Starbucks' Frozen Lemonade Drinks Just Make Sense

Three new summer Starbucks Refreshers have hit the menu in 2023—and they're here to stay.

While some people swear by it, not everyone's on board with iced coffee in the summertime. That's why Starbucks has always presented customers with a range of ice-cold drinks, so as not to be counted out on the hottest days. With its newest line of Frozen Lemonade Starbucks Refreshers, the brand is clearly hoping to make a good thing even better.

Starbucks has added three new Frozen Lemonade drinks to the Starbucks Refreshers menu: Frozen Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade, Frozen Strawberry Acai Lemonade, and Frozen Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade. All three blended drinks, which will be permanent additions to the menu, are inspired by the existing Refreshers but feature slight variations, the main ones being the use of a strawberry puree and the blended ice (rather than a liquid drink poured over ice cubes).

"Since Starbucks Refreshers Beverages joined the menu in 2012, our customers and partners (baristas) have creatively customized their beverages, such as adding coconutmilk, lemonade or blending with ice," Matt Thornton, senior beverage developer at Starbucks, said in a press release, explaining that the new items were "inspired by these customer and partner creations."

Let's find out how the Starbucks equivalent of a Slurpee tastes.

Frozen Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade Starbucks Refresher

Each of these new frozen beverages should be judged on not only flavor, but whether or not the drink differentiates itself from its non-blended counterpart. I'm not a regular drinker of the Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher from Starbucks (with or without lemonade), but what I can say about this latest version is that it delivers on pineapple flavor.

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Per Starbucks' description, this drink contains "tropical flavors of pineapple and passionfruit blended with real diced pineapple and lemonade." The diced pineapple pieces must have been blended up, because they are not visibly or texturally present in the drink. And if you're ordering these Refreshers for their Instagram-worthy aesthetic, you should know they do not appear as swirled and perfect as the advertising images appear; each was served separated into a frozen and non-frozen layer.

The Frozen Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade is sweet and tart, with the blended ice bits creating a smoothie-esque drinking experience. Ordering a tall rather than a grande is best; the drink is so sweet it may take a while to get through a grande, or you may just need to allow the ice to melt a bit and water it down.

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Frozen Strawberry Açai Lemonade Starbucks Refresher

The Strawberry Acai Starbucks Refresher, whether it's made with water or lemonade, is one of my go-to orders, and this is especially true during the summer. Therefore, the blended version had a lot to live up to. Why would I want to pay more for something that's already great as it is?

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Yes, I said "pay more": All three frozen drinks sell for $5.95 for a grande at the nearest Starbucks in downtown Chicago, but the unblended version with lemonade sells for $5.45. Unfortunately, the drink was good but failed to live up to its $0.50 upcharge. Starbucks describes it as "reminiscent of a classic strawberry lemonade, with an icy twist." But because it's a simple riff on a simple drink, it's hard to justify paying almost more than $6 after tax for a beverage whose greatest enhancement is frozen water.

Frozen Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade Starbucks Refresher

Of the three (somewhat overpriced) drinks, the Frozen Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade is the most visually pleasing but also the most disappointing, in that it has no personality beyond its bright color. The "real pieces of dragonfruit" and "sweet mango" flavor are practically indistinguishable here.

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The flavor is primarily sweet lemonade, which, though enjoyable, just isn't worth the price or the hype. The most unique aspect of this frozen beverage is its color. The other two, Frozen Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade and Frozen Strawberry Acai Lemonade, look practically identical to each other, but the Mango Dragonfruit's purple and pink hues make it stand out; you might be led to believe that it has the most unique flavor of the three. It doesn't.

With these three frozen lemonade drinks, Starbucks has managed to welcome a new summer season without straying very far from what it knows. Could the brand have gone more outside the box instead of tacking on a price increase for blended ice? Yes. Are the drinks enjoyable? Also yes. These summer menu additions might not be revolutionary, but they get the job done.

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