When you’re ordering a drink at Starbucks you can feel spoiled for choice as there are a variety of delicious iced beverages that cool you down on a hot day.
Featuring fruity mango, tropical dragon fruit, and creamy coconut milk, the Instagram-famous Starbucks Dragon Drink is a viral sensation. However, if you don’t have a Starbucks local to you or are trying to cut down on how much you are spending, you might be curious to know how to make this pink drink yourself.
In this article, I give you a step-by-step guide on how to make the Starbucks Dragon Drink from the comfort of your own home.
Keep reading to find out more.
What is the Dragon Drink?
The Starbucks Dragon Drink is a delicious iced drink made with the Mango Dragonfruit Refresher with the addition of coconut milk. According to Starbucks, this drink is a ‘tropical-inspired pick-me-up - crafted with a refreshing combination of sweet mango and dragon fruit flavors - is hand shaken with creamy coconut milk, ice, and a scoop of real diced dragon fruit.’
The base of the Dragon Drink is the Mango Dragonfruit Refresher. That being said, there are three different variations of this drink that you can order at Starbucks depending on your mood and what you’re craving that day. The regular Mango Dragonfruit Refresher is made with water, the Dragon Drink is made with coconut milk, and the Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade is made with lemonade.
Ingredients that you’ll need to make the Dragon Drink
Dragon fruit powder
Dragon fruit may look exotic, but its flavors are similar to other fruits. Its taste has been described as a slightly sweet cross between a kiwi and a pear. Dragon fruit gives this drink a beautiful pink color while adding a deliciously sweet and tropical flavor.
You can get your hands on freeze-dried dragon fruit powder here at Amazon: Pitaya Plus, Organic Freeze Dried Red Dragon Fruit Powder, USDA and Oregon Tilth Certified Organic
Mango juice is readily available at the grocery store or you could even make your own for the purpose of this recipe. However, you should be aware that fruit juices often contain a lot of added sugars as well as natural sugars, so you should be wary of the quality of the juice that you buy or make it yourself so that you know no extra sugar has been added.
That being said, if you make your own, make sure that you remove the mango pulp before adding it to the drink. If you don’t, you’ll end up with bits of pulp altering the smoothness of your dragon drink and the texture will be wrong!
Adding coconut milk provides this drink with a creamy richness while also marrying with the other tropical fruit flavors.
That being said, a coconut milk drink is better to use as opposed to the canned coconut milk that contains lumps that will alter the texture of your Dragon Drink. Alternatively, if you are in a bind, you could use the canned coconut milk and make sure that you blend it in a blender beforehand to ensure that it is a smooth consistency. However, this is an additional step that seems unnecessary if you can easily access a coconut milk drink.
While both sweetened and unsweetened coconut milk work for this recipe, if the recipe isn’t sweet enough, you can adjust the amount of sugar syrup accordingly. Make sure that you do this gradually, though, as you can’t take away the sweetness once it has been added to the drink.
White grape juice
White grape juice adds another subtle layer to the flavor profile of this drink while also adding another touch of sweetness. If you don’t have white grape juice, you can use another fruit juice such as apple, just make sure that you avoid dark color juice as it will alter the color of your Dragon Drink. For instance, standard grape juice would not be suitable for this recipe.
Simple syrup (optional)
You can make your drink as sweet as you like with the addition of your simple syrup. Simple syrup is used to sweeten a variety of different drinks, notably a range of cocktails. So, how do you make simple syrup? The clue is in the name! If you can boil water, you can make your own simple syrup with ease.
How to make simple syrup
- ½ cup of granulated sugar.
- ½ cup of water.
- Start by adding the sugar and water to a small saucepan over a medium heat, making sure that you stir the mixture constantly.
- Stir the mixture until all of the sugar has dissolved.
- Next, let the mixture cool, then pour into a jar and seal tightly with a lid.
- Store in the refrigerator. Simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for about one month and is perfect for sweetening your Dragon Drink recipe!
For a healthier alternative, you can use stevia as a substitute for sugar or sugar syrup. That being said, if you’re using sweetened coconut milk then you probably won’t need to sweeten your drink further.
Diced dragon fruit (optional)
Freshly diced or freeze-dried dragon fruit pieces provide your Dragon Drink with a tropical look. That being said, this is a serving suggestion and is optional as it is not always the easiest ingredient to source.
Green coffee extract (optional)
Green coffee extract is an additional ingredient that you can add to your Dragon Drink for a boost of caffeine. If you use the coffee bean pills, you’ll need to open them up and use the powder from the capsules. Alternatively, you can use green tea as an alternative, or leave out this ingredient and it won’t affect the flavor.
Buy green coffee extract at Amazon here: Pure Green Coffee Bean Extract
Guide on how to make the Starbucks Dragon Drink at home
- 1 teaspoon freeze-dried dragon fruit powder.
