As much as we love coffee, sometimes, we just need to add a little variety while still getting our caffeine fix.
Why not try Starbucks’ Pink Drink? Made with a blend of passion fruit, acai berries, strawberries, and coconut milk, it’s the perfect refresher for any time of year.
Keep reading to find out what it is and how to make one.
Pink Drink Copycat Recipe
- ½ cup strawberry-acai-passion fruit base
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup ice, more or less to taste
- ¼ cup diced frozen or freeze-dried strawberries
- A large cocktail shaker
- A 20-ounce glass
Strawberry-Acai-Passion Fruit Base
- 2 cups white grape juice
- ½ cup strawberry-kiwi juice
- 1 tablespoon passion fruit pulp
- 1 packet of acai berry blend
- ¼ teaspoon green coffee bean extract
- Honey or another sweetener, to taste
- 25-ounce pitcher
What’s the Pink Drink?
When we’ve had too much coffee, Starbucks’ Pink Drink is, hands-down, one of our favorite Starbucks beverages. Just like our Starbucks Dragon Drink copycat recipe, the Pink Drink is a refreshing, fruity tropical vacation in a cup.
So, what’s in the Pink Drink? Like Starbucks Strawberry Acai Refresher, the Pink Drink is a shaken Refresher.
It starts with the Starbucks Strawberry Acai Refresher base and adds coconut milk, ice, a bit of passion fruit juice, and some freeze-dried strawberries. Then, everything is shaken together before being poured into a cold cup.
If you’ve never ordered one, check out this video of a Starbucks barista making it.
Not sure the Pink Drink is for you? We’ve got some equally great recipes for more traditional Starbucks concoctions. Try our delicious pumpkin cream cold brew on an unseasonably warm autumn day. Or ring in the holiday season with the delightfully sweet chestnut praline.
A Little History
Once upon a time, the Pink Drink was a Starbucks secret menu item. What’s the secret menu, you ask? The secret menu is the line that separates casual Starbucks connoisseurs from the truly devoted, i.e. those of us who live at coffee shops for a living.
In 2017, after the Pink Drink went viral on Instagram and other social media platforms, Starbucks decided to add it to its formal menu (1).
The Pink Drink Ingredients
The Pink Drink isn’t just delicious and Instagrammable; it’s also incredibly healthy. Before we dig into the recipe, let’s break down the ingredients in this drink and why they’re so good for you.
Strawberries are rich in many beneficial vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and flavonoids like anthocyanin, which may reduce your risk of developing heart disease (2). If you’re feeling ambitious, you can buy fresh strawberries and process them into juice for this recipe. But a simple alternative is to use store-bought strawberry-kiwi juice to deliver some tropical sweetness to this recipe.
The acai berry has received plenty of attention in recent years as a superfood. It is a dark purplish fruit that grows on acai palms in Brazil’s Amazon region. With yellow flesh and a large round seed, the “berry” in their name is technically a misnomer. Acai are more closely related to olives than other berries.
Unlike other fruits, acai berries contain relatively little sugar, with just 2 grams of sugar per 100 grams of acai berries on average.
They’re also antioxidant-rich and high in vitamin A and other trace minerals. These powerful phytochemicals may protect against cognitive decline and lower cholesterol (3).
The passion fruit is a mildly tart, purple fruit that grows in India, Australia, and other tropical and subtropical climates. Both the pulp and seeds can be eaten, but the outer rind is hard and inedible.
Passion fruits are nutritional powerhouses that protect the body against cell damage, with high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, and other antioxidants. What’s more, their anti-inflammatory properties may also reduce the likelihood of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s (4).
The Strawberry Acai Refresher base found in the Pink Drink includes white grape juice and white grape juice concentrate from Niagara and White Concord grapes. These have a unique candy sweetness and slight muskiness.
White grapes are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. All these have an anti-inflammatory effect, protecting your body against heart disease. They are 82% water, so white grape juice is an excellent way to stay hydrated (5).
Green Coffee Beans
Green coffee beans are coffee cherry seeds that have been dried but not yet roasted. Roasting coffee develops the complex aromas and flavors we all savor in a brewed cup but also destroys some beneficial nutrients.
