drink the Route 44 Cherry Limeades until the cows come home,
    but just the thought of that nasty concoction you actually accepted money
    from customers for “buying” turns my stomach in a way I didn’t think possible,

    sicksonic
    sonicsick

    “Son, I c ur Sick!”
    “Yes, Dad. Was it the sickeningly sweet yet sour salty vinegary pickled whole pepper chunks in my Sonicvomit that gave it away?”

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