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Starbucks Creates a Unicorn Frappuccino, and the World Reaches Peak Unicorn

Yay or neigh?

unicorn copy

Capitalizing on what the BBC calls “an internet craze for unicorn food,” Starbucks has whipped up a unicorn-themed drink using its signature frap base. How, exactly, does a drink become unicorn-themed? Read on.

The special limited edition unicorn frap is only available in the U.S., Mexico and Canada through the end of this week, so eat our magic dust, other continents! What’s the mystical mixture made of? No one knows. Like the rest of Starbucks frappuccino concoctions, that’s a trade secret and best left unpondered. But here’s how the company described it:

“… a sweet dusting of pink powder, blended into a creme Frappuccino with mango syrup and layered with a pleasantly sour blue drizzle. It is finished with vanilla whipped cream and a sprinkle of sweet pink and sour blue powder topping.”

Yum! Mango syrup and a pleasant sour blue drizzle? Where do I go to plunk down a lot of money for this thing? Oh, wait, I live in New York City; I could go to literally every other block. Oh wait, again! There’s more description from Starbucks. They really doubled down on the wizardry.

“Like its mythical namesake, the Unicorn Frappuccino blended crème comes with a bit of magic, starting as a purple beverage with swirls of blue and a first taste that is sweet and fruity. But give it a stir and its color changes to pink, and the flavor evolves to tangy and tart. The more swirl, the more the beverage’s color and flavors transform.”

I admit I’m a simple coffee soul who considers an iced latte as my most adventurous order, but this just sounds … colorful? I’m going to go with colorful. And complicated. Really complicated. I’m already feeling bad for baristas everywhere who have to add syrup, drizzle, whipped cream, and powder toppings to the regular frappuccino. Per the BBC, “a ‘tall’ Unicorn Frappuccino with whole milk has 280 calories, 11 grammes of fat, and 39 grammes of sugar.” It sounds better and classier when you spell it “grammes.” Bless the British.

I was curious whether there really is a widespread “internet craze” concerning edible unicorns, so I asked Amanda Brennan, a wonderful person who has an actual library science degree in memes, about the trend. Amanda pointed me to FB videos and “staged Instagram pics” as contributing to our online hunger for unicorns and also wanting to eat them, like so:

I think I get it now. I don’t even like macarons and yet I’m filled with the mad desire to possess these cookies.

Anyway, the Internet predictably had Things to Say about the Unicorn frap. Some were concerned about all those colorful dyes (natural? not? migraine-inducing?). But others are all in on the creature coffee concept.

A lot of the reactions in the #unicornfrappuccino hashtag are adorable—people seem to really love and identify with our mythical medieval horned horsey friends, and if this drink brings them joy, I’m glad. You do you, unicorns! But don’t forget, those precious, notoriously shy creatures are rare:


(via the BBC, image: Starbucks)

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Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.