Green coffee beans have a very different flavor than roasted coffee. They can taste grassy or herbal. Green coffee beans are very dense, which makes them difficult to grind and brew. So they are most commonly consumed as healthful green coffee bean extracts.
Chlorogenic acid found in green coffee beans may increase metabolism by increasing the amount of glucose and fat your body burns. These antioxidants can also reduce inflammation and protect against free radical cell damage.
Other beneficial compounds in green coffee beans help reduce stress and lower cortisol levels by dilating blood vessels (6).
Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream vs. Coconut Water
The ingredients for the Pink Drink on the Starbucks’ site list both coconut cream and coconut water concentrate. What’s the difference between these three constituents of coconut, and do you need them both for your copycat recipe?
Coconut Cream vs. Coconut Milk
Coconut cream is made by simmering the fibrous coconut meat in hot water. When the mixture is strained and cooled, it forms three distinct layers. The coconut cream is the thickest layer and is skimmed from the top.
The coconut milk you find in a can is made by combining the two layers of liquid beneath the cream. This is distinct from the dairy alternative coconut milk, which is made by blending coconut meat with water and then straining it through a fine sieve or nut milk bag. We suggest the dairy-alternative coconut milk in the Pink Drink for the best consistency, but if you love a rich and creamy drink, canned coconut milk will treat you right.
Coconut water is the liquid people drink when they crack open a coconut (7).
This clear fluid can be found in the center of young coconuts and does not contain any of the fat derived from the coconut flesh.
It is a refreshing and hydrating alternative to coconut milk that still packs a flavorful punch. You can substitute it in your Pink Drink for a lower-fat option, though the result won’t have the same luscious texture or visual appeal.
The Strawberry-Acai-Passion Fruit Base
When figuring out the recipe for the strawberry acai base for our Pink Drink copycat, we knew a few things.
- White grape juice should be the prominent flavor
- The passion fruit gives the base necessary tartness
- It needs caffeine
Beyond that, we had to do a bit of digging. Starbucks’ ingredients list notes the base contains “natural flavors” and “fruit and vegetable juice,” which is not exactly helpful.
To make your life easier, we settled on a simple blend of white grape juice, honey to taste, an acai blend, readily available strawberry-kiwi juice, green coffee extract, and passion fruit pulp. When buying juice at the grocery store, always look for those labeled “100% Juice.” Phrases like “juice drink” and “juice cocktail” appear quite often. Unfortunately, this means you’re not getting pure juices but rather a blend of additives, food coloring, and high fructose corn syrup.
With those ingredients in hand, it’s just a matter of blending everything with ice and frozen or freeze-dried strawberries.
So, let’s make a Starbucks Pink Drink copycat recipe.
How to Make The Pink Drink Copycat Recipe
This Starbucks Pink Drink copycat is incredibly simple. This cool, refreshing drink can be yours in mere minutes with a blender, a pitcher, some fruit, and juices.
1. Make the Strawberry-Acai-Passion Fruit Base
Add the 2 cups of white grape juice, ½ cup of strawberry-kiwi juice, 1 tablespoon of passion fruit pulp, 1 packet of acai berry blend, 1 teaspoon of honey, and ¼ teaspoon of green coffee bean extract to a high-speed blender. Blend to combine.
You can taste the mixture at this point to check the balance of your Refresher base. If it needs more tartness, add more passion fruit. If it’s not sweet enough, add more honey or sugar in ½ teaspoon increments, blending between each addition.
When the balance is right, blend everything until it’s smooth, and put it in the fridge to chill.
Pro Tip: The frozen fruit section at your local grocery store can be your best friend when recreating Starbucks Refreshers at home. We found our acai berry blend in the form of frozen packets of acai berry pulp meant for smoothie bowls. Many stores will also carry frozen passion fruit puree.
2. Assemble the Starbucks Pink Drink Recipe
Add ½ cup of the chilled strawberry-acai-passion fruit base, ½ cup coconut milk, ¼ cup of diced frozen strawberries or freeze-dried strawberries, and ½ cup of ice to a large cocktail shaker. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, any large jar with a lid will do the trick. Shake well, and pour into a frosty 20-ounce glass.
