Dunkin' Spiked Review: A Mixed Bag of Donut Sweetness
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Dunkin’ Spiked Review: A Mixed Bag of Deafening Donut Sweetness

Dunkin' Spiked

The first ever Dunkin’ Donuts — originally called Open Kettle — opened its doors in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1948. Over the decades, the brand changed drastically, adopting its now iconic orange and pink logo and debuting a lineup of sweet teas at stores across the nation. In 2018, “Dunkin’ Donuts” became “Dunkin’.” Now, in an inevitable twist, we have Dunkin’ Spiked.

Collaborating with Boston’s Harpoon Brewery, Dunkin’ is the latest major brand to toss its hat into the crowded ready-to-drink (RTD) canned alcoholic beverage market. On convenience store shelves, Dunkin’ Spiked will be placed alongside similar offerings from Coca-Cola, Simply Lemonade, Mountain Dew, Monster Energy and countless others.

Let’s clarify upfront that these beverages aren’t flavored like donuts; that distinction goes to Dunkin’s endless array of Jelly Donut IPAs and Boston Cream Stouts, also produced by Harpoon Brewery.

Instead, Dunkin’ Spiked comes in four 6.0% ABV Iced Coffee flavors: Original, Caramel, Mocha and Vanilla, as well as four 5.0% ABV Iced Tea Flavors: Slightly Sweet, Half & Half, Strawberry Dragonfruit and Mango Pineapple.

All are made using malt-based alcohol, the same as you’d find inside a beer, hard seltzer or iced tea. Available now in select markets across the US, let’s taste what these colorful sippers have to offer.

Dunkin’ Spiked Iced Coffee Review

Dunkin' Spiked

The Original flavor hits you with a cloying blast right up front. I’ll admit bias (I usually drink my coffee black), but if you had told me to close my eyes and take a sip I would’ve easily confused it for an iced tea. Coffee rode in the back while sugar and alcohol took the front seat.

The other flavors are given a little more legroom to experiment with mixed results. Caramel doesn’t change up the formula drastically, zeroing in on a similar alcohol ratio with a hint more syrupy mouthfeel. On the other hand, Vanilla and Mocha announced their flavors loud and proud even from a first whiff. Imagine a beer mixed with a Frappuccino… enticing, I know.

All told, Mocha emerged as my personal favorite, largely because it most closely resembled the description written on the can.

This unlikely quartet will be going up against tough competition. Recognizable brands have been jumping on the concept by the dozen, including offerings like Pabst Blue Ribbon Hard Coffee, Guinness Nitro Cold Brew, Kahlúa Espresso Style Martini and Bailey’s Cold Brew. Time will tell if Spiked can stick out.

Dunkin’ Spiked Iced Tea

Dunkin' Spiked

Unlike the alcoholic coffee market — which is still swirling with up-and-coming contenders — the hard tea market is dominated by one inescapable name: Twisted Tea. Given the landscape, any new brand that decides to launch is forced to walk in the footsteps of giants (whether or not those footsteps are necessarily to your liking).

Dunkin’ Spiked follows the blueprint admirably without taking risks. Slightly Sweet and Half & Half trade out the boozy bite of their Iced Coffee counterparts for a mellow, none-too-sugary sip that’ll feel familiar to any hard iced tea lover.

Moving on, we found a lot to like in the Mango Pineapple and Strawberry Dragonfruit. Each is made with real green tea (as opposed to just “real tea”), and I’d say you can taste the difference. Sure, the fruit flavors are clearly artificial, but they’re far from overpowering. Hitting a nice balance between light and tropical, these would taste fantastic after a couple of hours in the fridge on a hot summer day.

They don’t reinvent the wheel, but happily roll on nonetheless.

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Pedro Wolfe is the managing editor of Tequila Raiders. With several years of experience writing for the New York Daily News and the Foothills Business Daily under his belt, Pedro aims to combine quality reviews and recipes with incisive articles on the cutting edge of the tequila world. Pedro has traveled to the heartland of the spirits industry in Tequila, Mexico, and has conducted interviews with agave spirits veterans throughout Mexico, South Africa and California. Through this diverse approach, Tequila Raiders aims to celebrate not only tequila but the rich tapestry of agave spirits that spans mezcal, raicilla, bacanora, pulque and so much more.