We Tried Dunkin's Late Summer Menu And Found A Few Disappointments

When I last left off with Dunkin' back in February, the chain crowned a limited-release line of decent DunKings items. A lot has happened since then, with the introduction of its vitamin and caffeine-fueled SPARKD' Energy beverages, and a Kiwi Watermelon Dunkin' Refresher and Green Goddess Wrap to kick off summer. It's not even July yet, and Dunkin' is dipping back into the idea pool to reveal a new set of menu items. They include a donut and beverages inspired by comfy campfire s'mores, a natural disaster of a SPARKD' Energy Drink, and some savory bacon items drizzled in Mike's Hot Honey. In a press release, Beth Turenne, Vice President of Category Management at Dunkin' said, "As summer heats up, we're excited to introduce these innovative flavors to our guests,” adding, "we're delivering the beloved tastes of summer that our customers crave."

Between the new S'mores Donut, S'mores Cold Brew, Bonfire S'mores Frozen Coffee, Tornado Twist SPARKD' Energy, Hot Honey Bacon Sandwich, Hot Honey Bacon Wake-Up Wrap, Hot Honey Snackin' Bacon, and the addition of Iced Tea Lemonade, it feels like there almost aren't enough days left to try them all. Instead of you, dear reader, having to figure out which of these fiery cool new items is worth ordering, the Daily Meal has taken up the task to try each one and spill the coffee beans on them all. This chew and review is based on taste, originality, palatability, sense of summer, value, and overall lovability.

Hot Honey Bacon Sandwich

As I pulled the Hot Honey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich out of its paper bag, my hands were instantly taken by its supreme softness. The cake-like brioche bun was perfectly rounded, amber brown, and despite a coarse appearance, rather shiny. I attempted to get a peek under its hood, but the cheese seemed to form a glue keeping it shut. I pried harder, and was finally able to see what looked like a pebbly cheese coating a few pieces of bacon, and underneath, a wide piece of white cheddar cheese surrounding a fried egg. By appearance alone, it was a whole lot of sandwich.

As I took my first bite, the enormity of the sandwich came into focus, and how most of it tastes like the bun. While I continued to nibble on, the solidified and unremarkable egg became more apparent, but the bacon, while physically peasant on the exterior, got lost in the shuffle. Perhaps at one point, the bacon was crisp, but housed between the cheese, it seemed to have lost its bite. Mike's Hot Honey was supposedly the flavoring these bacon strips were to be covered in, but alas, it was more like Mike's not honey. The one positive I took away from this sandwich was that it was really filling, making it worth the $6.49 I paid for it. The Hot Honey Bacon Sandwich contains 640 calories, with 26 grams of total fat, 61 total carbohydrates, and 29 grams of protein.

Hot Honey Bacon Wake-Up Wrap

Although the Hot Honey Bacon Wake-Up Wrap looks puny in size, compared to its bigger brother, the Hot Honey Bacon Sandwich, do not underestimate its power. Small in stature, it had quite a heft to it when I held it in my hand. Taking a peek inside this wrap's interior proved to be a much easier task, and what I saw was an egg patty that looked microwaved, and bacon that appeared to be slimy and loose. I knew there was white cheddar in here somewhere, but perhaps its hue blended into the background of the white tortilla.

Since the breading here was much thinner than what the brioche is doing in the breakfast sandwich, it allowed the other ingredients to shine a bit more. The bacon was more prevalent in this item's taste. It had a sweetness to it, but no heat to speak of. While not entirely crisp, it was more solid than the egg it was meshed together with, which created a nice balance of textures. The lighted toasted tortilla also added another layer of food fabric, creating a really good-tasting wrap that's worth waking up for, as its name suggested. The Hot Honey Bacon Wake-Up Wrap is a leaner 280 calories, and has 18 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrates, and 13 grams of protein.

Hot Honey Snackin' Bacon

Prior to this particular chew and review, I'd never had the pleasure of trying Dunkin's snacking bacon. I'm not sure what I've been doing these last four years since it was introduced, but I apparently have been missing out. While some places offer french fries in a paper sleeve, Dunkin' has strips of bacon, and this Hot Honey version marks the first new seasoned bacon flavor Dunkin' has offered up since 2019.

