By now I'm sure there's no one left in the US who hasn't heard of Starbucks' newest drink, the Unicorn Frappucino. There have been tons of Instagram photos of it, articles discussing how the baristas are all definitely about to mutiny, Katy Perry spitting it out after one sip, and some woman telling her husband about her pregnancy with it.
In my tiny corner of the internet, I am known as a Unicorn Lover (some might say "Expert"). I have unicorn art on my walls, unicorn soap, unicorn clothing, unicorn makeup brushes, and even a giant, hand-painted carousel unicorn in my living room.
Of course I'd been tagged in posts about this upcoming drink approximately 8,437 times in the week leading up to the release. I had seen the ingredients list. I had extreme reservations at the idea of the "mango and sour" flavors it was going to have.
But I persevered because how could I not? I am a Unicorn Lover. I prepared my pancreas by giving it a blanket, a hot tea, and lots of soothing affirmations. I also set up an Instagram Live event, because by golly, if I was gonna do this, I needed an audience!
I wanted to order a Short. Really, I did. I did not WANT 33g of sugar floating in my bloodstream, or my pancreas turning to dust in a fit of frustration. But alas, Starbucks told me no. I was forced to get the Tall size, and, for the sake of the food illustration and full experience, I also got it with the dang whipped cream.
It was a rather pretty, saturated confection with swirls of retina-searing magenta and blue. The cloud of whipped cream looked lovely with the pink, glittery sugar topping all of its white crests. Alas, it was supposed to also have blue powder, but I think my Starbucks decided I didn't need it in my life. Maybe that was a blessing in disguise at the end. I had to add the blue in the illustration on my own, for accuracy.
So. I had an audience, an extremely, extremely brightly colored drink, and had prayed to the insulin gods.
It was time.
The first sip was an actual punch in the face. We're talking mouth puckering, eyes watering, absolute gag reflex. I had accidentally gotten a full mouth of just the blue sour syrup... and it had been several decades since the last time I'd had a Warhead candy. It caught me completely by surprise, and I had to take a moment to recover before I could continue. The pink part didn't really taste like mango-- it was more just... "fruit." Once I swirled some of the blue and pink together (and no, Hungry Readers, it did not color change), the sour and fruit worked together to make.... a new flavor.
A flavor that wasn't bad. But it also wasn't good. I didn't completely hate it, but I also definitely did not want to drink the rest. I ended up having about half, but by this point I'd hit about 17g of sugar and I tapped out.
I'm sort of offended, honestly. Here I am, a resident Unicorn Expert, and Starbucks didn't consult me on what unicorns taste like? I mean, they didn't consult Katy Perry either, but I digress. Unicorns do not taste like sour mangoes, or sour fruit of any sort. They taste like marshmallows. Maybe cotton candy (although I'm not a fan of that, personally). Perhaps they could even taste like white chocolate. But sour mangoes? No, sir, I don't like it.
Here's my main takeaway: it was a fun promotion, and I'm glad I gave it a try. I got to do a nice illustration of it, and I don't have many reasons to bust out markers that are that bright, usually. As a matter of fact, I didn't have all the shades I needed in that level of brightness, so I did have to do a bit of digital work after I scanned the original.
Perhaps some may say that us mere mortals can't fully appreciate the taste of unicorns, but I for one think that's not the issue. I believe we mortals can't possibly imitate the magic that is unicorns. We shot for the moon and landed... I dunno, somewhere in west Jersey?
If you also want to have a sugar rush and then a headache afterward, make sure to get your drink by this Sunday when the promotion ends!