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Calling all Sugar Fiends

Freestyling soda choices: Fuddruckers is upping the ante with 125 beverage options in one machine

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I grabbed lunch at Fuddruckers recently and was happily surprised to find a tasty margarita on the menu, which happened to come with one of the fattest and most efficient straws I’ve ever seen (no problem sucking down the frosty beverage – milkshake and smoothie shops take note).

Sure, Fuddruckers has added some new items to the food menu (who knew they offered buffalo, elk and wild boar burgers?) but more notable to me are the changes to the beverage menu.

 This Jetson-esque touch-screen machine dispenses 125-plus beverage options from a single freestanding unit and has been installed in more than 900 venues nationwide — seven local Fuddruckers included. 

Once I put down my (empty) margarita glass, I noticed — and was instantly mesmerized by — the Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine. This Jetson-esque touch-screen machine dispenses 125-plus beverage options from a single freestanding unit and has been installed in more than 900 venues nationwide — seven local Fuddruckers included.

The technology behind the machine was originally designed to deliver drug doses, and it seems appropriate that after consuming several glasses, you can catch a buzz and feel no pain. Until the sugar crash hits, of course.

After coming up with a couple of combos on the fly and tasting them all, I felt like a Freestyle expert. I even tried flavors I didn't know existed, like FantaGrape and Raspberry Diet Coke.

While some of my concoctions came up short (mostly because I got greedy and combined too many flavors in one glass) I can, in good conscience, recommend mixing Vanilla Sprite with Fanta Orange to make a Creamsicle. Or marrying Cherry Vanilla Coke and Barq’s Vanilla to create a spicy cherry beverage.

You should of course invent some recipes of your own, since that's half the fun, but here are some suggestions if you find the option overwhelming:

"The Gummy Bear" — ‎1/2 Sprite + 1/4 Mello Yello + 1/4 Hi-C + 1 shot of Coca-Cola
"Jesus Juice" — ‎1/2 Vanilla Sprite + 1/2 Hi-C Raspberry Lime
"Lime-Berry Hi" — Hi-C Lime & Hi-C Strawberry
"Fuzzy Naval" — Peach Sprite and Orange Fanta

Don’t let the mad scientist in you get caught up testing a seemingly infinite combination of flavors, though. Aside from being wired for hours on end, you have to leave room for your burger.

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