Ok people…this Starbucks thing is getting out of hand. First we had the Pink Drink, now we have the Starbucks Purple Drink (not to be confused with the Violet Drink), though it really isn’t purple. The Pink Drink has basically broken the internet. All it is the Starbucks Acai Refresher made with coconut milk instead of water. And so many people are asking for this at Starbucks that some stores are running out of freeze dried strawberries and coconut milk. And now we have the Purple Drink – how it is ordered and its ingredients has become quite a debate online.
I had an interesting experience with the Purple Drink. After reading a few reviews online, I went down to my neighborhood Starbucks and asked them to make me two drinks, The first I asked for was a Passion Fruit Tea with Vanilla Syrup, Soy Milk and Blackberries. This was how most people seem to explain the Purple Drink. The second drink I ordered was the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher with Soy Milk instead of water, the other version that is circulating around the internet. And they were two very different drinks. Very different. (Edited 6/24/2017: the Very Berry Hibiscus version is the Violet Drink.)
So, as you can see in the picture, neither version is really purple. (I learned the secret to making it purple though- read on). On the left is the Passion Fruit version, while the drink on the right is the Berry Hisbiscus variation. Both had coconut and blackberries but the flavors were polar opposites.
The Passion Fruit Purple Drink had a mild fruity taste with hints of vanilla, while the Berry Hibiscus had a very strong berries and cream flavor. I personally preferred the Berry Hibiscus Purple Drink but the majority of everyone online sided with the Passion Fruit tea as the base of this new trend. There has also been great debate of whether to use soy or coconut milk. Many people claim it is the soy milk that makes the drink purple. ????? That makes no sense. This is what I learned from going to Starbucks- the key to making the drink purple is the use of freeze dried blackberries. That is what my first couple of “purple” drinks were lacking. You have to ask for the freeze dried blackberries. And not all stores have those (at least not in my own experiences.)
So, in keeping my tradition of trying to copycat some the Starbucks summer drinks, I tried my hand at the Purple Drink. The ingredients were not as easy to find as those in the Pink Drink (in my opinion). I tried to find Vanilla Simple Syrup at Whole Foods, The Fresh Market and Publix and had no luck. So I made my own –> Vanilla Simple Syrup and I loved how it turned out. I probably also saved a lot of money as most flavored simple syrups tend to run about $20 for a bottle at most coffee shops.
The Passion Fruit tea was hard to find as well. I found a pretty good one at Whole Foods but it was not straight Passion Fruit. I had better luck at finding it online. However, Starbucks sells a Passion Tango tea which is what they actually use- and there is no passion fruit in it. The tea is made with papaya and mango. I found that using Passion Fruit tea tasted exactly the same.
My recipe was the same deep pink as Starbucks’ version. Short of adding food coloring, I am not sure if you can really follow this recipe and get a true purple color. It is not an official Starbucks drink. It is not on a secret menu as there is no official secret menu. The “secret menu” is just an unofficial list of what other customers order and like, compiled by people on the street, not the fine folks at Starbucks. Baristas are not required to know anything on the “secret menu”. Simply explain to the Barista that you would like a Passion Tea with Vanilla Syrup, Soy Milk and Blackberries. Shaken not stirred. OK? Deal?
Great, now if you want to make this Purple Drink at home and save yourself some money- here is the copycat recipe. The original copycat recipe.
One note about the blackberries- as I stated before, the key to the purple color is to use freeze dried blackberries. I had a very hard time finding those in a store, not even in my local Whole Foods or Trader Joes. I ended up ordering them on Amazon and found they were fairly cheap. But please let me know what stores are selling them around you!!
Please enjoy responsibly.
- 5 cups filtered water for boiling
- 6 Passion Fruit Tea Bags
- 3 cups cold filtered water
Boil 5 cups of water in a teapot on the stove. Steep 6 Passion Fruit tea bags for 30 minutes.
Remove the tea from the stove and pour into a serving pitcher. Add 3 cups of cold filtered water.
*This will make 2 quarts of Passion Fruit tea.
Add ice to a tall cocktail shaker. **
Pour 1/2 cup of the Passion Fruit tea over the ice, followed by the Vanilla Simple Syrup and the Soy Milk.
Add half the blackberries to the shaker, add the lid and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
Pour the shaken drink into a serving glass and top with the remaining blackberries.
*Some stores use coconut milk and some people say that it is the soymilk that makes the color more purple. Feel free to experiement and let me know if your drink turns out more purple. However, most comments I have read online claim that the soy milk is used more often.
**If you are not using a cocktail shaker, just add the ingredients to the serving glass and mix with the straw before the serving.
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Check out my other Starbucks copycat recipes- just click on any image for the recipe.