After I experienced how not-entirely-crispy the bacon was in the sandwich and the wrap, I sort of expected the same from a bag filled with it. I couldn't have been more wrong. It looked crispy on the outside, and even had a bubbly grease to it when I first grabbed for a piece. 8 pieces come to an order, but I couldn't tell if I had 8 pieces, or numerous broken bits that started off as 8 pieces. That didn't really matter to me, as math isn't something I care to think about when snacking on bacon. The first pieces I tried didn't seem to have much heat, nor honey to them. As I dug further into the bag, though, and I could actually see Mike's Hot Honey orangey sauce stuck to the sides, I knew it was at least there. The pieces did get sweeter as I continued on, but still not hotter. Heat or no heat, I'm ready to be snackin' on Dunkin's bacon for the foreseeable future. 

S'mores Donut

Out of the three new items that tried to invoke the spirit of classic s'mores, the S'mores Donut was the one that physically embodied the treat the best. While the fireside treat is usually more of a stacked affair, this donut looked like a shattered deconstruction of one, with pieces of chocolate and graham cracker crumbles strewn about. I knew this was a proper s'more as I could make out parts of the word "Hershey" on a broken piece of chocolate. Holding those two aspects on top was a layer of chocolate icing. Once the donut was breached, its interior held a small dollop of toasted marshmallow creme filling.

This donut is mainly about the chocolate, with the Hershey bar pieces entrenched in a sea of like-minded icing. The marshmallow creme filling isn't as incredible as it is in beverage form, but it's a luscious addition that pairs up very well with the donut's double dose of chocolate. The graham pieces look most plentiful here, but didn't register at all. It would have been nice to see some thicker pieces of cracker included, maybe sandwiched inside with the filling. Regardless, this is a mighty donut that's decadently delicious. A single donut counts for 370 calories, with 18 total grams of fat, 45 grams of total carbohydrates, and 5 grams of protein.

Bonfire S'mores Frozen Coffee

With a name like Bonfire S'mores Frozen Coffee, I expected the drink to be handed to me on fire. I'm not sure how that would actually work, but this drink was certainly a more chill affair. Out of all the new items on the late summer menu, this was far and away the most intimidating and tempting of the lot. It looked less like a beverage and more like a butterscotch-laden Grandma McFlurry with brown tiger stripes.

The whipped cream on top had an air of marshmallowness to it, but couldn't compare to the flavored foam atop the Cold Brew drink. This cream was also decked out with the same graham cracker crumbs and worked well here as added texture too. There was a mocha drizzle on top, with vanilla and s'mores syrup sweeteners added into the drink itself. It all added up to a rich flavoring that resembled dark chocolate. This was an indulgent order, more dessert than drink, and it's hard to see how a single person can finish it on their own.

Best of luck to those who dare indulge, because a medium one will give you 830 calories, 31 total grams of fat, a whopping 132 grams of carbohydrates, and 120 grams of total sugars. Still, in terms of actual cost, for the $5.99 I paid, it still beats the price of a coffee milkshake from any ice cream shop.

S'mores Cold Brew

There was something beautiful about the stillness of the S'mores Cold Brew drink. I admired how the dark coffee that made up the bulk of it contrasted with the bright white foam that occupied the top third. I expected the foam to quickly flow to the bottom, but it took a much slower approach, which seemed to help slow down the rush of my busy day of tackling the entirely of Dunkin's late summer menu.

Even though it's cold, by name and temperature, the marshmallow foam gave me a warm feeling. Less summer campfire, and more like cozying up to a fireplace in winter. Next I dabbled with the graham cracker crumbles that floated above the foam. There didn't seem to be many included, but I enjoyed their consistency which teetered between grainy and crunchy. The cold brew coffee tasted like standard Dunkin' coffee. Eventually the foam blended in with the coffee, finally giving it some flavor, but in the process took away from the foam's deliciousness. This made me wish that there was an option to order this S'mores Cold Brew drink minus the "cold brew" part.

A medium cup carries 390 calories, 20 total grams of fat, 53 grams of total carbohydrates, 48 grams of total sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Similar drinks on the menu include Cold Brew with Marshmallow Cold Foam and S'Mores Oatmilk Ice Latte.

Iced Tea Lemonade

While not an official part of the late summer menu, Iced Tea Lemonade is a brand new menu item on the general line-up. Previously it was a customization option, but now it's a more obvious and direct one to order. The drink is an Arnold Palmer, but since that name is trademarked, Dunkin' had to go with a less flashy name. Unfortunately, its pedestrian name perfectly suited the pedestrian drink that it ended up being. 