A fun alternative is to put all the ingredients, including the ice and frozen strawberries, back in the blender. Puree the mixture for an ultra-creamy frappe-style drink.
Feel free to add more freeze-dried strawberries or frozen strawberries for a decorative and delicious touch.
Pro Tip: To make this drink even more flavorful, make white grape juice cubes by pouring white grape juice into a standard ice tray.
There you have it. This Starbucks Pink Drink copycat recipe is simple, refreshing, and healthy. Packed with antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, this homemade Pink Drink is a great way to get your servings of fruit for the day while also enjoying a caffeine boost.
Did you make this recipe? Did you try any substitutions you think others might enjoy? Drop us a comment below or in our Home Grounds Facebook group. And if you took a social media-worthy snap of your Pink Drink, tag us on Instagram @homegroundsco.
Can You Use Sugar Substitutes in a Pink Drink?
Yes, you can use sugar substitutes in a Pink Drink if your diet is incompatible with sugar. Just remember that not every sugar substitute is a cup-to-cup equivalent to granulated sugar, so be sure to taste it often. For example, you can replace one cup of sugar with 1 cup of erythritol, but you’lRememberl need only 1 teaspoon of agave for a similar sweetness.
If you’re vegan and want to avoid honey in particular, maple syrup is a delicious substitute.
Can You Use Passion Fruit Tea in the Strawberry-Acai-Passion Fruit Base?
Yes, you can use passion fruit tea for the strawberry-acai-passion fruit base if you can’t find the real thing at your local grocery store.
The best way to do this without skewing the drinks’ ratios is to heat 1 cup of the white grape juice and use that to steep the tea. Steep it longer than normal to get as much flavor as possible. Then, cool it down before adding it back into the base.
Can You Use Simple Syrup in the Base?
Yes, you can use simple syrup in the base if you have it on hand. Simple syrup is a 1-to-1 mixture of sugar and water, and you can substitute it directly for the honey. However, in our experience, granulated sugar dissolves well in the Refresher base, so there is no need to make simple syrup.
Can I Make My Own Strawberry Juice?
Yes, you can make your own strawberry juice if you can’t find a strawberry-kiwi blend or similar at your local store. The best way to do this is in a pressure cooker, which makes preparation easy and pasteurizes the juice so that you can keep it in the fridge for longer.
Add 2 cups of water to the bottom of your pressure cooker. Then, place a trivet in, set a heat-safe bowl or pan on top, and place a steamer basket on top. Place your berries in the steamer basket, close and lock the pressure lid, and cook for 12 minutes at high pressure. Once time’s up, quickly release the pressure, remove the steam basket and the fruit, and allow the juice extract to cool before using. You can also add sugar if the juice isn’t sweet enough, which is possible if the berries are slightly underripe.
- Pink Drink Joins Starbucks Beverage Menu. (2019). Starbucks Stories. https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2017/pink-drink-joins-starbucks-beverage-menu/
- Ware, M. (2021, December 8). Are strawberries good for you? Benefits, nutrition, and more. Medicalnewstoday.com; Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271285#benefits
- Jennings, K.-A. (2017, May 31). 5 Impressive Health Benefits of Acai Berries. Healthline; Healthline Media. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-acai-berries
- Galan, N. (2022, July 2). What are the health benefits of passion fruit? Medicalnewstoday.com; Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324383
- All About White Grapes: A Delicious and Healthy Grape – Minneopa Orchards. (2020, September 10).Minneopa Orchards.
- Sowmya Binu. (2021, June 15). Green Coffee: 7 Superb Health Benefits Of Having This Energising Beverage. Netmeds; Netmeds. https://www.netmeds.com/health-library/post/green-coffee-7-superb-health-benefits-of-having-this-energising-beverage
- Moncel, B. (2013). Coconut Cream, Milk, and Water. The Spruce Eats. https://www.thespruceeats.com/coconut-cream-milk-and-water-1328438