A great drink can elevate a meal. The right beverage acts as both an enhancer of flavors and a palate cleanser, preparing you for your next mouthful of food. There are few joys in this world that compare to taking a swig of Coca-Cola after biting into a greasy slice of pepperoni pizza, for example. They’re just a perfect pairing. But sometimes — whether you’ve just ranked a bunch of colas, are trying to make healthier choices, or simply want to drink something new — the time is right to push a different button on the soda fountain.
So here we are, counting down to the best drinks fast food has to offer that aren’t soda. A few ground rules: No commercial brands allowed. If you can find it at the market and it doesn’t have the label of the fast food restaurant, it’s exempt. We aren’t going to rate every generic iced tea out there, either. That would be stupid, so only in-house brewed tea and lemonade apply. Lastly, the drink must be a practical replacement for soda. Sorry bacon and fudge milkshakes, there is a time, place, and drug that justify your existence but you’re out of the running today.