Skip the coffee shop and try this homemade pink drink recipe instead. This ultra-hydrating beverage is as easy and delicious as it is beautiful to look at! My homemade version is low in sugar and made with fresh fruit.
Don’t tell anyone but…. this is a copycat of the Starbucks pink drink that you can order off of the Starbucks secret menu, if you’re the kind of person who does things like walk into Starbucks and order off of the secret menu instead of being a bashful rule-follower who orders off of the official menu.
(Wait. Am I allowed to say Starbucks here, or will the trademark police come scoop me up, tall, refreshing pink drink still in hand?)
I normally avoid the secret menu like the plague
Anyway, I most certainly was (ok, am) not the kind of person who ordered off of the secret menu – or the type of person who orders Starbucks drinks at all – until I heard about this drink.
In fact, the secret menu is – in my mind, anyway – infamous for being stocked with super high sugar and high-empty-calorie drinks that don’t appeal to me at all.
And the whole concept of the secret menu is kind of irritating, anyway. If you make drinks, just list them on the menu, thankyouverymuch. I mean, why would you want to discourage people from ordering a menu item by not making it easy to order?
What is the pink drink (and why was it worth ordering)?
This drink was appealing enough to put aside my disdain for the secret menu in general, and it wasn’t because of the (admittedly tempting) vibrant color.
Actually, in certain circles (namely the places in which moms congregate on social media), this drink has a bit of lore behind it. One very specific circle, in fact, of nursing moms who are constantly worried about their supply – and who, via Facebook groups devoted solely to these sorts of things – pass along anecdotes of the super hydrating Starbucks pink drink that supposedly boosted their supply like crazy.
Yeah, I’m talking about breastmilk. Any moms who are or have nursed totally know what I’m talking about and are likely nodding their heads vigorously at the screen right now. The rest of you are probably super skeeved out right now, and for that, I’m sorry.
Anyway… the pink drink is a strawberry and hibiscus flavored cold drink made from mixing heavily-sweetened hibiscus tea with dried strawberries and coconut milk to make it a beautiful opaque pale pink color. It is fruity and refreshing, but the original version is way too sweet (imagine cough syrup mixed with a melted pink starburst – yeah, it was too sweet).
Pink drink = mega hydration
But despite disliking the taste of the drink, I loved the hydration. Tea, ice, coconut milk – it all made me feel great.
In this season of bone dry outside air and whatever-is-dryer-than-bone overheated indoor air, I don’t know about you, but I need all the hydration I can get.
So I recreated it at home. As you may have expected, this homemade pink drink is a heavily edited version of the original, leaving out most of the sugar and relying on fresh fruit and for a hint of sweetness. You can also add a bit of honey (or agave, if you want to keep it vegan), if you want.
The result is a vibrant glass of not-too-sweet, refreshing and mega-hydrating deliciousness. And, yes, I hate when people use the word deliciousness as a noun (or, really, anything) too – but this time it is worth it. Try a homemade pink drink; you’ll see!
- What kind of tea should I use? I used Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea, but you can also use Tazo Passion Tea for this drink. You can use any hibiscus tea you prefer, but I recommend one of these two, if you can find them.
- What if I can’t find hibiscus tea? Any berry tea – strawberry or raspberry – will work.
- Can I make this caffeinated? Probably, but that’s not really its intent. If you’d like this drink to give you a little caffeine boost, you may be able to find hibiscus green tea, or you can brew your tea with both a hibiscus tea bag and a green tea bag, if you can’t find that flavor of green tea.
- How can I lighten up this drink? Simply used boxed coconut or almond milk in place of the full fat canned coconut milk. But, if you’re nursing, remember that you need plenty of calories to keep up your supply! Using light canned unsweetened coconut milk would be a better compromise.
- Strawberries: Fresh or dried? The Starbucks version of this drink uses freeze-dried strawberries, which I think really leaves something to be desired. I use sliced strawberries (fresh, that is), because they’re prettier in the drink, and more fun to eat when you’re done with the drink. No one wants to eat soggy freeze-dried strawberries!
- Can I make this ahead? I don’t recommend making the drink ahead of time, because it separates quickly (which doesn’t affect the flavor of the drink). But you can brew the tea ahead of time; in fact, it’s better if you do brew it ahead. For best results, steep the tea bags in boiling water until very strong, then chill the tea either to room temperature, or in the fridge, before using it in the recipe. You can make the tea up to a few days in advance.
- Mine looks more like purple drink. What happened? You probably brewed your tea for too long. It takes on a red-blue color, which is then diluted into a lavender color when you mix up the drink. It won’t affect the taste, so don’t worry about it too much.
- How do I make this allergy friendly or keto? This drink is already gluten free, paleo, and dairy free. To make it vegan, replace the honey with agave or maple syrup . To make this low carb or keto, replace the honey with a few drops of liquid stevia, to taste.
- 1/4 cup coconut water
- 1/2 cup hibiscus tea, (brewed strong)
- 1/3 cup coconut milk , (from a can) mixed well
- 1-2 Tablespoons honey, (or agave if vegan, optional)
- 1/3 cup fresh strawberries,, hulled and sliced, plus more for finishing
- Add ice to two glasses. Set aside.
- Add the coconut water, tea, coconut milk, and honey to the jar of a blender, and blend for a few moments to combine.
- Add the strawberries, and blend for just a second (if you want them to remain chunky in the drink, like the original), or several seconds (if you want them to be pureed, more like a milkshake or smoothie) until you get the consistency you prefer.
- Divide the drink between the two prepared glasses. Garnish with additional strawberry slices, and enjoy!
- You can use whatever hibiscus tea you prefer. I like Cup & Leaf's Egyptian hibiscus petal tea. The quality is amazing. If you want to grab someting from the grocery store or Amazon, try Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea or Tazo Passion Tea.
- You can use full fat or light coconut milk for this. Just make sure it is mixed well before measuring.
- You can see from the pictures that this drink quickly separates and starts to look a little... funny? Don't worry, the flavor and mouthfeel are not affected. It just stops looking smooth almost immediately after blending. Since it's just tea and coconut products, I'm not sure what causes this!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Saturated Fat: 7gSodium: 37mgCarbohydrates: 12gSugar: 10gProtein: 1g