It may not have been the best-tasting drink, and it certainly wasn't a favorite of the exasperated baristas who had to actually make it, but Starbucks' colorful unicorn Unicorn Frappuccino was still a massive success — especially on social media. According to Business Insider, the Frappuccino generated an estimated 180,000 Instagram posts in only a week, and it dominated the headlines, too. But if you missed out on nabbing one, the bad news is that you're officially out of luck: the limited-edition drink ended on April 23. Will the Unicorn Frappuccino be back? Starbucks hasn't yet indicated whether their sugar-laden concoction will be making a return to stores, but if it does, it'll probably be safe to expect another total internet freak out.
The highly-anticipated pink and blue frap officially became available on April 19, and had a description as magical as the mythical creature that inspired it. Starbucks called the drink a "flavor-changing, color-changing, totally not-made-up Unicorn Frappuccino," that starts off "sweet and fruity" and then turns "pleasantly sour." For good measure, the Unicorn Frappuccino was topped off with whipped cream and a dusting of "pink and blue fairy powder," making it quite possibly the most intriguing, Instagrammable drink in all of the land.
But the Unicorn Frappuccino was never meant to live forever — an official Starbucks news release stated that the drink would only be available from April 19-23, while supplies last in participating stores in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. But it seems as though the coffee giant underestimated the frenzy that its new offering would cause: according to AL.com, Starbucks announced on Twitter only two days into the promotion that most stores had already run out of Unicorn Frappuccino ingredients.
Unsurprisingly, customers weren't pleased. Many people took to social media to complain about their inability to track down a Unicorn Frappuccino, criticizing Starbucks for not re-stocking before the end of the promotion.
On the other hand, the news was much more well-received among actual Starbucks employees, many of whom expressed their relief over no longer having to make the complicated drink all day, every day.
While many hoped that Starbucks would respond to the demand by bringing back the drink, the company said instead that the Unicorn Frappuccino was one of a number of limited-time Frappuccinos offered throughout the year to "celebrate the flavors of the season," and the return of other seasonal offerings, like the Pumpkin Spice Latte or the company's winter holiday-themed drinks are always a big draw. Will the Unicorn Frappuccino return next year as a limited-edition springtime drink? It's hard to say, but given the response to its introduction, it seems like it could totally happen.
Although many people went wild for the Unicorn Frappuccino, not everyone agreed that it was so great. One major criticism? The incredibly high sugar content. A 16-ounce grande Unicorn Frappuccino contained 59 grams of sugar — more sugar than you'd find in a 16-ounce regular Slurpee from 7-Eleven (36 grams of sugar), a 12-ounce can of Coke (39 grams of sugar), or a 1.5 ounce Hershey milk chocolate bar (24 grams of sugar), according to Live Science.
But despite the mix of colors and flavors and whip cream and fairy dust, it turns out that the Unicorn Frappuccino wasn't even Starbucks' most sugary offering. According to Live Science, a grande Caffè Vanilla Frappuccino actually contains a whopping 69 grams of sugar, while a grande-sized Caramel Frappuccino, Java Chip Frappuccino and Cotton Candy Crème Frappuccino contain slightly less (yet still more than the Unicorn) at 66 grams of sugar each.
In any case, laying off the Unicorn Frappuccinos is still probably fantastic news for your pancreas, because, really, who needs to be drinking those things for more than a week anyway? And hey, if you're still longing for the days when Unicorn Frappuccinos were a real-life possibility, at least the drink will always live on forever on Instagram and Twitter.