REVIEW: Sonic Orange Cloudsicle Slush Float

I reviewed Sonic’s Sour Patch Kids Slush Float in the summer of 2022, so I had an idea of what the latest limited-edition Slush Float, Orange Cloudsicle, would bring to the table. This time, it features a flavor that I hope you’re not sick of yet from its other recent appearances in a Wendy’s Frosty, Arby’s milkshake, etc…

Slush Floats are made up of a majestic swirl of vanilla ice cream on top and slush on bottom, and garnished with a topping that matches the flavor of the slush. In this case, to suit the orange-flavored slush are what Sonic refers to as “orange vanilla flavor bubbles,” though you’re probably more likely to know them as “popping boba” if you’re a bubble tea fan (or “popping pearls,” if Starbucks is more your jam). There’s also “Orange Cloudsicle Syrup,” which is apparently cooler than plain orange because it features hints of vanilla as well (and is different than “Orange Creamsicle” because, well, that was already trademarked).

I used a straw for my last Slush Float and a spoon for this one, and this may sound overly persnickety, but I think the utensil you use really determines your experience. Drinking the Slush Float felt like getting a fun little treat (ice cream) on top of a fun little treat (slushie). Spooning it had the opposite effect: eating ice cream with a weirdly liquid-y, gritty ice mixture at the bottom was honestly kind of a bummer. In hindsight, that’s my bad since Sonic’s soft serve is so dense that I estimate it would take about a year to melt, while the slush had already become watery in the ten or so minutes it took to dig down to that layer. So, honestly, I trashed my layer of slush pretty quickly after I’d finished the ice cream, but I can chalk that disappointment partly up to user error.

Anyway, structural issues aside, how did this thing taste? Not to sound too much like a marketing agency, but: like the epitome of summer, plus a pinch of nostalgia. I don’t feel I need to say much about Sonic’s ice cream since it’s always excellent. The orange flavor of the slush and syrup reminded me more of the actual fruit than the candies inspired by it—think orange juice, not gummy Orange Slices.

But what made me want to eat this in the first place were the flavor bubbles (which, aside from a few stragglers at the bottom of my cup, were pretty much localized entirely on top of the ice cream). They added a sense of fun and uniqueness that was very welcome, plus they were surprisingly strong; I tend to enjoy bursting them against the roof of my mouth, but they were so stretchy that this didn’t always succeed in splitting them, leading to some anticlimactic moments where the juice instead just sort of ended up dribbling out sadly instead of exploding in a grand fashion. Regardless, they were tasty and entertaining, although I didn’t pick up on any of the vanilla that Sonic mentions they contain. Maybe my palette was just too dazed by the obvious vanilla-ness of the ice cream to notice something subtler in comparison?

Ultimately, this is a fun, yummy treat, but one that you should tackle with a strategic order of operations—I suggest learning from my mistake and alternating between spoon and straw for the full effect.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: Medium
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 420 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 250 milligrams of sodium, 92 grams of carbohydrates, 87 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Oreo Big Scoop Cheesecake Sundae

I recently ignited a small firestorm of controversy on a personal social media page by declaring, after my first visit to an In-N-Out, that the universally lauded burger was “fine” and “honestly, not quite as good as a cheeseburger from my closest Sonic.”

And while I do occasionally appreciate a good old-fashioned online riling, that’s not what this was. I meant it.

In-N-Out was perfectly fine. The burger was tasty, and the produce — though too plentiful — was fresh. It was very affordable, which was great. If I had an In-N-Out near me, I would probably get it occasionally. All this being said, it was not manna from heaven.

My nearest Sonic, though, is incredible. Everything always comes out flawlessly assembled and picturesque. The meat is always hot and well-seasoned. The produce is always fresh and applied in just the right amount. This Sonic is, I understand, likely an anomaly.

Even still, I think even the worst Sonic location is capable of pulling together a decent dessert, and I submit, for your consideration, the new Oreo Big Scoop Cheesecake Sundae or Blast.

