Sweet, tart, refreshing… lemonade is so popular for a reason, sure. But it can also be pretty easy to mess up. In ye olden days of about a few weeks ago, back when McDonald’s used to serve syrupy Minute Maid lemonade, it wasn’t exactly the nectar of the gods, but it was predictable. The Minute Maid has now been replaced by McDonald’s new lemonade (ironically referred to on its menu as “classic”), which was an unknown quantity for me.
To briefly break down the difference, this new brew is described by Mickey D’s as “made with real lemon juice, bits of lemon pulp and real cane sugar.” Conversely, Minute Maid is maid with high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar, and it also doesn’t contain pulp. So, these two citrusy sips have their distinctions, and you can taste them.
I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find the words to review something as straightforward as lemonade, but from my very first taste, one word flashed brightly in my mind, as bold as Ronald McDonald’s wig: TART. I had wondered whether this new lemonade might be on the saccharine side like its predecessor, but there was nothing mild about its lip-puckering intensity. That cane sugar does lend some welcome notes of sweetness to avoid feeling like you’re straight up licking a lemon, but the dominant flavor is definitely sour.
I had also suspected that this lemonade might taste watered down, but I’m pleased to report that that was not the case. The taste was rather smooth and robust, so much so that when I had to take a phone call mid review and returned to find my ice cubes melted, the flavor was hardly diminished (in fact, with the sharp edges of sourness slightly toned down the lemonade might have even tasted better).
Of course, I also have to mention the potentially-controversial addition of pulp, and I have to mention that I barely noticed it. The pulp was most obvious when I peered at the bottom of my cup, and yes, when I jostled the cup I could clearly see it swirling throughout, but its presence was less felt in the taste, with most pulp bits short and thin enough that I hardly realized they were there as I drank. The occasional larger chunk was more apparent, but I found that these just added some welcome texture.
Overall, the potent pucker power of McDonald’s new lemonade might be a touch too tart for some tastes, but if you can suck it up — literally! — this juice is worth the squeeze.
Purchased Price: $2.60
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 150 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 34 grams of sugar (including 34 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein.
4 thoughts to “REVIEW: McDonald’s New Lemonade (2023)”
Good review. I enjoyed it too. I wonder if they’d add a little liquid sugar if we asked? It certainly works well in their tea!
I’m also hoping flavored lemonades are coming soon. Strawberry would be great!
Paying $2.60 for a small lemonade from Mcds is just insane. I would much rather go to Panera for one of their charged lemonades. I think their large regular lemonade is around 2.60 and comes with endless refills and it’s actually sweet and freshly made.
Stop the plastic cups already – they sweat all over the place and don’t keep drinks cold.
I failed to pick up on anything lemony at all. Mine tasted like sweetened water. Not at all worth the cost.