"I have some news I think you should sit down for," I said.
My wife gave me an odd look and took a seat. "Okay, lay it on me."
"7-Eleven is releasing a Diet Coke Slurpee."
The announcement elicited the level of euphoria I knew it would. "Oh! OH! I love Diet Coke! You know I love Diet Coke! I'm in!"
"Diet Coke Cherry," I clarified.
My wife's broad grin fell a bit at the corners and the twinkle faded from her eye. "Oh. Cherry? Not...regular Diet Coke?"
But despite my wife's disappointment, and perhaps to appeal to a slightly younger Slurpee-slurping demographic, it's cherry first on the Slurpee train. We headed to our local 7-Eleven to give the new icy drink a try.
Fans of Diet Coke will recognize many of the flavors of the original in the Slurpee version: the cola base of the frozen drink doesn't appear to be a massively retooled recipe. The sweetener tastes the same, surrounded by the signature hints of vanilla and cinnamon.
Then the cherry flavoring kicks in, bringing with it a vaguely medicinal undertone that most cherry drinks veer toward. It doesn't seem overpoweringly sweet or cloying—as long as the drink stays frozen. The bite of carbonation in a can of Diet Coke is mostly lost in the Slurpee version, and as the ice melts, the Slurpee begins to taste significantly sweeter than the classic. So drink up fast.
How did my wife, ever the consummate Diet Coke aficionado, take to the new slushy drink? "I still prefer my regular Diet Coke," she said, surreptitiously scooting her Big Gulp away from me as if I might try to swap it with my Slurpee behind her back. "But if it was a hot summer day and I walked into a 7-Eleven and saw this for sale, I'd definitely be happy buying one. But honestly, I'd like it better without the cherry."
And therein lies the key to your enjoyment. If you're already a fan of cherry-flavored diet soda, don't hesitate to give this a whirl. If not, though, chances are you'll be happier sticking to your non-Slurpee favorites. (Either way, Coca-Cola is offering you a risk-free way to find out by texting "DIETCOKE" to 711711 for a free small Slurpee. The offer's good until May 20.)
Not every 7-Eleven carries the new Slurpee yet (we had to call five different stores to find one), but keep an eye on your neighborhood location while the company finishes rolling them out over the next few weeks. No word yet on if a classic Diet Coke version is on the horizon, but should such an event occur, you'll find my wife beelining toward the nearest Slurpee machine.
About the author: Adam Lindsley is a Pacific Northwest-based writer, musician, and the author of the pizza blog, This Is Pizza. You can follow him at @ThisIsPizza on Twitter. He may typically be found in his cups wherever Belgian beers are readily available.