The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino is an interesting drink steeped in mystery and controversy. Introduced in early 2017 and discontinued almost immediately, the Unicorn Frappuccino has taken on an almost mythical status among Starbucks aficionados. Lost in the hubbub is that the Unicorn Frappuccino is quite good!
In this article, we’re going to teach you how to make your very own Unicorn Frappuccino at home. We’ll cover what ingredients you’ll need, how to combine them to get as close to the original as possible, and briefly explain the background behind one of the coffee world’s strangest and shortest-lived legal battles.
What’s in the Unicorn Frappuccino?
Let’s start with the good stuff: what’s in it? Unfortunately, no one knows what the original drink had in it, besides Starbucks baristas who worked there in 2017. However, there have been plenty of valiant attempts to recreate the drink since it was discontinued. Here is our favorite recipe.
Homemade Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino
- ½ teaspoon hot water
- ½ teaspoon Kool-Aid raspberry powder
- ¼ cup melted white chocolate
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1 scoop of plain vanilla ice cream
- ½ tablespoon mango simple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Kool-Aid pink lemonade powder
- ½ tablespoon grenadine
- Whipped cream
- ½ cup crushed ice for authentic Frappuccino texture
- Start by mixing the raspberry Kool-Aid powder and hot water as if you were making a small drink of hot Kool-Aid.
- In a small saucepan, combine the mixed blue Kool-Aid with the white chocolate and heat on low until the white chocolate melts. Stir until the Kool-Aid and chocolate are evenly mixed.
- The mixture should be thick but pourable. If you started with too much white chocolate or not enough water, you can add some at the end until it reaches the proper consistency.
- Combine the ice cream, milk, ice, mango syrup, pink lemonade Kool-Aid powder, and grenadine in a blender. Blend on high until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and the consistency is smooth.
- You can unceremoniously combine the white chocolate raspberry syrup with the blended concoction, but we recommend layering the ingredients in thirds for a more authentic recreation. Start by filling a glass one-third of the way with the pink mango blended portion. Follow up by filling the middle third with the blue raspberry syrup before filling the remaining third with the rest of the pink mango mixture.
- Top with whipped cream and enjoy the fruits of your effort.
Unicorn Frappuccino Controversy
When Starbucks revealed their Unicorn Frappuccino in April of 2017, some people accused a small Brooklyn coffee shop called The End of ripping off Starbucks based on the similarities between their Unicorn Latte and Starbucks’ new Unicorn Frappuccino. In reality, The End had released their Unicorn Latte before Starbucks unveiled the Unicorn Frappuccino, leading The End to file a lawsuit against Starbucks, claiming the coffee giant cost them business and reputation.
It didn’t take long for the case to be settled, and the court determined that Starbucks did not infringe on The End’s pending trademark of the Unicorn Latte.
Late 2016 and early 2017 featured many unicorn-themed food and beverages, making Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino timing more likely a coincidence and a product of capitalizing on social media trends than an attack on a small, local competitor.
Starbucks discontinued the Unicorn Frappuccino shortly after it was introduced, partly because it was only meant to be a limited-time offer and partly because the Unicorn Latte met with disapproval from the American Heart Association over its excessively high sugar content.
Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino was a short-lived, sugar-filled offering meant to take advantage of the growing trend of unicorn flavored drinks circa 2017. Starbucks fans have tried for years to recreate the drink, and there are plenty of recipes scattered across the internet that attempt to make a reasonable facsimile of the Unicorn Frappuccino.
We hope you enjoyed this guide and brief history lesson and will take this recipe and build on it. We find it strangely poetic that a drink that is shrouded in mystery and difficult to reproduce should be named after the symbol of uniqueness and rarity. If you try our recipe and give it a tweak of your own, you can become a small part of the story and a little piece of one of the strangest bits of Starbucks’ history.
Featured Image Credit: Need Swanya, Shutterstock