McDonald's Secret Menu Cotton Candy Soda Is Giving Us Carnival Vibes

Although we don't hear too much about the McDonald's secret menu, it's a very real thing. Like the regular menu, the secret menu includes a wide range of items, from the McCrepe and the Apple Pie McFlurry, to the Chicken McGriddle and the McBrunch Burger. The chain even has a secret drink that allegedly tastes like cotton candy.

Considering how McDonald's doesn't have a cotton candy maker in its kitchen, let alone any other menu items that would incorporate cotton candy flavors, how do employees pull off a cotton candy soda? Apparently, it's as simple as mixing together Sprite and a few pumps of French vanilla syrup. This drink is bizarre in a few ways, with the most obvious being the fact that someone randomly thought to mix Sprite and vanilla, and at a McDonald's, no less. What's more, these two ingredients coming together to create a carnivalesque cotton candy flavor is just entirely beyond our understanding. Or is it?

The science behind McDonald's cotton candy soda

As it turns out, McDonald's Sprite and French vanilla syrup melding into a cotton candy-flavored drink isn't as far-fetched as you might think. Standard carnival cotton candy, for one, uses artificial flavors like vanillin, strawberry furanone, and ethyl maltol.

French vanilla syrup also takes flavor from vanillin, and can sometimes carry fruity or caramelized notes. Interestingly enough, the ethyl maltol present in cotton candy also accounts for fruity, caramelized flavor notes. As for Sprite, we're all very familiar with the soda's characteristic blend of lemon and lime flavors. These citrusy flavors could very well mimic strawberry furanone, which some people describe as having notes of tangy pineapple.


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♬ original sound – McDonald's Hacks

Though this particular McDonald's secret menu drink is still a bit wild, it's a lot easier to believe that Sprite and vanilla could taste like cotton candy when you break down their components for comparison. We can't say for sure that the drink will taste like cotton candy for everyone, but it's still a concept worth experimenting with.