Why Does Sprite Taste Better at McDonald's?
If you haven't seen the hundreds of social media posts raving about McDonald's Sprite, then let us fill you in. Just like so many menu items at Mickey D's (Coke, apple pie, and ketchup), customers say that Sprite from McDonald's is better than any other Sprite they've ever had — including from the can.
Fans claim that McDonald's Sprite tastes different and "stronger" than other Sprite. It's become a well-known meme on Twitter and TikTok that McDonald's Sprite has special powers — even McDonald's is in on the joke. The fast-food chain tweeted a photo of dinosaurs running from a fiery glass of Sprite with the caption "the first time someone dropped their mcdonald's sprite," implying their Sprite was what wiped out the dinosaur population.
The internet describes McDonald's Sprite as tasting "electric" and "spicy." And these well-known descriptors are likely what prompted Sprite's 2022 April Fool's joke — where the brand tweeted a photo of their "new" limited edition McDonald's Spicy Sprite with the caption "it hits different." Even Sprite themselves know there's something different about Mickey D's version.
Why McDonald's Sprite Tastes So Good
Sprite is a Coca-Cola product, and we know that McDonald's has a special relationship with Coca-Cola that dates back to 1955. So, most of the same reasons McDonald's Coke is so delicious apply to why McDonald's Sprite can't be beat either.
It boils down to four things: water filtration, syrup ratio, temperature, and the straw.
Fantastic Water Filtration
McDonald's has a gold standard water filtration system that ensures your Sprite will always taste delicious (and the exact same) no matter where you are. Every single McDonald's location filters its water before adding it to the soda machine. So even if the water wasn't fresh to start with, your Sprite will always taste perfect from a McDonald's machine.
Superior Syrup Techniques
Just like with McDonald's Coke, the syrup-to-water ratio in the Sprite is higher than the ratio found in most other soda fountains and even in the can or bottle. McDonald's sends more syrup into your cup to account for the inevitable melting ice. This means your Sprite will not be watered down, even after the ice is gone.
Perfect Cold Temperatures
McDonald's might be living in the future with this next trick. To keep your Sprite crisp and carbonated with that electric taste, McDonald's pre-chills their filtered water. The water runs through an insulated tube that's connected to a fridge in the back of the restaurant. This fridge is constantly keeping the water frosty even as it travels to your cup.
The cold temperatures allows for high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) to build in the soda machine. This extra CO2 will keep your Sprite crisp and bubbly for longer, so you shouldn't have to worry about a flat pop.
Gold Star Straw
The final reason McDonald's Sprite is top tier is all about the delivery. If you've ever looked at a McDonald's straw, you've probably noticed they're pretty wide compared to most plastic straws. McDonald's claims the straws are wider so the pop can hit all your tastebuds at once. We're not sure you need a McDonald's straw to taste the Sprite's electricity, but it sure does make the experience that much better.
The Sprite Showdown
To put the social media theories to the test, we tasted a McDonald's Sprite and a bottled Sprite side-by-side. And while we didn't break through any brick walls, there is certainly a difference in the taste.
The McDonald's Sprite tastes crisp and hits you with a full blast of carbonated flavor. Compared to the McDonald's Sprite, the bottled Sprite fell flat. It tastes milder, almost like a pop that you'd sip on when you have an upset stomach, rather than one you'd have as a treat with your Quarter Pounder.
For full scientific reasons, we let the McDonald's Sprite sit out until the ice melted (which took nearly two hours), then tried it again. Even with the extra water, it's still flavorful, cold, and the bubbles continue to pop in your mouth.
Even putting the taste aside, the McDonald's Sprite is a great deal. With the $1 any size drink, we paid less for a better-tasting Mickey D's Sprite than we did for a bottle of Sprite at the local grocery store.
There you have it. Yet another item from the McDonald's menu that's better than any other fast food joint.