Unicorn Frappuccino: A Digital Age Drink

April 19, 2017

If ever a drink were concocted to quench the thirst of social media, this may be it.

With its whimsical name, bright pink and blue swirl topped with a pillow of whipped cream and a pixie dusting of sprinkles, Starbucks’ new Unicorn Frappuccino practically pleads to be posted.

And a glimpse at Twitter shows the frozen confection is indeed gaining attention.

So what’s in it? As Starbucks describes it: “A sweet dusting of pink powder, blended into a crème 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.”

A look at the ingredients reveals a list a little less fanciful. The pink powder is actually dextrose (sugar) and “Fruit and Vegetable Color.”

Starbucks touts the drink “as rare as a unicorn.” But unicorn food is actually a thing. The BBC reports, it’s trendy to post pictures of sparkly and rainbow hued food reminiscent of the fairy tale creature.

Rainbow sushi, anyone?

As for the Unicorn Frappuccino, Lori Aquino said the beverage caught her eye on social media. Then people at work were talking about it.

“I saw it was coming out today, so I decided to try it,” Aquino said at a Washington, D.C., Starbucks. “I’ll probably put it on Snapchat or Instagram.”

She bought one to share with her two coworkers.

And the verdict?

“It’s kinda nasty,” Aquino said.

Letitia Winston agreed: “Nope. That will not be something I come looking for.”

But Moriam Animashaun was more forgiving. “It’s not bad,” she said. “It’s just really sweet.”

A 16-ounce medium, or a grande in Starbucks speak, comes in at 410 calories, 59 grams of sugar and 16 grams of fat.

One thing the women were on board with was the drink’s appearance. “It’s pretty,” said Animashaun. “It looks nice,” agreed Winston.

And in the age of likes, snaps and tweets, the fantasy image may be all that matters.

The Unicorn Frappuccino is available April 19 through April 23 at participating stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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