REVIEW: Sonic Espresso Shake

Sonic Espresso Shake Cup

I consider myself a late adopter of “hot, caffeinated beverages.” I didn’t become a regular coffee drinker until my early 30s, and never had an espresso until a couple of years later.

This is probably why I’m not generally one to opt for coffee, mocha, or espresso-flavored inclusions to my other foods or beverages. Mocha turkey sandwich? Pass. Coffee-rubbed pepperoni on my pizza? No thank you.

One exception to the “dear coffee, please do not mate with my other food” rule are sweets. Coffee — and its coffee-adjacent friends — lend themselves quite naturally to things like cakes, pies, and ice creams. And because a milkshake is but ice cream and milk, it only makes sense that one might infuse it with a caffeinated beverage.

Sonic Espresso Shake Top

Enter Sonic’s new Espresso Shake. According to Sonic’s website, its shake blends vanilla ice cream with “original cold brew iced coffee,” which, okay, I know I’ve established I’m a novice when it comes to hot go-go juice, but aren’t “coffee” and “espresso” two different things? I mean, espresso is coffee, but it’s generally made in a different way and is a far more concentrated substance. But I guess like me, maybe Sonic doesn’t have an espresso machine, and so here we are.

Sonic Espresso Shake Straw

Sonic’s shakes, for the uninitiated, are usually pretty consistent with their viscosity. They’re somewhere between “sucking this hard on the straw hurts my cheeks” and “this is a bit too runny to warrant a spoon.” In other words, optimal milkshake consistency. What is also consistently good is Sonic’s ice cream, which is perfectly creamy and perfectly sweet.

Now that brings us to the flavoring. If Sonic has an issue with frozen drink construction, this is it. With my first taste, my thought was, “Oh, hey, I like this.” The espresso flavor was much milder than I’d been anticipating, though certainly present. (And after reading on the website how they make it, I guess maybe now I know why it was so muted.) My second and third sips were fairly similar, but the fourth left me wondering, “Wait, what happened to the slight coffee taste?” It had disappeared, and I was left with nothing more than a creamy vanilla milkshake.

This went on for a few more sips from the straw, and then, boom, another coffee pocket. Now, I understand that I might not get a blob of banana in every drink of a banana shake, but how Sonic can make a liquid add-in so hit or miss is perplexing. It would have been almost impressive, really, had it not been so disappointing. I wanted more coffee taste, not less.

Perhaps making the milkshake with coffee ice cream would have upped the wow factor. (Or, for that matter, given it a wow factor.) Maybe I should have gone with the Oreo Espresso Shake because don’t Oreo pieces make most things more palatable? As it stands, I’m not sure I’d order the Espresso Shake again — not with so many other Sonic shake options at my disposal.

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: Small
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable on Sonic’s website

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REVIEW: Sonic Trick or Treat Blast

Sonic Trick or Treat Blast Cup

Never, in the history of man, has anyone ever proclaimed “Oreo” to be their favorite Halloween treat. This is because, quite obviously, Oreo cookies are not a Halloween candy. Much like a succulent ham, or a roast leg of lamb, they are an everyday indulgence that knows no seasonality. Therefore, the King of Sandwich Cookie’s inclusion in Sonic’s new Trick-or-Treat Blast is a bit confounding.

That said, it’s actually one of this treat’s few bright spots. I’ll explain in a bit.

But first, you’re probably asking, “What is this Sonic Trick-or-Treat Blast, anyway?” Well, let me tell you. This seasonal Sonic Blast comes in either vanilla or chocolate ice cream, and features Oreo cookie crumbles, mini M&M’s, and Snickers candy bar pieces.

So, you know, two perfectly fine Halloween candies and a random creme-filled cookie.

Sonic Trick or Treat Blast Top

Like I said, though, the cookie works well in the midst of all the ice cream chaos. And really, it’s because the ice cream-softened pieces give your teeth a much needed break. If you are at all familiar with ice cream “mix-ins,” you’ll know that M&M’s — particularly those of the miniature variety — are a cracked molar just lurking in a mountain of sugary goodness. Biting into the Blast for the first time, that was my initial thought: Dear God, please protect my teeth.

Sonic Trick or Treat Blast Spoon

My next thought was, hey, was that peanut butter, and if so, why? However, a nugget of nougat quickly followed and reminded me about the presence of Snickers; I’d simply encountered a rogue nut. The Snickers was a nice respite, but unfortunately, it seemed to be the least prevalent of the three inclusions.

Sonic Trick or Treat Blast Topless

By the lower 50% of the confection, in fact, it was a virtual wasteland, void of candy (and cookie) chunks; there was nothing left but plain ice cream featuring colorful streaks from the ghosts of M&M’s past.

