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Smart Money

Beat the Heat with these 4 Summer-y Sips

No need to sweat over the best summer drink choices – I’ve found four refreshments guaranteed to help you stay cool while keeping your wallet happy this summer.

Tori Dunlap • June 24, 2021

I don’t know about you, but it’s getting pretty toasty up here in the Pacific Northwest. I’m a big fan of our mild summers, but there’s always a point when the temperature creeps just above comfortable and – in true southern belle style – I’m “simply parched.”

In a quest to discover my new summertime drink BFF, I decided to hunt down a few refreshing, non-alcoholic beverages – and today I’m sharing my results. I grabbed a small size at each destination, so make sure to check your location’s pricing if you’re looking for more. 

Starbucks Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino

Where to find it:

Their description: Funnel cake-flavored syrup blended with coffee, milk and ice, layered with strawberry puree, whipped cream, and powdered sugar-funnel-cake pieces.

Cost: Approx. $6 for a tall (small) –– the priciest of the bunch

My rating: 3.5/5

I have to say: I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I wholeheartedly expected to be overwhelmed with sugary cakey-ness, but the taste was shockingly subtle. The strawberry blended effortlessly with the coffee flavor, and it wasn’t nearly as sweet as other specialty frappes I’ve tried.

That said, it didn’t quite fit anywhere in the category of “refreshing summer drink” for me. I’d stick with their teas if that’s what you’re after. This felt more like a good pick-me-up in the late afternoon when you’re looking for a little caffeine with some substance.

Texture warning: The cake crumbles were a fun addition but, depending on your texture preferences, you may want to skip this.

Who will love it: Frappuccino lovers and nostalgic county fair go-ers.

Dunkin’ Lemonade Refresher

Where to find it:

Their description: Dunkin’ Lemonade Refreshers creates a summer blockbuster of refreshment by combining a classic taste of the season with vibrant fruit flavors for an exciting and energizing seasonal sip. Made with lemonade, flavored fruit concentrate, and B vitamins, these beautifully bright beverages can keep Dunkin’ guests refreshed and renewed all summer long.

Cost: Approx. $2.50 for a small

My rating: 4/5

This beverage is an Instagram influencer’s dream – bright, colorful, and branded to a T.

The drink is absolutely sweet, but the lemonade tang helps cut the sugar and leaves you with a pleasant overall taste experience. This is the perfect drink to lounge by the pool with your besties or as a quick refresher when you’re out and about running errands. Unfortunately, my store only had the blueberry and peach on hand, so I decided to go with the latter and wasn’t disappointed.

The peach flavor was soft, and I definitely recommend it if you’re a peach gal like myself. 

Who will love it: Lemonade drinkers and aesthetic seekers.

Taco Bell Colada Freeze

Where to find it:

Their description: The Mountain Dew® Baja Blast Freeze brings that iconic tempest of tropical lime flavors that can’t be compared. Pair that with the smooth, laid-back nature of creamy colada (think laying out on a picturesque beach without a worry in the world), and you’ve got something truly special.

Cost: Approx. $2.50 for a small

My rating: 2.5/5

OK, here’s the thing: If you like Pina Coladas (and getting caught in the rain), you’re going to love this drink. It’s sweet, refreshing, and definitely has that classic coconut flavor we’ve all come to associate with the boozy classic, but sans booze of course.

As a standalone, I couldn’t see myself running through the drive-through for this. The exception being I think this is one of those instances where the drink pairs well with food. The coconut flavor needs to be cut by a late-night chicken chalupa or an obscene amount of beef tacos.

I had hoped for a bit of the Mountain Dew to come through, but it remained pretty mild in the mix. So, depending on how much you like the lime-y taste of Mountain Dew, this will either be a pro or a con for you.

Who will love it: Coconut flavor lovers and Pina Colada fans.

Sonic Blue Burst Freeze

Where to find it:

From their website: “An icy burst of blue raspberry flavored slush with sippable, sweet, bursting bubbles!”

Cost: Approx. $2 during happy hour for a small

My rating: 25/5 (ok, but really more like a 4.5/5)

Sonic is the uncontested king of drink options. Absolutely everything is customizable, and they’re never out of new things to try. This boba-meets-slushie is a summer dream in a cup –– it’s sweet, refreshing, and bursting with boba bubbles. Really, what more could you ask for?

This drink is an all-around winner for me. I can see myself grabbing it at the end of a long day, as I’m headed to the pool, or on the weekend grabbing a pick-me-up with friends while shopping or exploring.

As I mentioned above, absolutely EVERYTHING is customizable, so if you’d prefer a Poweraid slush with the boba bubbles? Want to add in some Red Bull for an extra kick? You name it; if it’s on their menu, they can make it.

Worth noting that Sonic does happy hour where drinks are half-priced every day from 2:00 – 5:00 PM! Well, in most locations. Make sure to check out your store’s hours so you don’t miss out on a deal!

Who will love it: Slushie fiends, boba enthusiasts, and frozen drink lovers alike.

Final Thoughts

The great thing about seasonal beverages is their novelty – they come along once a year and are the perfect hot weather companion. I suggest grabbing a friend, blasting top 40, and heading out to any one of these locations to grab the perfect summer sip. Enjoy!

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