Need weekend plans?
The best events in the city, delivered to your inbox.
Your regular Dunkin’ order (“two creams, one sugar,” or maybe a “large regular”) just got boozy.
New this month, Dunkin’ Donuts is releasing a line of hard teas and coffees called “Dunkin’ Spiked.” The eight beverages range from spiked original iced coffee to an alcoholic version of a strawberry dragonfruit iced tea refresher, both plays on drive-thru favorites. The drinks are made in collaboration with Mass. Bay Brewing Co., makers of Harpoon and Long Trail beer, among other beverages.
It took only a few months for the Dunkin’ and Mass Bay people to get going on the project earlier in 2023, and for all to realize that getting these into the market for Dunkin’ devotees was a no-brainer. Local beer fans will remember prior Dunkin’ collaborations with Harpoon, including a coffee porter and a pumpkin spice ale, going back five years. For these eight new Dunkin’ Spiked beverages, though, no beer will be involved.
“We’ve worked really closely with the ‘Dunkin folks,” says Daniel Kenary, Mass Bay Brewing’s CEO and co-founder. “It’s amazing to us, in a wonderful way, how passionate people are about Dunks. It’s not just, ‘Oh I kind of like Dunkin.’ It’s, ‘This is what I do every single day. This is my ritual.’”
Coffee, of course, is a big part of many people’s rituals. Because of the familiarity and brand loyalty customers have to Dunkin’ coffee, Mass Bay chose tastes for the spiked coffees that don’t stray too far from the classics, settling on flavors like mocha, vanilla, and caramel.
“We’re looking at what people already drink, and how they flavor it,” says Nathaniel Davis, Mass Bay’s president and chief growth officer. “We chose flavors that Dunkin’ is already tightly associated with.”
There’s real Dunkin’ coffee in the spiked drinks — about 30 mg. of caffeine per 12 ounces, as well as 6 percent alcohol by volume. Customers already familiar with Dunkin’s ready-to-drink coffees, sold in grocery stores, will find similar flavors here.
“We’re bringing the brand into the alcohol space and stretching it into the evening,” says Davis.
On the tea side, ‘Dunkin’ is leaning into light and refreshing, reflecting the kinds of hard teas and seltzers adults like to drink now, but also the non-coffee options that fly from Dunkin’ drive-thru windows. Each hard tea will contain about 20 mg. of caffeine per 12-ounce serving and 5 percent alcohol by volume.
“There’s a fan favorite in the strawberry dragonfruit just because it’s a little less obvious than the black tea with lemon,” says Davis. “When you taste it, you get this fruity sweetness in the middle. And then what I love about teas is there’s almost a drying aspect at the end that cuts through the sweetness and balances everything wonderfully.”
Dunkin’s eight new spiked drinks aren’t available at the company’s coffee shops (there are laws against that), but will be available in grocery stores and other liquor retail locations in 12 states starting this month. We recently sampled all eight products to give you an idea of what to expect.
Spiked Original Iced Coffee
From Dunkin’: “Rich & satisfying with the classic Dunkin’ coffee flavor.” Our take: To set a baseline here, all of these coffee drinks are both rich and very sweet (think three creams, four sugars). Pour the original over ice and it froths. We taste both vanilla and chocolate notes, as well as that hard-to-pinpoint Dunkin’ coffee flavor.
Spiked Caramel Iced Coffee
From Dunkin’: “Vibrant & smooth with sweet and delicious caramel flavor.” Our take: The sweetest of the bunch, there’s a nice burnt sugar flavor coming through here.
Spiked Mocha Iced Coffee
From Dunkin’: “Bold, chocolatey and approachably decadent.” Our take: There’s a deep essence of Rolo candy here that’s frankly off putting. The mouthfeel is thinner than the others, which is nice.
Spiked Vanilla Iced Coffee
From Dunkin’: “Creamy, smooth and delightfully sweet.” Our take: It’s interesting that they don’t label this French Vanilla, but this has all the usual trappings of a classic Dunkin’ order, albeit boozier.
Spiked Slightly Sweet Iced Tea
From Dunkin’: “Made with black tea and refreshingly sweet with a bright citrus finish, with a twist of lemon flavor.” Our take: One sip and it’s clear: the teas are the star of the show here. This one says “slightly” sweet, but the scale is definitely dialed up here also. There’s a pleasant aftertaste of real brewed tea.
Spiked Half & Half Iced Tea
From Dunkin’: “Thirst quenching & perfectly balanced with half black tea and half lemonade.” Our take: Classic Arnold Palmer combo here, with some nice tart lemon to cut through the sweetness. This may be the best of the pack.
Spiked Strawberry Dragonfruit Iced Tea Refresher
From Dunkin’: “Made with green tea and slightly sweet with bright and exotic fruit flavor.” Our take: This one pours a shocking fuchsia color. It’s sweet and refreshing like the drive-thru drink, and a little bubbly. Serious strawberry margarita vibes.
Spiked Mango Pineapple Iced Tea Refresher
From Dunkin’: “Also made with green tea, with a tropical fruit flavor twist.” Our take: Pineapple and tea are a good match, and there’s a vacation drink thing happening here with the tropical fruit flavors.
The best events in the city, delivered to your inbox.
Stay up to date with everything Boston. Receive the latest news and breaking updates, straight from our newsroom to your inbox.