And truly, that was the story of this Blast: bits and piece of mostly-indiscernible sweet stuff in regular vanilla ice cream. Nothing was bad (well, with the exception of the painful candy shard factor, I suppose), but nothing was really great, either. I was left thinking the whole thing felt a little one-dimensional. My 6-year-old had a bite and said, “YUMMY!” which, sure, why not. Perhaps she’s the target audience. And so, if you are a 6-year-old reading this review, this Sonic Trick or Treat Blast is a 10. But also, if you are a 6-year-old reading this review… huh? Shouldn’t you be not on the internet at all, please? I beg of you.

Anyway, what would have made this better? Well, some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, for one. Maybe some Twix? How about a Butterfinger? You know, other actual Halloween candies. In true gluttonous American fashion, why not, as they say, go “big” or go “home”? Remember going to the soda fountain at the gas station when you were a kid and making a “suicide” with 10 different kinds of soda? Do that, but make it a Blast. That would have been a winner. Maybe next October.

Purchased Price: $4.59
Size: Small
Purchased at: Sonic
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable on website.

REVIEW: Sonic Lemonberry Slush Float

Sonic Lemonberry Slush Float

What is the Sonic Lemonberry Slush Float?

Sonic has combined four summertime elements into one drink, from top to bottom: real strawberries, classic Sonic slush, 100% real ice cream, and lemonade slush.

How is it?

Since I had to get it from the drive-thru and bring it home (see below), I used my own straw and spoon to taste all the elements.

Sonic Lemonberry Slush Float Strawberry

The strawberries on top have the unmistakable flavor of frozen fruit. I don’t expect a national fast-food chain to use fresh berries, but I have never found frozen strawberries to taste that great.

Sonic Lemonberry Slush Float Slush

Below that, there’s the “classic Sonic slush.” Does that just mean a slush without any flavoring? Because that’s exactly what it tastes like: nothing. I guess it’s supposed to mix with the strawberries, but I don’t see the point.

Sonic Lemonberry Slush Float Ice Cream

The ice cream is what makes this a float, rather than just a slush, and it’s the reason you need a spoon instead of just a straw. It’s just what you’d expect from soft-serve vanilla. It’s enjoyable, but nothing amazing.

Since the lemonade slush was on the bottom, it was what I tasted when I stuck my straw into the cup and sucked. It was by far the best part -— tart, refreshing, and summery. Unfortunately, I quickly depleted the lemonade part and was sad when I only had the ice cream.

I had hoped the flavors would mix together better, but mostly I just tasted each element on its own, even when I wasn’t trying to keep them separate, and even though they looked like they were somewhat mixed.

Anything else you need to know?

When I pulled into a stall to order in the usual Sonic way, the red button timed out twice without anyone ever helping me, so I had to go to the drive-thru, where I kindly told them what had happened. Also, they gave me salt packets but no syrup for my French toast sticks. So, at the risk of sounding like a Karen, my experience at the Salt Lake City Sonic gets a 2 out of 10. Yelp review over. But I’m rating the drink on its own merits.

Conclusion:

The Lemonberry Slush Float is fine, but next time I think I’ll just get a regular lemonade slush.

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: Small
Rating: 6 out of 10

Nutrition Facts (small) 350 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 59 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Brownie Batter Master Shake

Sonic Brownie Batter Master Shake

What is the Sonic Brownie Batter Master Shake?

Have you ever had the urge to take a big sip of brownie mix before putting it in the oven? Well, I’d suggest stopping by Sonic now that they’ve essentially created a liquid brownie.

Sonic Brownie Batter Master Shake Top

How is it?

As delicious as “brownie a la mode sipped through a straw” sounds, this is a shake of diminishing returns.

Sonic Brownie Batter Master Shake Brownie Bits

At first, the mix of vanilla ice cream, ribbons of brownie batter, and soft little chunks of brownie bits was borderline perfect. The batter and ice cream pairing highlights the vanilla base while also giving it a strong brownie flavor. And the little Cocoa Puffs-sized brownie bites were small enough to fit through the straw without making me suck to the point of a brain hemorrhage. We were on our way to a world-class shake.

Sonic Brownie Batter Master Shake Bottom

As I sipped away the ice cream, I lost interest in the shake entirely. In fairness, I should have expected this from the name, but the massive reservoir of batter at the bottom of the cup was a buzzkill.

It was just a three-inch deep pile of dark chocolate sludge that was loaded with mini chocolate chips. The last few sips of any shake are usually gross on their own, but that paired with the texture and temperature of the brownie mix made for a real downer of an ending.

Anything else you need to know?

