If you're a fan of Starbucks' Dragon Drink, you'll want to try this make-at-home copycat version! The iced drink takes the Mango Dragonfruit Refresher base and mixes it with coconut milk for a refreshing fruity magenta sipper.
- 🐲 What is the Dragon Drink?
- ❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- 🗒 Ingredients
- 🥣 How to make dragon fruit syrup
- 🥭 How to make Mango Dragonfruit base
- 🥥 How to make the Dragon Drink
- 🎉 Modifications
- 🐝 Does the Dragon Drink have caffeine?
- 💡 More ways to use base
- ⏲️ How to store
- 🍬 Can I use unsweetened coconut milk?
- ☕️ More Starbucks copycat fruity recipes
- 📖 Recipe
When it comes to pretty drinks at Starbucks, I'm pretty sure the Dragon Drink takes the prize. It has a magically magenta hue that is muted just a tiny bit by the white from the coconut milk.
But not only is it a gorgeously colored drink, it also tastes absolutely delicious. It's super fruity with some sweetness, tartness, and creaminess mixed in. Basically the best of all the worlds.
And I'm excited to be able to share with you my homemade copycat version of the Starbucks Dragon Drink! Once you learn to make the popular iced drink at home, you'll want to mix an ice cold refreshing drink every day!
🐲 What is the Dragon Drink?
Starbucks' Dragon Drink takes the Mango Dragonfruit Refresher base and mixes it with coconut milk instead of water. This is similar to how the Strawberry Acai Refresher is turned into the Pink Drink with coconut milk and the Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher is turned into the Paradise Drink.
Basically the bases for all of the Starbucks Refreshers can be turned into several other fabulous drinks!
I know strawberries work well with coconut and, of course, pineapple pairs fabulously with coconut. But I wasn't quite sure how mango and dragon fruit would pair with it. After enjoying this drink many times at Starbucks and recreating it at home, I realized that coconut might just pair well with everything! These flavors just work so well together.
Note that this drink does have caffeine in it thanks to the green coffee extract. But if you're making this at home, you can certainly leave it out and it shouldn't affect the taste at all.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
If you love the Dragon Drink, you'll be obsessed with this recipe! It tastes super similar to what you get at Starbucks. And trust me, I tested the Mango Dragonfruit base SO MANY different times to get it as close as possible.
It's easy to make at home... Though it does require a few special ingredients and some steps to get it tasting as authentic as possible, once the base is made, you can store it in your fridge and enjoy a drink any time.
Making Starbucks' Dragon Drink at home will help you save some money and will let you enjoy a pretty and refreshing drink whenever you want... Without leaving your house!
As I mentioned, you do need a few special ingredients to get the Mango Dragonfruit Refresher base as close to the original drink as possible. But once you have the ingredients, you can make quite a few Dragon Drinks with them.
I also share some modifications later in this post in case you don't want to purchase everything or you can't find some ingredients. Also, please be sure to view the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.
To make the Dragon Drink, you'll need:
- Dragon fruit powder and/or fresh dragonfruit OR dragon fruit syrup: You can make the syrup with either fresh dragon fruit or powdered dragon fruit or you can use both if you want to use fresh, but also have a pink syrup (syrup does not have to be pink since the freeze-dried dragon fruit pieces will turn your Refresher pink/purple). If you don't want to make your own syrup at all, you can purchase a bottle of dragon fruit syrup.
- Granulated sugar (if making your own syrup)
- Mango nectar (or mango puree or mango juice)
- Citric acid
- Green coffee bean extract powder (you can omit this if you don't want your Refresher to have caffeine in it)
- Freeze-dried dragonfruit pieces
- Sweetened coconut milk (the kind in the carton... I either use Silk Coconut Milk or SO Delicious Coconut Milk)
🥣 How to make dragon fruit syrup
The Refresher base is easy to make, but it starts with making a dragon fruit syrup. If you don't want to make your own syrup, you can buy a bottle of it and skip this step and go on to mixing the rest of the base ingredients. I haven't tried this drink with store-bought syrup, but it should work really well.
To make the homemade simple syrup, I use both fresh dragon fruit AND dragon fruit powder. That's because I can only find white flesh dragon fruit and I like to use a little powder to get the pink color for the syrup.
However, when you mix the syrup base with freeze-dried dragon fruit pieces, you'll achieve the color, too. So, you can certainly just use one or the other- bonus points if you can find pink dragon fruit!
If using fresh dragon fruit, put water, sugar, and diced dragon fruit in a medium-size saucepan and bring mixture to a boil.
