The Real Reason McDonald's Sprite Tastes Different

The world appears to be convinced that the Sprite poured into fountain drink cups at McDonald's is the best version of itself. The legend goes that there's something that's stronger and tastier about Sprite procured from the Golden Arches, similar to the restaurant's Coke

As one drinker put it, McDonald's Sprite has "such a zest, such a crisp, that it feels as though it's sanding down the ridges of my brain" (via Mel Magazine). As this reader suggests, there's an intensity associated with it as well, so it's not for the faint of heart. This McDonald's Sprite fandom has spawned memes and impassioned Facebook and Twitter posts. There's even a song dedicated to the phenomenon (via Amazon Music). 

But is there any truth behind the hype? A Spoon University article dug to the bottom and interviewed a source at McDonald's to find out whether there were concrete causes behind the phenomenon or whether it was all a figment of the imagination.

The explanation behind how McDonald's makes its Sprite

According to management at the company, McDonald's uses a high syrup-to-carbonated water ratio, which results in a sweeter and stronger version of the drink than can be had at other fast-food restaurants or that is found in cans and bottles.

McDonald's also uses high-end filtration systems to filter its water so that the Sprite concentrate isn't just being mixed with sparkling water from the tap — it's being mixed with bottled water-quality water, with no impurities that could affect the taste. The company claims to filter its water twice as much as its competitors.

The last reason isn't Sprite specific, and likely affects how all McDonald's fountain drinks are perceived, but when you purchase a drink at the Golden Arches, you may notice that the straws are slightly larger than they are at other fast-food chains (via Buzzfeed). This allows the soda to hit a larger volume of your mouth and alters how your taste buds perceive the drink.