While its peachy brown was certainly alluring, amping up my taste buds, it was all for naught. There did not seem to be a trace of lemonade in this drink at all. It was basically just iced tea with the faintest hint of sugar. Brewed black tea is the base for this drink, and the lemonade that was mixed in is noted by the chain as being "sweet and tart." Lies! The lemonade concentrate ingredients consist of water, sugar, citric acid, lemon juice concentrate, natural flavor, orange juice concentrate, and pectin. Somehow it seems that everything after "water" was omitted. A medium Iced Tea Lemonade comes in at 120 calories, with 30 total grams of carbohydrates, and 29 grams of total sugars.

Let's hold our hope that Dunkin' teams up with the official Arnold Palmer brand again, and relaunches the Arnold Palmer Coolatta that cooled down customers in 2014. That would be a whole lot of fun.

Tornado Twist SPARKD' Energy Drink

Days after Starbucks jumped into the energy-infused beverage game, Dunkin' is fusing the two flavors on its own roster into a halfsies third drink — Tornado Twist SPARKD' Energy. This twist finds Berry Blast and Peach Sunshine coming together to form a beautifully salmon pink-colored beverage. Peering at the cup it was housed in, I noticed mini bubbles pressed against it that resembled bits of glitter. Would the taste of this drink match its visual attractiveness?

I knew this drink was trouble from the very first sip I took of it. There was definitely a fruit flavoring to it, but inescapable was the energy drink taste gassing this one up. Imagine drinking a Four Loko, but with no inebriation to show for it. I didn't give up on the drink, continuing to take sip after sip, hoping maybe the melting ice would mellow its sickly sweetness. It actually just got worse and worse. I have a feeling these energy drinks pumped up with caffeine and vitamins are here to stay for a long time. If that's the case, I may have to leave this party early before it really gets raging. My medium Tornado Twist netted 130 calories, 29 grams of total carbohydrates, 28 grams of added sugar, and included a vitamin and mineral blend of zinc, vitamin B3, pantothenic acid, manganese, maltodextrin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.

Hot to buy from Dunkin's late summer menu

The late summer menu consists of the S'mores Donut, S'mores Cold Brew, Bonfire S'mores Frozen Coffee, Tornado Twist SPARKD' Energy, Hot Honey Bacon Sandwich, Hot Honey Bacon Wake-Up Wrap, and Hot Honey Snackin' Bacon. They will all be on offer at participating Dunkin' locations for a limited time only, while supplies last. The Iced Tea Lemonade is a new addition to Dunkin's permanent menu. Prices for each item may vary with location, and prices for delivery or orders placed through third parties may be higher.

These items can be found in various different places within Dunkin's menu, from "S'mores SZN," "Beat the Heat," and other appropriate submenus. All beverages can be ordered in sizes small, medium, or large. In many cases, outside of the donut, customization options are available. For example, with the Hot Honey Bacon Sandwich, the brioche can be swapped out for a croissant, and American cheese is also an option in both the sandwich and the wrap. For the drinks, add-ons include sweeteners, sweetened and unsweetened flavors, dairy options, and even desired amounts of ice.

These items can be ordered at the counter in-store, or at the drive-thru where available. Advanced orders can be placed through Dunkin's app. Discount offers are available, and rewards can be earned with each purchase.

Our final thoughts on Dunkin's late summer menu

Dunkin's wide variety of late summer menu items is all about bringing the heat. Dunkin's team-up with Mike's Hot Honey to season its bacon seems like a sizzling collaboration on paper, but gave off zero smoke signals in real life. A little sweetness to offset the saltiness of the bacon was a nice touch, but there was no heat to spice up the three items it graced. Still, the sandwich was filling, the wrap solid, and the Snackin' Bacon my new morning best friend. 

Marshmallow-flavored drinks and S'mores donuts aren't actually new to Dunkin', but these latest iterations are quite the hot items to order. The marshmallow cold foam is such a treat that I hope it somehow sticks around when the school bells ring again. The one new item that had me screaming for s'mores was the S'mores donut. I was wise to buy a second one, and enjoyed it all over again as my after-dinner dessert.

As for the other two drinks, you won't be missing much if your lips never touch them. I'm not sure if the Iced Tea Lemonade wasn't made with or was just devoid of actual lemonade, but the ghost of golfer Arnold Palmer probably isn't losing any sleep over its existence. As for the Tornado Twist SPARKD' Energy Drink, this is one twister not to chase, but to run away from. Stay cool this summer dear readers, and of course, stay hydrated.