Sugar, in any form, is a hell of a drug. Case in point: My 4-year-old niece’s drink of choice—2 percent milk with strawberry syrup.
“Strawberry milk” makes her lose her mind, just like the internet is losing its mind over a very similar offering from Starbucks’ secret menu—“Pink Drink.” At the time of this writing, the hashtag #pinkdrink appears on over 142,000 Instagram posts.
Once you catch a glimpse, it’s easier to understand the hype. The aptly named beverage has a pretty bubblegum hue, and is a blend of Starbucks’ Strawberry Acai Refresher and coconut milk, garnished with fresh berries. Taste-wise, it’s actually pretty good: Fruity, refreshing, and icy.
But after a little digging into the ingredients, and we did a double take. After water, the first thing listed in the Strawberry Acai base is sugar, followed by white grape juice concentrate. Not great. The rest of the components are pretty typical what you’d find in a powdered drink mix: Citric acid, natural green coffee flavor, fruit and vegetable juice, Rebaudioside A (a derivative form of stevia), and freeze-dried strawberries.
Other than the citric acid and modified stevia, it’s pretty easy to recreate this recipe at home with a few inexpensive ingredients. You can save yourself from the excess sugar and from shelling out $4 for a barista-made cup. Here’s how.
DIY Starbucks’ Pink Drink
Yield: 2 servings
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
For the drink:
2 cups coconut milk
Fresh strawberries, sliced
Make the syrup
Heat strawberries, green coffee extract, grape juice, and stevia in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until reduced into a thicker, syrup-like consistency.
Pour the liquid through a strainer and discard the strawberries. Let cool.
Make the drink
In a shaker bottle, combine strawberry syrup, coconut milk, sliced strawberries, and ice. Shake until mixed and serve cold over ice.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho