If you have a hankering to hold a Styrofoam cup brimming with sweetly salty, semi-frozen pickle juice, 2018 is bound to be your year. This summer, the Sonic drive-in fast food chain will start selling a brand-new pickle juice slush flavor at more than 3,000 restaurants coast to coast.
Reviewers from Southern Living magazine who sampled the new pickle juice slush at Sonic company headquarters in Oklahoma City describe the bright green, slightly fluorescent frozen beverage as “surprisingly delicious,” “sweet and tangy,” and a lot less savory than one might imagine.
Sonic already offers an oddball assortment of cold drinks, including numerous lemonade and limeade variations, praline iced coffee, and ice cream flurries with bits of waffle or cookie dough. Food&Wine magazine said they would not have predicted pickle juice smoothies as a leading drink at one of the nation’s biggest franchise restaurants.
Food&Wine explains that throughout the limited-time offering of pickle juice slush drinks, Sonic customers will have the option of adding a shot of pickle juice to any menu item of their choosing. The magazine reminds Sonic customers that there is no set price for such a pickle juice squirt, because each franchise sets its own prices.
According to the vice president of the Food Network, Katherine Alford, today’s Americans are more obsessed with sour flavors than they used to be. Modern recipes tend to ask for less sugar and more intensely sour ingredients than their 20th century counterparts. Alford, who runs the Food Network test kitchen in Manhattan, explains that America’s penchant for the piquant is not about to end any time soon.
Artisanal sour products, such as Sonic’s new pickle juice snow cone style drink, may be perceived as a healthier option to sugary soft drinks, explains Sterling-Rice culinary director, Kazia Jankowski. As she told Slate magazine, consumers believe that sour and fermented foods deliver less sugar and more healthful bacteria than overly sweet foods and beverages.
At the time of this writing, there is no nutritional info for a pickle juice slush at the official Sonic website. Typical Sonic slush bases are fat-free and weigh in at between 180 calories for a small slush without flavor syrup, to 540 calories for a Route 44, 44-ounce syrupless slush.