IHOP Pepsi Maple Syrup Cola and Float review: Finally, a sweet Pepsi!

The viral drink from last year makes its way to IHOP proper.
IHOP Pepsi Maple Float
IHOP Pepsi Maple Float /

If there’s one drink that doesn’t need to be sweeter, it’s Pepsi. Yet the Coca-Cola alternative (I said it, and I don’t apologize) released a collaboration last year with IHOP that pushed the limits of what could be considered a reasonable amount of sugar taste in a beverage by adding maple syrup for a limited edition release. Now that flavor is in IHOP stores proper – and it’s brought a float along for the ride.

To be clear, I understand that there’s a difference between the sugary taste of cola and the maple sugary taste of maple syrup. They are intrinsically different flavors. But whereas Coke leans into the whole burnt caramel flavor of the drink, Pepsi definitely errs on the sweeter side. Too sweet, if you ask me, though I think I made that abundantly clear in both the headline and previous paragraph.

So it was a fair amount of trepidation that I headed to my local IHOP with the family earlier this month. I mean I like my family, I wasn’t hesitant about that. But drinking sweeter than usual Pepsi first thing in the morning wasn’t necessarily how I wanted to kick off my weekend.

But I did anyway, for science, and ordered not just the IHOP Pepsi Maple Syrup Cola, but also the IHOP Pepsi Maple Syrup Cola Float, which adds vanilla ice cream. And because I was really hoping to go into a real sugar coma, I also ordered this month’s Pancake of the Month, Cinnamon Apple Pecan Pancakes.

To start with the last, first, these were fine and fluffy. They’ve got IHOP’s cinnamon apples and dulce de leche sauce on them, along with pecan bits and a ludicrous amount of whipped cream. First of all, I don’t know how anyone would eat all of these. I ate half and my stomach felt like it was about to burst. The pancakes are nice and light, but the apples/sauce is heavy. The pecans added a nice bit of crunch, but without the texture of the nuts, this felt mostly like eating sweet air that nevertheless packed every pore of my body with sucrose.

Good thing then I followed it up with two sodas! Perhaps there was some confirmation bias going on here, but the basic Pepsi Maple Syrup Cola was as sweet as I was concerned it would be. The maple syrup adds some nice nuance to the usual overly aggressive taste of Pepsi. But overall this is not something I, nor any of my eating companions, would revisit again.

Imagine my surprise then that I kind of loved the float. IHOP’s ice cream is soft serve poured over cola, and all my qualms about Pepsi were washed away in what essentially tasted like a caramel-y, maple syrup-y ice cream float. Would I recommend this with breakfast, the way I had it? Absolutely not. But as a dessert at some other time of day, this is a delicious treat that brings out the best of all the elements.

Short version here is that overall, I’m not sure we needed maple syrup Pepsi. But since we have it, if you are heading to IHOP I highly recommend giving the float a try. Just make sure to eat some fruit or a salad later so you don’t go into sugar shock.

The cola is far too sweet, but the float is a great dessert.. . Pepsi Maple Syrup Cola and Float. Pepsi Maple Syrup Cola and Float. B-

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