Growing up, I was the kid who accepted when friends dared me to eat weird stuff. I also love dill pickles. I've eaten dill pickle potato chips and more than one peanut butter-pickle sandwich.
These qualifications apparently made me the perfect staff guinea pig for Sonic's Pickle Juice Slush, which is back on the menu until Aug. 28, along with the Big Dill Cheeseburger. Plus, Sonic says the slush, first introduced in 2018, is one of its most requested menu items.
So on my lunch break, I headed for the closest location and went full pickle, ordering both items and signing myself up for a long rowing machine session of atonement later on.
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What does the Pickle Juice Slush taste like?
Here's what Sonic says it was going for: "Designed to cure all pickle cravings, the Pickle Juice Slush combines the flavor of a salty dill pickle with a sweet slush for a refreshingly tart treat that tastes just like you’re sipping out of the pickle jar."
In reality, the pickle juice wasn't actually the first thing to hit my taste buds. Don't get me wrong: It was definitely there. But the opening notes of limey tartness reminded me a bit of Mountain Dew. The pickle flavor kicked in as the slushy mixture hit the back of my mouth before I swallowed. It reminded me a bit of the way you taste the pickle on a McDonald's cheeseburger as you're about to swallow.
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All told, the Pickle Juice Slush wasn't disgusting. It wasn't life-changing. It was definitely interesting. And something you should drink while it's still ice cold. Lukewarm pickle juice isn't appealing – even to a diehard dill fan such as myself.
Pro tip: If you're a little worried, order a second, fruity drink as insurance. I went for the cherry limeade as a backup.
You can make your experiment a little less risky by ordering the Pickle Juice slush through the Sonic app or online, which cuts the price in half. I paid $1.65.
How big of a dill is the cheeseburger?
The $4.49 Big Dill Cheeseburger features an all-beef patty, American cheese, dill pickle slices and fried dill pickles along with lettuce and ranch dressing on a brioche bun. Alternatively, you can get the pickle fries with a side of ranch for $1.89 for a limited time. (If I were to go again, I'd just get the pickle fries.)
These pucker-perfect menu items are available at participating locations. As I mentioned, you can get the Pickle Juice Slush for half price through the Sonic app or, Sonic says, you can even add pickle juice flavoring to any other beverages for an additional charge. Before you go, you should check whether your favorite Sonic spot offers mobile ordering.
My advice to fellow pickle lovers thinking of heading to Sonic: Order either the slush or the burger, not both. When you have them together, it's a LOT of pickle – even for me.
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The combination also made me a bit burpy. And then there's the pickle breath, which cannot be vanquished with just the little peppermint that comes with the slush. Either bring a truckload of Altoids with you or don't breathe on anyone until you can get home and gargle a gallon of Listerine.
Why drink pickle juice? Just, why?
You might wonder, who on earth would willingly drink pickle juice? Well, actual pickle juice – the stuff that comes out of the jar, not the slushie machine – is actually good for you. (At least the naturally fermented kind is. The vinegar-based stuff, not so much.) And you only need a few ounces to reap the benefits.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, naturally fermented pickle juice is full of probiotics, it helps regulate blood sugar levels and is a source of electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium. This makes it a good hangover tonic – assuming you can keep it down in that condition. Athletes use it as a recovery drink and to reduce muscle cramps.
Hey, given the choice between a Charley horse cramp and drinking pickle juice, I'll take the pickle juice. Wouldn't you?
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Sonic brings back the Pickle Juice Slush and Big Dill Cheeseburger