I am a sucker for frozen slushy-style drinks, but also a fussy eater, so summer is a happy time for me, when fast-food places debut or bring back drinks that aren't a) coffee-based b) primarily berry-flavored or c) yogurt-containing smoothies, which I really want to like but just can't. Sorry yogurt, if you are not frozen TCBY-esque choc/vanilla swirlity, I don't care.
So far this year, I've tasted McDonald's strawberry lemonade, Taco Bell's pina colada "frutista freeze", and Orange Julius's lemon Julius (which doesn't have a direct page link so this is as close as I could get).
First off, what is it with fast-food websites being so flash-heavy? Swirling menus don't make me want to eat it, they just make me think you spent a lot of money on web design in like 2005 and damn it all, we're going to keep using it until the depreciation figures add up and/or the internet explodes in a giant fireball and wipes out all life on earth.
But I digress. Not that that's a surprise. Reviews.
The strawberry lemonade is pretty darn good. I've had it several times so far and plan on doing so again. The lemonade is nicely tart, with a pretty good texture for a non-ice-cream-specialist vendor, and the strawberry syrup is sweet and makes a nice contrast. It needs a lot of stirring if you want the taste to be at all consistent, but it stirs reasonably easily and it's not necessarily a bad thing to have variable flavor, either. And it's still tasty, not too watered down, even after it melts. I don't even like strawberries and I like this, though I'm thinking of also trying it without the syrup some time as I do love frozen lemonade anyway.
A++ WOULD DRINK AGAIN
The pina colada, on the other hand, is not so good. And I had hopes for it, because the frutista line isn't too bad (not really into mango or strawberry so I don't normally drink them, but I have tried them) and the limeades are pretty nice. But the coconut flavoring is a little off (and I'm not one to complain about artificial coconut flavor, as I do drink Malibu rum after all) and it seems to be mixed with a lime flavor rather than a pineapple as one would expect - or at least it doesn't taste like pineapple. It just tastes kind of off, like sweet and tart, but each in the wrong way. It's not horrendous, but I couldn't finish it, and will stick with my delicious red-dye-filled cherry limeade next time.
The lemon Julius was a part of the regular menu - at least where I lived - about 5 years ago, until some jerkface decided to remove it. Now it's only offered seasonally, not necessarily every summer, and not all locations carry it (it tends to match up with Dairy Queen units that carry cherry cone dip). I love this thing, as it's all the great stuff you love about the traditional orange Julius - the creamy-but-not-dairy-ness, thinner than a shake for easy drinking but heartier than a normal beverage, the blend of fruit and cream without having to venture into yogurt smoothie territory - but in lemon! my favorite flavor! How was this not popular enough to stay on the regular menu? Always excited when it comes back for the summer and sad when it goes away.
But that's basically true for all wonderful frozen lemonade-based drinks (like Panera's frozen lemonade, which either isn't out yet or isn't returning this year *tear*) - I feel about them the way Jon feels about the McRib: I celebrate when they return, sun-like, each spring, and I mourn their passing just a bit in the fall, knowing that as the earth turns, they will, hopefully, make their way back again once more.