I know what you’re thinking. He’s complaining about the brownie batter in a brownie batter-flavored shake. I know, I know, but the bottom was like getting a soda and sipping four sips of straight flavor syrup at the bottom of the can. It’s too much.

By the way, I’m not positive what constitutes a “Master Shake,” but I’m bummed Sonic didn’t also release a Frylock and a Meatwad to go along with this.

Conclusion:

I love chewy brownies, and I was well on my way to loving this shake, but it wasn’t constructed well. It could have been that mine wasn’t mixed properly at the restaurant. Get a mini size, give it a good mix before drinking, and I think you’ll be ok.

Purchased Price: $3.89
Size: Small
Purchased at: Sonic
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 760 calories, 431 grams of fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 26 grams of saturated fat, 450 milligrams of sodium, 85 grams of total carbohydrates, 57 grams of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 11 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Queso Burger

Sonic Queso Burger

Though not scientifically accurate, I believe the addition of queso to most things gives them at least a 75% rise in both their likeability and deliciousness factors.

Made up of mostly cheddar, this world-renowned cheese sauce has blessed everything from the most basic of store brand corn chips to the most expensive of cuts of beef, probably.

That being said, Sonic’s latest experiment in fast food tastiness, the Queso Burger, proves this unified theory in literally buckets of cheese, and I, for one, would love to be entirely dowsed by it.

Sure, at first glance, the Queso Burger might not look like anything spectacular, with only a small drop of bright yellow cheese dripping down the side of my specimen. But taking a large bite from the burger will elicit the most heat-friendly of smiles as the explosions of warm meat and hot queso dance a brave bolero across my yum-addled tongue.

Sonic Queso Burger Bunoff

But there’s a bit more to the Queso Burger than the haughty helping of much-loved queso. Parting the burger in two reveals a more than healthy batch of not only grilled onions, but also – hot damn! – Hatch green chiles, liberally swimming in the cheese sauce over the sweaty meat, begging you to lick them off the bread lustfully.

Served on the requisite toasted bun with just a squirt or two of ketchup and mayonnaise, the Sonic Queso Burger is a surprising hothouse of Tex-Mex flavors. This powerful meat-treat was merely hinted at with its last burger, the Sweet n’ Tangy Bacon Cheeseburger. It’s excitingly progressive when a business like Sonic taps into their Latin side, ain’t it?

Sonic Queso Burger Side

This mixture of queso and chiles is pure lit dynamite, one that I would like to see on Sonic’s tater tots, onion rings, and — oh please oh please oh please — a variety of breakfast burritos. But, until that morning blissfully occurs, the Queso Burger is Sonic’s Cinco de Mayo gift to us all.

And be sure to order a tall Rt. 44 when you get this burger because you might need it.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 800 calories, 51 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 1360 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Watermelon Slush

Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Watermelon Slush

What is Sonic’s Red Bull Summer Edition Watermelon Slush?

Can I interest you in a frozen watermelon flavored Red Bull?

How is it?

It’s cool, it’s refreshing, and it hits the spot. That’s not to say it delivers on the whole “energy drink” aspect of it all.

I enjoyed Summer Edition Watermelon Red Bull when I reviewed it because it actually amped me up. The watermelon flavor was a little on the sour and unripe side, but there was no mistaking it was a Red Bull.

It’s pretty much the opposite here. This tastes like a slightly watered-down Watermelon Slush Puppy, all the way down to the consistency of the ice.

Without knowing it was a Red Bull based drink, you’d probably barely notice. Without carbonation, you lose that “jolt” of a typical Red Bull, and the ice and watermelon mask that unmistakable flavor.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Watermelon Slush Closeup

I’ve always preferred Slurpees to Slush Puppy style frozen drinks. I like the very fine ice mush as opposed to the course little pebbles of ice you get from a Slush Puppy machine. For some reason, one big sip is an instant brain freeze. I can feel the little ice shards scraping against the roof of my mouth and it instantly sets off that pain alarm in my cranium. Gulpers beware!

Sonic didn’t seem to offer this in a small, which would have been my preferred size.

Also, Sonic, I think it’s time to get a grip on using Styrofoam cups, no? Sure, plastic isn’t exactly MUCH better, but at least I can pretend that won’t be laying in a landfill for the rest of my life. But I digress…

Conclusion:

It may be a strange summer, but this is worth a buy if you want a quick burst of cool refreshment. It’s sweeter than the Red Bull it mimics, but you won’t get a headache from all the sugar – you’ll get it from the ice.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: Medium
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 250 calories, 0 grams of fat, 75 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of total carbohydrates, 65 grams of total sugars, 0 grams of protein.