Starbucks, the originator of the ridiculous holiday coffee drink, is fully embracing the Halloween spirit with the launch of a new concoction called the Zombie Frappuccino. Like its Instagram-friendly predecessor the Unicorn Frapp — which Anthony Bourdain called “the perfect nexus of awfulness” — this one is comprised of an aggressively colorful array of ingredients, and it’s available for a limited time only: today, October 26, through Halloween, while supplies last.
News of the beverage’s imminent arrival started to surface last week, when photos of what appeared to be ads and instructions for how to make the drink started appearing on Twitter. As the early reports indicated, the drink consists of a Frappuccino crème base cut with tart apple and caramel powders. The topping is whipped cream mixed with red mocha drizzle.
The idea here is that the base looks like green monster flesh and the garnish resembles brains — which is really not what zombies look like, at all. Anyone who’s seen a George Romero movie or even Michael Jackson’s Thriller video knows that zombies generally have blueish-gray skin (or rust-colored skin if we’re talking about the Walking Dead creatures) and they eat brains. If anything, the Zombie Frapp resembles Frankenstein’s monster with a hole missing from its head. Still spooky, but it doesn’t totally synch up with the name. Unlike the Unicorn Frapp, the special ingredients did not arrive at Starbucks locations in advance of the release, so it was impossible to order one of these bad boys before today.
Will the Zombie Frapp cause barista meltdowns, like its mythical creature-themed cousin did last spring? Only time will tell. But for now, here’s how the drink ranks on Eater’s recently-launched Ridiculous Novelty Beverage Scale:
+ 6 points for being a bit gross. Hopefully, kids everywhere will walk around the mall slurping on their cup o’ brains, like some zombie-themed YA novel/movie.
+ 3 points for mimicking the flavor of candy apples, an autumnal holiday treat straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting replica hanging in a dentist’s office.
+ 4 points for the dorky promotional photo that Starbucks provided above. Is that a... witch? A goblin? A ghoul? A mummy? Reaching out from the mist of a Prince tribute concert for some refreshment?
+ 1.5 points for adhering to a very Nickelodeon color scheme — those ’90s kids will determine the fate of this drink, after all.
- 2 points for not including any sort of coffee or tea. Holiday drinks are always better when they have some traces of a caffeinated beverage. Really, this is just a drinkable dessert.
- 3.6 points for the aforementioned muddling of monster tropes. This should maybe be called the Frappkenstein’s Monster.
- 1 point for not working matcha into the mix. Seems like a missed opportunity, especially with that green base.
- 2 points for somehow not living up to the high standard of gory excellence set by the Zombie Frapp’s UK-only siblings, Mr. and Mrs Vampire Frappuccino.
Official Eater Ridiculous Novelty Beverage rating: 5.9
If you have any thoughts on how this drink fares compared to the Unicorn Frapp or any other Starbucks holiday beverages, please share them in the comments of this post.