REVIEW: Starbucks Spicy Lemonade Refreshers

Starbucks has recently been easing us into Spring with the calming powers of lavender drinks. But just as you were about to doze off due to the floral scent or the mediocrity, the Siren is here to shake you and your taste buds awake with a line of Spicy Lemonade Refreshers. Available in Pineapple, Dragonfruit, or Strawberry, these drinks combine Refreshers bases with lemonade, ice, a three-pepper chili powder blend, and freeze-dried fruit pieces.

I wanted to try the Pineapple and Dragonfruit varieties, but because the Starbucks nearest me was out of dragonfruit, I went to the next closest location. After watching the barista climb a stepladder and root around in a cabinet for a while, I eventually received two almost identical, predominantly purple drinks. It was clear something was a little off, but the taste test revealed that they were different beverages despite the visual similarity.

The Spicy Pineapple features a pineapple-passionfruit base to which lemonade, chili powder, and fruit chunks are added. The fruit should have been pineapple, but mine came with dragonfruit instead. This didn’t fundamentally alter the flavor so much as the hue, with the overall taste being pineapple-forward. These drink more like juice than lemonade, probably because the Refreshers bases are made with white grape juice concentrate. The lemonade takes a backseat and the chili powder is immediately noticeable, with a tingle in the back of the throat that builds to an all over heat that’s pleasantly spicy without being cough-inducing. There’s a tropical vacation vibe, and the spicy-fruity marriage is refreshing and summery. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys a Tajin rim on a cocktail or a few slices of jalapeño in their lemonade, you’ll be happy with this icy blend of sweet and heat.

Spicy Dragonfruit starts with a mango-dragonfruit blend, and again, the juice base overshadows the lemonade, but that’s in no way a complaint because these are delicious. The mango and dragonfruit flavors play well together, and the chili blend (which features sugar, paprika, salt, ancho chili powder, cayenne, chili powder, and a few other things) complements them both. The freeze-dried fruit pieces are mostly too large to escape the drink’s lid, but if you remove it and eat them, they’re almost shockingly crunchy. They don’t taste bad, but it was a texture I wasn’t expecting, and it left me feeling like that classic TV gag where someone mistakes potpourri for a snack. I’m not sure they’re supposed to be this way, but that isn’t stopping me from eating them.

I assumed these would just be gimmicky and that spice isn’t something I need from Starbucks, but I’m happy to report that I was wrong. It’s a shame they’re only here for a limited time because they’d be excellent sipping for summer days. It’s worth noting that I got the Pineapple version again from a second location that was also out of pineapple pieces, so supplies here might be very limited – get ‘em while they’re hot!

Purchased Price: $5.75 each
Size: Grande
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Spicy Pineapple), 9 out of 10 (Spicy Dragonfruit)
Nutrition Facts: (Spicy Pineapple 200 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of total carbs, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 41 grams of total sugar, 1 gram of protein, and 55 milligrams of caffeine. Spicy Dragonfruit – 200 calories, 0.5 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of total carbs, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 42 grams of total sugar, 1 gram of protein, and 50 milligrams of caffeine.

3 thoughts to “REVIEW: Starbucks Spicy Lemonade Refreshers”

  1. I’ve only tried the pineapple – at my barista’s recommendation – but it was delicious! More spicy than I expected…would make a fabulous margarita!

  2. I was a bit concerned about whether or not I’d like it, but I LOOOOVE IT!!! It has become my all time FAVORITE Starbucks Summer drink. I hope they never take it off the menu. 5 STARS!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.