Few things have incited as much excitement this week as the release of Starbucks’s limited-time-only magical beverage, the Unicorn Frappuccino Blended Crème. (Bill O’Reilly who?)
As legions of millennials stormed into the nearest Starbucks location to unwittingly collect what has been described as “Pepto Bismol disguised as happiness” by one Newsweek writer, there’s no doubt that the Starbucks gimmick has done its job. It got hordes of people to share its most eye-catching beverage on the menu – secret or otherwise – on social media. Regardless of its seriously questionable taste, it has inspired some of the most heated discussions on a social media platform since the release of Taco Bell’s Naked Chicken Chalupa.
Not one to be left out of the loop, I had to try one. With such riveting discussions surrounding such a polarizing beverage, I had to be in on the secret. I have never wanted to hate or love something more in my life, and this Starbucks drink was going to answer that call. Starbucks describes the beverage as having “pink and blue fairy powder” with “magical flavors.”
For the record, it tasted nothing like rainbows, magic or unicorns. It had all the elements of a Frappuccino, from the crème to the special syrup, but the multicolored powder dustings prompted a taste bud flashback from my early childhood years of the candy dust coating that came in the ‘90s seminal classic, the Baby Bottle Pop. Mixed with a little Starbucks crème, and you have yourself a genuinely befuddling beverage.
After mixing the frothy, blended drink, which Starbucks said transformed sweet and fruity to sour, the taste began to take on a fruit Creamsicle flavor. Although I couldn’t tell you exactly what kind of “fruit” that would even be. Perhaps my Starbucks palate is underdeveloped, but the experience leading up to the event was more memorable than consuming the actual drink. In short, it was about 410 calories of disappointment.
It tasted like an assault on my taste buds.
To make some sense of this mystical drink and my feelings of confusion and slight betrayal (I’m still waiting for my problems to melt away as quickly as this Unicorn Frappuccino is now melting beside me on my desk), I checked out the ingredients.
All of the standard ingredients of the classic Starbucks Frappuccino are there – ice, milk, special Crème Frappuccino Syrup and whipped cream. Then there are the drizzles and the powders: vanilla syrup, mango syrup, blue drizzle (or white chocolate mocha sauce, according to the list of ingredients), classic syrup, pink powder and sour blue powder. All in all, it was a chaotic mix of sweet and sour flavors – like sticking 10 different candies in your mouth at the same time, only to realize that it tastes like nothing at all and, at once, like everything artificial.
Starbucks will only carry this beverage until April 23, so if you’re not planning on running out and buying one ASAP, here are some tips on how to re-create your own. It might not taste great, but at least it will be a memorable experience.
Start with the basic Frappuccino ingredients – ice, milk and a cream or vanilla flavored syrup and some whipped cream. Add some white chocolate mocha sauce (apparently you can buy it on Amazon), vanilla syrup and mango juice. Here comes the fun, creative part. Head out to a drugstore and grab bags of Sweet Tarts and Pixie Sticks. Maybe get really crazy and throw in some Pop Rocks to take it to the next level. Grind up the Sweet Tarts to a fine powder and mix it with the Pixie Stick powder. Finally, sprinkle the Pop Rocks on top of your beautiful, magical creation.