Once boiling, lower heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until mixture has thickened a bit and dragon fruit is softening.
If you're using white flesh dragon fruit and want a pink syrup, stir in the dragon fruit powder at this time. Stir until powder is dissolved.
Strain mixture into a bowl, being sure to press down on the dragon fruit to extract as much juice as possible.
Keep syrup in bowl or pour into a mason jar and place in fridge to cool completely before using. Syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.
If you're going to make the syrup with JUST dragon fruit powder, you can just bring water and syrup to a boil and then let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir 2 tsp dragon fruit powder in and continue simmering for about 5 minutes, until powder is dissolved and syrup has thickened a bit.
🥭 How to make Mango Dragonfruit base
Now that you have your syrup, you're ready to whip up the base for the Dragon Drink. It's the same base you use for the Mango Dragonfruit Refresher, but once it's ready, you'll be mixing it with coconut milk instead of water.
To make it, combine ½ cup of the dragon fruit syrup with 1 ¼ cup water, ½ cup mango nectar, ¾ tsp citric acid, and ½ tsp green coffee extract powder (if using).
Shake or mix to combine and store in fridge until ready to use.
This Dragon Drink base should keep in your fridge for about a week and once it's made, you can enjoy a drink any time you feel like it. It will make about 4 grande drinks. See below on details!
🥥 How to make the Dragon Drink
Now the hard part is out of the way and it's time to mix up the rest of the Dragon Drink!
Just add ½ cup Refresher base and ½ cup coconut milk to an ice-filled cocktail shaker.
Remember, if you're using a clear syrup, your mixture will be clear right now.
Also add in ¼ cup freeze-dried dragon fruit pieces.
And shake everything up! Even if your syrup is clear, your drink will be a beautiful bright pink color now!
Pour the entire contents of the shaker into a glass. You can add more ice if you want and top it off with more freeze-dried dragon fruit pieces.
How fun is this drink?? It's absolutely stunning and tastes just like the Dragon Drink you get at Starbucks! I'm in serious love.
The the tropical flavor of the mango and dragon fruit pairs so wonderfully with the creamy coconut milk.
Of course, once you have the base made, you can do your own experimenting and make the perfect Dragon Drink to suit your tastes.
You can use more base if you want or you can use more coconut milk. You can even add more syrups or jazz it up in other ways! Some people like adding vanilla syrup, vanilla bean powder, cold foam, or sweet cream too.
If you make the drink as instructed by me, your base will get you 4 grande drinks.
I know that you might be thinking, "man, this drink has a lot of special ingredients in it that I don't really feel like purchasing." And trust me, I totally get it!
I've found that this ingredient combination makes the most authentic Dragon Drink, but there are also quite a few shortcuts you can take with more simple ingredients that won't change the flavor of the drink too drastically.
Here are a few ideas:
- Leave out the green coffee extract powder if you don't care about having caffeine in your Refresher. Right there is one product you don't need to buy.
- If you don't have citric acid, you can add about a tablespoon of lemon juice instead. I do love the extra little zing citric acid gives the drink, but lemon juice will have a similar effect and is a common household ingredient.
- I do highly recommend using the freeze-dried dragon fruit for both the beautiful pink color and the flavor, but if you don't have them, you can mix in a scoop of actual dragon fruit instead or just mix in some dragon fruit powder for a similar effect.
- Lots of Dragon Drink copycat recipes online call for white grape juice because Starbucks uses white grape juice concentrate in their mixture. I experimented with grape juice a lot for this drink and couldn't get the flavor balance right, but as an easy shortcut, you can use it instead of using dragon fruit syrup and water in the base. You can even try apple juice or another fruit juice if you prefer. The freeze-dried dragon fruit will add the color.
🐝 Does the Dragon Drink have caffeine?
Yes! A lot of people assume that the Refreshers and their associated drinks don't contain caffeine, but because of the green coffee bean extract, they do have a little bit.
A grande Dragon Drink has about 45 mg of caffeine. For reference, a grande coffee from Starbucks has around 260-360 mg of caffeine depending on the roast.
For this make-at-home version, you can leave the coffee extract out to omit the caffeine content.
💡 More ways to use base
Once you have the base to this drink, you can make several other Starbucks copycat drinks. Of course, in this post I show you how to mix the base with coconut milk for the Dragon Drink.
But you can also mix it with water for the Mango Dragonfruit Refresher.
And Starbucks also mixes the base with lemonade for a Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade, which is a bit sweeter than the other two drinks.
