What booze tastes best in a Wendy's Frosty?

Image: Emma McKhann
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Wendy’s Frosty is so much more than just a French fry’s best dipping liquid; it’s one of fast food’s most recognizable flavors. But what if, my friends, what if we dared to dream? To push boundaries, to defy expectations, to think beyond what’s already in the red wax-cardboard cup? My fellow Americans, what I’m asking you to consider is this: What if we added booze to a Frosty?

Such a bold idea is not for the timid, nor for people trying to keep their dignity intact. In service of such a radical notion, I took it upon myself to select more than a dozen mini alcohol bottles from my local liquor store, an order that almost eclipsed buying-non-alcoholic-beer-at-9:30-a.m. in its public shamefulness. (This store had the tiny bottles behind the counter, which meant I had to name each singular bottle and wait for the clerk to ring up my woeful collection. “No, the whipped cream vodka, please. Yes, and the Rumchata.”)

I know I am not the first woman to pour alcohol into a milkshake; the proliferation of “gourmet” boozy milkshakes has made these creations quite a mainstream concept. But I am not interested in a boozy milkshake from a restaurant. No, I am here in service of my fellow patriot who impulse buys a Frosty, spikes it, and walks with it around a public park. Restaurants’ boozy milkshakes can cost as much as a cocktail; right now, with Wendy’s summer-long 50-cent small Frosty promotion, an alcoholic Frosty can be had for about $4. We are living in the greatest of times, friends.

So, Frostys and mini liquors procured, I mixed an even shot of each into a cup containing half a Frosty. (This reflects the same ratio as one 50 mL mini liquor bottle per full Frosty.) I enlisted the tasting help of my incredibly reluctant boyfriend—I am mildly concerned that he doesn’t see the revolutionary genius of boozy Frostys—and we tasted through the line-up. Results graded on a scale of 1 to 10 are below, and no, I probably won’t drink another Frosty for six months.

Image for article titled What booze tastes best in a Wendy's Frosty?
Photo: Kate Bernot



I hypothesized that coffee liqueurs would be welcome Frosty additions, and I was correct. A Frosty containing this coffee- and vanilla-flavored rum blend mimicked an after-dinner coffee; beginning the sip with chocolate before quickly transitioning to nutty, sweet coffee. It was quite a smooth pairing.
Score: 8 out of 10

Baileys Espresso Creme

This milky espresso booze fared as well as Kahlua, cementing coffee’s status as a wonderful Frosty companion. I got a distinct Mudslide impression from the sip, with pronounced chocolate-covered espresso bean notes. This is the (very) poor man’s affogato.
Score: 8

Rumple Minz

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had Rumple Minz since college. The peppermint schnapps flavor was a surprise hit in the Frosty, creating a sip that’s a dead ringer for melted chocolate chip ice cream. The texture was a bit thin, but the mint-chocolate combination was nostalgic and delicious.
Score: 7.5

Godiva Milk Chocolate

Dare I call this combination classy? The Godiva milk chocolate adds a ganachelike chocolate flavor that unfortunately obscures a bit of the maltiness of the base Frosty. It’s not bringing any new flavors to the table, just adding a richer chocolate flavor that’s quite pleasant.
Score: 7


I had high hopes for this hazelnut liqueur, the most expensive of all the mini liquor bottles at a steep $4. Its nutty sweetness was overpowered though by the base Frosty, lending little to the front of the sip; at the swallow, it offers a bit of a Nutella impression that’s highly enjoyable. I just wish it packed more of a punch.
Score: 7


Godiva White Chocolate

Despite Godiva Milk Chocolate’s success as a Frosty mix-in, White Chocolate wasn’t a favorite. Its white chocolate flavor is indiscernible, just delivering an impression of cheap, unidentifiable booze. It finishes too cloyingly sweet to be enjoyable.
Score: 5.5

Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

This captain should be banished to the galley. There’s a hint of cinnamon—maybe?—at the close of the sip, plus some unnamable “spices” that do more to distract from the drink’s chocolate maltiness than enhance it. It’s muddled and confusing, but not totally offensive.
Score: 5.5

Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka

Again, this doesn’t taste like much. The vanilla amplifies the base Frosty’s lactic impression, making it seem creamier and milkier than it would on its own. Other than that, you’d hardly be able to tell there was anything additional in this drink at all.
Score: 5.5


I expected this horchata-flavored booze to be an intriguing coupling with a Frosty, but alas. It’s way too sweet overall, but the character of the cinnamon is smoother than what Captain Morgan delivered. This is best reserved for a person with an insatiable sugar craving.
Score: 5


Fernet Branca

Fernet, I love your herbal flavors dearly on their own, but you taste like rancid toothpaste when mixed into a Frosty. Any delicate mint notes are overtaken by weird botanicals and a terrible bitterness that I can’t get off my tongue.
Score: 4.5

Canadian Club whisky

I wasn’t going to waste good bourbon on this experiment, so Canadian Club was our lone whisky entry. In short, it did not taste good. It failed to blend materially and flavor-wise with the Frosty, delivering a punch of weird whisky spiciness and then, too many beats later, Frosty flavor.
Score: 4

Smirnoff Whipped Cream Vodka

What sounded like a—dare I say—logical pairing of whipped cream and milkshake turned out to be the worst combo of the day. Artificial, cloying marshmallowy sweetness seemed to instantly hurt my teeth, smothering any of the lovely Frosty taste. I felt like my bones were rotting from within me.
Score: 3


Congratulations, Kahlua and Baileys Espresso Creme, you are the best liqueurs for mixing into a Frosty. Coffee and espresso flavors are a winning addition to the milky chocolate shake, creating an impression of richness and maybe even sophistication—well, as much sophistication as one can feel while spiking a 50-cent fast-food dessert with a miniature bottle of hooch.