The fact that the Coca-Cola at McDonald’s is the very best version of the product – bottled, canned, or fountain – has long been a well-accepted fact among enthusiasts everywhere. And while we know that it used to be the “best” because it contained traces of actual cocaine, they swear that’s no longer the case.
Well, the short answer is because McDonald’s takes steps to make sure that it is – and to keep you ordering that meal combo instead of just a sandwich and fries.
The Coke at McDonald’s is the exact same formula you’d get anywhere else – Coca-Cola is serious about preserving the secret formula, despite its long-held patent on the recipe. The difference lies in how McDonald’s handles the ingredients before they go into your cup.
Coke syrup is shipped to most restaurants and gas stations in plastic bags contained in cardboard boxes, but for McDonald’s (obviously a large and important buyer), Coke sends the product in stainless steel drums. Stainless steel better preserves the ingredients, keeping them fresh as they travel to their red-and-yellow-arched destinations.
Another secret is in the water temperature used for the carbonation. Most places store water in the fountain machine, dispensing it from there, but McDonald’s fountains pipe cold water directly from the refrigerator.
In addition to being more pleasant, a colder Coke is better at trapping CO2 bubbles, which keeps your drink fizzy for longer.
McDonald’s also tweaks the syrup-to-water ratio in its machines to account for the fact that the majority of people drink soda over ice, which will melt and water down the product.
And their wider straws complete the experience that so many of us have come to expect – and love.
So, there you have it! McDonald’s isn’t hiding drugs in their Coke these days, but they do go the extra mile to make sure that when you think about the very best sip of Coke in the world, your mind conjures it inside their signature plastic cup.