April 20/Boston/National Association of Convenience Stores -- As summer approaches, strange flavor combinations and icy concoctions rule the beverage menus at fast-food restaurants and convenience stores, USA Today reports. Drinks can be the most profitable item on the menu, and the heat brings out the wacky and goofy beverages.

“We’ve been programmed to be hydration maniacs,” said Christopher Muller, dean at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration. “But we’re also prone to want something more exciting than water.”

The excitement begins next month with McDonald’s will launch its McCafe Frozen Strawberry Lemonade. In May, Sonic will add Double Stuff Oreo Blast, with ice cream made with Oreo cream filling. “It’s flavored like the middle of an Oreo cookie,” said Danielle Vona, CMO of Sonic.

Also in May, Arby’s will start selling a Jamocha Oreo Shake, while next week, Jack in the Box will once again offer a blackberry shake. Dunkin’ Donuts will roll out a Mountain Dew Coolatta frozen slush beverage in May, too.

Starting May 3, Starbucks will have Mocha Coconut Frappuccinos for a limited time. May also is the time when KFC will offer Pepsi Max, the first fast-food restaurant to sell the no-calorie soft drink. Subway will add Fuze fresh-brewed raspberry iced tea to its menu soon.

In June, 7-Eleven will debut Slurpees in cups with dual chambers, two straws and a special valve to allow consumers to sample two flavors simultaneously. The convenience store chain sells a beverage to one out of three customers, said Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven’s senior vice president of marketing.

From the April 20, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.