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- ½ cup of mango juice.
- ¼ cup of white grape juice.
- Ice cubes.
- 1 scoop of diced dragon fruit.
- ½ teaspoon of green coffee extract (for a boost of caffeine).
- Simply syrup to taste.
- To begin, you’ll need to whisk together the dragon fruit powder, the green coffee extract (optional), and the white grape juice. Make sure to mix until the powder has fully dissolved, this might require a few minutes. Set aside for now.
- Next, you’re going to need to add ice cubes to a cocktail shaker, then pour in the mango juice. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, any mason jar or sturdy plastic container with a secure lid will work just as well for this step.
- Add the dragon fruit and grape juice mixture.
- Next, pour the coconut milk into the shaker.
- Once all of the ingredients are in the shaker, secure the lid carefully. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on each piece) and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds.
- Fill a glass halfway with more ice and dragon fruit pieces. Next, you’re going to want to strain the mixture into the glass. Add the optional simple syrup or sugar to taste, and garnish with more diced dragon fruit.
- Serve and enjoy!
Tips for making the Starbucks Dragon Drink at home
- It’s always best to add the sweetener of your choice gradually. You can always add more if you need to, but you can’t take it away once you’ve added too much. For a healthier alternative to sugar or sugar syrup, you can use stevia!
- The color of your drink depends on the ratio of the dragon fruit powder and coconut milk. If you add more coconut milk, your drink will be a light pink color.
- If you don’t like the tiny black and white particles in the drink, you can try straining the mixture through a cheesecloth or a coffee filter before adding the mixture to the cocktail shaker. This will ensure that any bits are left out of the drink.
- If you use the green coffee bean capsules, you’ll need to pop them open and use the powder from the capsules. However, if you have a caffeine sensitivity or just prefer a drink without caffeine, then you can leave the green coffee bean capsules out of this recipe.
How to order the Dragon Drink at Starbucks
There are lots of drink variations that people try at Starbucks, and some have longer ingredients and instructions than others. That being said, as the dragon drink is on Starbucks’ official menu, you don’t need to ask your barista for anything out of the ordinary. Simply just order a ‘Dragon Drink’ and they’ll know what you're asking for.
Alternatively, you can simply order a Mango Dragonfruit Refresher made with coconut milk instead of water or lemonade, served over ice with a scoop of diced dragon fruit.
What does the Starbucks Dragon Drink taste like?
The Starbucks Dragon Drink is a creamy, sweet, and very refreshing drink. With the Mango Dragon Fruit Refreshers base, this iced drink features flavors of mango, dragon fruit, and creamy coconut milk that combine to form a tropical drink. With fruity flavors that are perfect for quenching your thirst, the Dragon Drink is the perfect summer beverage.
In comparison to the regular Mango Dragon Fruit Refresher, it has an added silkiness thanks to the coconut milk and generally tastes sweeter.
How much is a Dragon Drink at Starbucks?
The drink costs $3.25 to $4.95, depending on size. That being said, if you’re finding yourself buying this drink on a regular basis, it is much more cost-efficient to learn how to make it from the comfort of your own home!
Not only do you decide how many ingredients you add to it, but you can measure the amounts exactly and opt for healthier options, which is great if you are on a stricter diet.
Is the Starbucks Dragon Drink healthy?
There are many health benefits associated with dragon fruit. Namely, dragon fruit contains several types of antioxidants and is high in fiber.
Additionally, dragon fruit contains prebiotic fiber that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut and potentially improves metabolic health.
That being said, just because the Starbucks Dragon Drink contains dragon fruit, doesn’t mean that it is the healthiest beverage out there. Fruit juices are often packed full of sugar, and it is worth noting that the more you customize your drink with additives at Starbucks, the more you alter the nutritional value of your Dragon Drink.
This is another benefit of making your drink at home because you can gauge a better idea of how healthy your Dragon Drink is as it will largely depend on what you add to your drink. For instance, your drink is likely to be worse for you if you add sugar syrup to your drink on top of fruit juices packed with sugar and if you use sweetened coconut milk.
The great thing about making your own drink at home is that you can know exactly what is going into your drink to make sure that it is as healthy as possible. If you are concerned about making your Dragon Drink copycat recipe a healthier one, then you’ll need to make a few adjustments to the recipe in accordance with that. For instance, you could use stevia instead of sugar to sweeten your drink, and you could opt for unsweetened coconut milk.
Another thing to note is the sugar in the fruit juices that you buy. Fruit juice is naturally high in sugar, but you should be wary of juices that contain a lot of sugar. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, especially when you’re using white grape and mango juice, but it might just mean that you minimize the amount of juice you use if you are anxious about the sugar content.
That being said, life is all about balance and it isn’t the worst thing in the world to have a treat now and then.