by Riley Sugarman
Photography by Riley Sugarman
Every so often, a daring customer or devoted barista discovers a new drink for the Starbucks Secret Menu. This popular website features more than 200 not-so-secret Starbucks recipes for the public to enjoy, including the Butterbeer and Cotton Candy Frappuccinos. Occasionally, certain drinks on the website become a part of Starbucks’ regular menu; the S’mores Frappuccino experienced this fate after unwavering popularity across the country.
The latest Starbucks Secret Menu sensation is gaining traction through social media—namely Instagram. The drink is recognizable by its pink bubblegum color and equally fitting name: the Pink Drink. It puts a twist on the classic Strawberry Açaí Refresher by swapping out water for coconut milk—and blackberries for strawberries if you’re feeling particularly daring—resulting in a fusion between strawberry milk and a piña colada.
This tasty beverage is skyrocketing in popularity just in time for summer, with over 130,000 photos boasting the hashtag #pinkdrink. Inevitably, those interested in getting their hands on one should hurry because many Starbucks locations are running out of coconut milk and Strawberry Açaí Refreshers.
Emelia, a barista at a Starbucks in Vinn Square, Massachusetts, said the drink became especially popular about two weeks ago, but instead of losing popularity, similar to most trends, it has arguably gained more traction.
“I would say that we have at least five [Pink Drinks] ordered an hour, which is pretty good for a specific type of drink,” she said. “We just recently ran out of the Strawberry Açaí Refresher because it became so popular,” unaware that her Starbucks location would run out again the next day.
However, is the Pink Drink as delicious as social media users and baristas claim, or is it only popular for its enticing pink color? Isabelle Nguyen-Phuoc (CAS ’19), a longtime fan of regular Strawberry Açaí Refreshers, recently tried the drink after a friend recommended trading the water for coconut milk.
“It tasted like a strawberry Starburst in liquid form,” said Nguyen-Phuoc.
Although flavorful, she confessed the drink is little too sweet for her taste. “I don’t think I will go out of my way to order it at Starbucks, but I may steal a sip or two if someone I know gets one.”
Nguyen-Phuoc had never seen the beverage on social media prior to ordering it herself, but soon noticed the drink frequenting friends’ Snapchat stories. She claims that while worth every last sip to some, ordering the Pink Drink comes with a surprising cost: slight indignity. “The judgment from the barista while ordering [the drink] was very evident,” said Nguyen-Phuoc.
Next time you find yourself in Starbucks, brave the potentially smug baristas and order a Pink Drink. Soon you’ll be the only one who hasn’t.