For the sundae, which is what I had, vanilla soft serve is layered with Oreo cookie pieces, and topped off with a big ol’ scoop of Oreo Cheesecake. (According to the website, the Blast is described as “creamy cheesecake soft serve,” but under the “what’s included” heading, it suggests that it too uses vanilla soft serve but also “Cheesecake Syrup” in addition to the cookie pieces and cheesecake ball. I’m not sure which is correct.)

Sonic’s vanilla soft serve is pretty straightforward — creamy, sweet, and of typical soft serve consistency. The Oreo pieces were layered throughout in perfect execution, as promised, and with a clear purpose — each spoonful contained at least a few bits of chocolate cookie crumble. The real star of this show was the cheesecake orb at the top of the sundae. I don’t know if it comes from a giant bucket of Oreo cheesecake mixture or what, but this golfball-sized sphere of deliciousness was perfectly creamy and cheesecake-y, and I would eat fistfuls of the stuff if someone would let me. My only quibble with this sundae — and it is a nitpicky one — is that I wish the cheesecake could be interspersed throughout. (And if we’re indulging fantasies, perhaps some sort of fudge inclusion wouldn’t be the worst thing.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see if I can find a bucket of Oreo cheesecake mix to nosh on while I read the hate-filled death threats I’m sure to get from the In-N-Outarians in the comments section.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 570 calories, 30 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 420 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 43 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Pulled Pork BBQ Cheeseburger

There are many things that pop into my mind when I think of Sonic: their magical, perfectly chewable ice nuggets, the amazing variety of drink and frozen treat options…and the time my wife spilled an entire Route 44 Cherry Coke on herself when she snagged the lid on the car door. Thankfully, she doesn’t read my reviews. She does not find nearly as much humor in that memory as I do.

One thing I don’t associate with Sonic is BBQ because, well, it’s Sonic. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I ordered the new Sonic Pulled Pork BBQ Cheeseburger. To my mild surprise, it was quite good. Mind you, it’s not good like one of those BBQ places where you wait in line for 45 minutes and pray they don’t run out before you get to order, but if you have a hankering for some pulled pork and are pressed for time, this gets the job done.

This sandwich contains what you would expect based on the name — a burger patty, cheese, and pulled pork. The pork didn’t really wow me, but it was juicy and tender as it should be. It’s the little extras that make this shine. The meats are nestled in a pillowy, slightly sweet brioche bun with a blanket of pickles to add some crunch and acidic kick. Sonic claims it has “cherrywood smoke sauce,” which I quite enjoyed, despite detecting only the slightest hint of smoke flavor and certainly not enough for my palate to detect the type of tree from which any smoke might originate. The sauce did have a more complex flavor than what you might expect from a typical fast food BBQ condiment.

The end result was a juicy tag team of beef and pork with some tasty sauce that paired nicely with the pickles and mild cheese flavor. The great-tasting bun holds it all together beautifully. My only quibbles are that this thing is pretty salty, as the 1,590 milligrams of sodium confirms, and the $6.39 price tag seems a touch pricey, especially since mine wasn’t overflowing with pulled pork as the Sonic app led me to believe.

Sonic says this is a limited time item, so I plan to get it at least once or twice before it disappears. It’s also available as a simple pulled pork sandwich without the burger and as Totchos with cheese sauce, shredded cheese, pulled pork, and sauce on top of tots.

Purchased Price: $6.39
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 700 calories, 40 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 1590 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 38 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Peanut Butter Bacon Shake

Sonic has rolled out two new limited edition Peanut Butter Bacon items, a shake and a cheeseburger, though perhaps fortunately for my nerves (which can only handle so much adventurous eating in one day), I’ll just be reviewing the shake here.

Let me be upfront: it’s not as strange as you may be afraid (or hoping) it will be. That’s because the bacon doesn’t really dominate the experience… though neither does the peanut butter.

The Peanut Butter Bacon Shake has a base of vanilla ice cream, which is understandable logistically speaking — Sonic’s a fast food joint, not an ice cream parlor capable of offering a gazillion unique flavors— but leads to the undeniable fact that it tastes more like its vanilla foundation than the mix-ins that are supposed to be featured. It also doesn’t help that the thick, creamy texture of the peanut butter doesn’t exactly blend in seamlessly with vanilla ice cream that has a thick, creamy texture too but also has the advantage of being present in a much higher quantity. If the peanut butter component came from something more mixable, like a syrup or even just a bunch of Reese’s Pieces, I think it would make much more of an impact, but as is, the smudges of peanut butter flavor only come through in small, infrequent, slightly unsatisfying doses.

You’ll notice I haven’t even mentioned the bacon yet, and that’s because it is similarly outshined. It comes in the form of well-cooked bits, a mix of larger, crispy dark red pieces and smaller, slightly chewier lighter ones, which are scattered liberally atop the rich, thick whipped topping (wimpy whipped cream it is not!) that crowns the shake. That looks cool, but sort of separates the bacon from the rest of the experience.

Yes, you could stab your straw directly into a batch of bacon bits and suck them all up at once for a rush of salty meatiness, but I’m guessing you’ll probably just do what I did, which was sip the shake without positioning the straw any particular way, resulting in mostly bacon-less sips (some bits were swirled up throughout the shake, but not enough that it really affected the flavor) with the bits on top gradually sinking to the bottom to be dealt with once the rest of the shake is gone. If we’re being pedantic, the whole thing felt more like a “Vanilla Shake with Peanut Butter Swirl and Bacon on Top” than a true “Peanut Butter Bacon Shake.”

The shake’s texture, though, was sublime; it hit my sweet spot of being thick enough that I had to work a little to drink it through the straw but not too thick that a spoon was required. And aside from its outsized presence, I don’t have any complaints about the vanilla ice cream.

Overall, this isn’t a bad product. It’s just a little odd, not daring enough to scratch the itch for novelty seekers, but maybe still a bit too weird for those seeking a classic milkshake. The few who fall into the grey area in between will likely enjoy it, but let’s just say I’m not holding my breath for this to earn a permanent place on the menu.

Purchased Price: $6.09
Size: Medium
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable at the time of review.

REVIEW: Sonic Trick or Treat Blast (2023)

For Halloween 2023, Sonic is offering revamped Trick or Treat Blasts, which include Mini M&M’s, Heath candy pieces, and Oreo cookie pieces, all mixed together in soft-serve ice cream. They are available in vanilla and chocolate.

If you don’t have a lot of time, I’ll sum it up quickly: This is basically an M&M’s shake. There, now you can go to the pumpkin patch (or the haunted house or the apple orchard or whatever else you’re doing this time of year).

Instead of eating it in my car in the stall at Sonic, I opted to get the chocolate version in the drive-through, then took it home and enjoyed it in the autumn afternoon.

The Mini M&M’s were by far the most noticeable element of the Blast. Since cold M&M’s are crunchy, I was crunching my way through the entire treat. There were M&M’s in almost every bite, even when I took a small bit of ice cream in my spoon. I liked them, and I’m glad they were there, but sometimes I just wanted a moment without them. (Is that what it’s like having kids?)

The Oreo pieces were slightly softened from the soft serve. If you’re a reader of this site, you probably know what it’s like to have Oreo cookies in ice cream, so I don’t need to elaborate on what they were like.

The Heath pieces were least noticeable to me. Since the M&M’s were already crunchy, it was hard to notice if I was crunching on toffee instead. I did have one bite where I thought, “Oh yeah, I can definitely taste the toffee here!”

As for the soft serve, it was enjoyable but unremarkable. The abundant M&M’s really overpowered the flavor. My Blast wasn’t very well mixed, and I didn’t notice much difference between the vanilla (before I mixed it) and the chocolate (after I mixed it).

I enjoyed the Trick or Treat Blast, but I just didn’t find it that interesting. It was too similar to other products. And as a sucker for anything holiday related, I wished it had a stronger seasonal connection. I don’t think I ever got a Heath bar or Oreo cookies in my trick-or-treat pillowcase. And if Sonic wasn’t going to add any flavors more interesting than chocolate, it at least could have added some spooky colors somewhere.

The Trick or Treat Blast is, well, not much of a blast. It’s tasty, but I don’t think it’s worth going out of your way for it.

Purchased Price: $5.43
Size: Small
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (small) 670 calories, 26 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of sodium, 630 milligrams of sodium, 103 grams of carbohydrates, 85 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 12 grams of protein.