The Ingredient Combination Of A One-Of-A-Kind Whataburger Soda

Travel from New York to California and you'll find a McDonald's in almost every state along the way. Go from Arizona to Massachusetts and you'll see more than a few Burger Kings popping up along the highway. Truly, America is the land of the fast-food empires, isn't it?

But there are also smaller (at least in comparison to the aforementioned fast-food giants) restaurants that have carved out their niche in certain sections of the country. Take, for example, In-N-Out along the West Coast or Wawa sandwich shops in select parts of the East Coast. These eateries, along with their regional exclusivity, are also known for selling unique or rare items you would have trouble finding anywhere else. 

Similarly, Arizona-based fast-food chain Lucky Wishbones serves up fried chicken tenders with a side order of fried gizzards and livers to gnaw on with your fries and coleslaw. If you were in Maine, you could stop by Luke's Lobster for your choice of a seafood roll and a slice of pie. These regionally-exclusive items give these restaurants their own identity, making them much more worth the trip than your local hamburger joint.

Today, we're focusing on Whataburger – and no, we don't mean the famous Texas-based Whataburger restaurant, but instead, the small carhop restaurant chain based in North Carolina. While Whataburger may differ from its similarly named counterpart in more ways than one, the North Carolina burger shack has a drink that must be tasted to be believed.

Whataburger's Witch Doctor has pickle juice in it

In 2018, BuzzFeed decided to do a round-up of the weirdest, most shocking, and most unexpectedly delicious fast-food items you could get in each state. While places like Ohio had tacos from Burger King and Vermont had a bacon cheeseburger between two glazed donuts, perhaps the most unexpected combination you would see is pickle slices floating in a cup of soda. This, apparently, is known in Whataburger circles as "The Witch Doctor."

Our State describes "The Witch Doctor" as a signature drink of the tiny restaurant chain: a "muddy-red mixture of all the flavors from the soda fountain plus pickle juice, and topped with a bunch of pickle slices and a lemon wedge," with the flavor profile of "coleslaw on a slice of cherry pie." Visit Rowan County, however, describes the drink as a combination of Pepsi and the regional soda "Cherry Lemon Sun Drop" infused with pickle juice. It seems some customers of Whataburger agree that the drink is something that must be tasted first to see if you're a fan of it.

"What an interesting drink. Give it a try!" advises one TripAdvisor user. "You'll either totally love it or totally hate it." While mixing pickle juice and soda together may sound like a North Carolina practice, is it more common than you think?

Pickle juice and soda make strange bedfellows

It seems that, just like vanilla and cherry flavors, the salty brine of the humble pickle has proven itself to be a strange yet interesting companion to your glass of soda. According to Today, Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop, a chain of confectionary stores around Pennsylvania and Ohio, actually sells pickle-flavored soda — alongside the usual pickle-flavored treats like pickle mints and pickle gum. 

Vat19, an online retailer that sells a variety of unique gifts, candies, and toys, also sells pickle-flavored soda. The site describes the drink as having the sour tang of a fresh dill pickle combined with the fizzy sweetness of cane sugar and soda. 

The Sodafry gave its review of pickle-flavored soda pop and seemed more disappointed by it than disgusted. The soda, although noted as being a novelty drink, was described as somewhat bland and "syrupy," not being anything particularly gross but just underwhelming. It had the profile of being a "sweet pickle flavor," but lacked the authentic taste of a true dill pickle. Of course, if you want a soda to taste like a pickle, you probably want it to taste just like the real deal.

Notably, pickles aren't the only unique flavor to be found in soda pop. Other flavors like rhubarb, dragon fruit, and even "Flamin' Hot" (whatever that flavor is) have become fizzy drinks ready to be sampled and enjoyed — or not, depending on your taste.