⏲️ How to store
As I mentioned, you can store the base for the drink in your fridge for about a week. Just be sure to keep it in an airtight container like a mason jar.
I recommend waiting until right before you're ready to enjoy a Dragon Drink to mix the base with coconut milk. If you mix it too soon, it may separate a bit and curdle a little thanks to the acids and dairy combining.
The dragon fruit simple syrup should keep in your fridge for about a month in an airtight container.
🍬 Can I use unsweetened coconut milk?
For this drink, I recommend using sweetened coconut milk to get it tasting as close to Starbucks' version as possible.
But if you can't find it or want less sugar in your drink, you'll certainly still have a tasty drink with unsweetened coconut milk!
☕️ More Starbucks copycat fruity recipes
Lots of people love going to Starbucks, but aren't fans of coffee. Luckily, they have drinks for every taste possible! Some of the yummiest drinks are the fruity ones. Though I have lots of coffee, cold brew, and Frappuccino based copycat recipes on my site that you can view here, I also have lots of fruity drinks from the Starbucks menu, including:
- Mango Dragonfruit Refresher
- Strawberry Acai Refresher
- Pink Drink
- Strawberry Acai Lemonade
- Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher
- Paradise Drink
- Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade
- Honey Citrus Mint Tea
- Shaken Watermelon and Passion
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Frappuccino
I hope this Dragon Drink copycat recipe helps you enjoy your favorite Starbucks drink at home! It really is the perfect refreshing drink for a hot day, but it's just as delicious any time of the year.
You could even make a big pitcher of it and serve it to friends for a girls' day or night.
I think it's the prettiest of all the Starbucks drinks (even prettier than the famous Pink Drink!) and one of the tastiest fruit-based drinks, too.
- ½ cup Mango Dragonfruit Base (recipe below)
- ½ cup sweetened coconut milk (the kind in the carton, like Silk or SO Delicious)
- ¼ cup freeze-dried dragon fruit pieces
Mango Dragonfruit Base
- ½ cup dragon fruit syrup (store-bought or recipe below)
- 1 ¼ cups water
- ¼ cup mango nectar (or puree)
- ¾ tsp citric acid
- ½ tsp green coffee extract powder, optional (you can omit if you don't want caffeine in your drink)
Dragon Fruit Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup chopped dragon fruit OR 2 tsp dragon fruit powder (you can use both if you want both if your fresh dragon fruit is white and you want the syrup to be pink)*
- Add about ½ cup mango dragonfruit base, ½ cup coconut milk, and ¼ cup freeze-dried dragon fruit pieces to an ice-filled shaker. Shake well to combine.
- Pour entire mixture (ice included) into glass. Top with additional dragon fruit pieces, if desired.
- Feel free to make alterations based on your sweetness preferences. Add more of the base for a sweeter drink and less for a less sweet drink.
Mango Dragonfruit Base
- Add dragon fruit syrup, water, mango nectar, citric acid, and green coffee bean powder (if using) to a large jar or container. Shake well to combine and refrigerate until ready to use.
Dragon Fruit Syrup
- If making syrup with fresh dragon fruit: Put water, sugar, and diced dragon fruit in a medium-size saucepan and bring mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, lower heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until mixture has thickened a bit and dragon fruit is softening.
- If you're using white flesh dragon fruit and want a pink syrup, stir in ½ tsp the dragon fruit powder at this time. Stir until powder is dissolved.
- Strain mixture into a bowl, being sure to press down on the dragon fruit to extract as much juice as possible.
- If making syrup with just dragon fruit powder: Put water and sugar in medium-size saucepan and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tsp dragon fruit powder and let simmer for another 5 minutes until powder is absorbed and syrup is pink. Store as directed above.
- The base recipe makes enough for about 4 full (grande) drinks if using ½ cup of base per drink.
- Dragon fruit syrup recipe makes enough for 2 batches of base, but also has lots of other uses. See this post for ideas.
- The base should keep in your fridge for about 1 week; the dragon fruit syrup should keep in your fridge for about a month.
- If you don't have citric acid, you can replace with 1 Tbsp lemon juice.
- Mix base with water for a Mango Dragonfruit Refresher or mix with lemonade for a sweeter, tart drink.
A grande size Dragon Drink purchased from Starbucks has about 23 grams of sugar.
The cost of Starbucks menu items will vary a bit depending on where you're located. Where I live, a Venti Dragon Drink costs $5.65 in 2023.
There are 45 mg of caffeine in a grande Dragon Drink.
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