In this copycat recipe for Starbucks Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade, the sweet mango dragonfruit base combines with tart lemonade for the most refreshing summery drink in the most beautiful magenta hue!
- ❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- 🐉 What's in a Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade?
- 🗒 Ingredients
- 👩🍳 How to make dragon fruit syrup
- 🥭 How to make mango dragonfruit base
- 🍋How to make Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade
- 💡 Modifications
- ⚡️ How much caffeine is in this drink?
- ⏲️ How to store base
- 🎉 More ways to use base
- 🥤 More Starbucks copycat fruity drinks
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
I'm here for all things dragon fruit related lately. Especially dragon fruit drinks. I absolutely loved making a copycat version of Starbucks' Mango Dragonfruit Refresher and their Dragon Drink. And now I'm here with the Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade!
If you've made the Refresher or the Dragon Drink before, this one will be really easy for you. It uses the same base, but is then mixed with lemonade instead of water (like the Refresher) or creamy coconut milk (like the Dragon Drink).
It's a little bit sweeter than the other two drinks, a little bit more tart, and a little bit more summery.
Plus, it's got that same gorgeous purple-y magenta hue that is pretty irresistible, whether for the Insta or just so you feel like you're sipping in style.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
If you love ordering the Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade at Starbucks, you will definitely love this copycat homemade version!
You will need a few special ingredients to make it exactly like I did (and trust me, I tested this drink A LOT to get it as close to the original as possible), but once you have them, you can make this refreshing summer drink many, many times!
It's also easy to customize to your tastes and lifestyle and I offer lots of tips below.
🐉 What's in a Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade?
Starbucks describes this drink as a "tropical-inspired pick-me-up—crafted with a clever combination of vibrant lemonade, sweet mango and refreshing dragonfruit flavors and hand-shaken with ice plus a scoop of real diced dragonfruit.
Sounds easy enough, right? The lemonade and diced freeze-dried dragon fruit are no-brainers, but how do we get those sweet mango and refreshing dragon fruit flavors?
They are a part of the base recipe I originally created for the Refresher. Starbucks says the base is water, sugars (from sugar and white grape juice concentrate), natural flavors, citric acid, natural green coffee flavor, and rebaudiside-A (basically a form of Stevia).
I tried to create it with white grape juice, but just didn't think it tasted right, so instead, I used a dragon fruit syrup, along with mango puree. I also added some citric acid in for a little tartness.
And that combination ultimately tasted much more like I thought the base for the Mango Dragonfruit drinks should taste.
This Starbucks copycat simply consists of the base mixed with lemonade and freeze-dried dragon fruit pieces.
You will need to purchase a few speciality ingredients to get this drink as close to the original as possible, but once you have them, you can make lots of drinks with them!
Here's everything you need (be sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full recipe directions):
- 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 with white dragon fruit, 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: You can substitute with lemon juice if you don't have 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 dragon fruit pieces
- Lemonade: I like to use Simply or Newman's Own. You can also feel free to make your own lemonade.
👩🍳 How to make dragon fruit syrup
As I mentioned, I make my own dragon fruit syrup for the base of the drink, but you can simply purchase a bottle of syrup if you prefer.
If you're planning to make your own, it's easy (especially if you've made simple syrup before!) and I have a full post dedicated to it.
Since I can only find white flesh dragon fruit where I live, I like to make my syrup with both fresh and powdered dragon fruit to turn it pink. But it's also OK if the syrup isn't pink since the freeze-dried dragon fruit will turn your Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade that bright pink color.
If you can't find fresh at all, you can make the syrup with just powdered!
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 making the syrup with JUST dragon fruit powder, you can simply bring water and syrup to a boil and then let 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 made or obtained your dragon fruit syrup and other ingredients, you're ready to mix up the base! It's quite simple.
Just add dragon fruit syrup (½ cup), water (1 ¼ cups), mango nectar (½ cup), citric acid (¾ tsp), and green coffee bean powder (½ tsp, but optional) to a large jar or container. Shake well to combine and refrigerate until ready to use.
I recommend making a batch of this and just keeping it in your fridge. When you're ready for a Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade, it's so easy to mix one up and have your drink ready in just minutes!
🍋How to make Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade
When you're ready for a beautifully refreshing drink, add ½ cup base, ½ cup lemonade, and ¼ cup freeze-dried dragon fruit to an ice-filled shaker.
And shake until well-combined.
See how fast that color changes into a glorious purple-y magenta? I love it so much and know lots of people first order the Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade and Refresher because of that!
Pour the entire contents of the shaker into a glass (ice and all).
I like to garnish the drink with more dragon fruit pieces and a lemon wedge.
And take a nice big sip of this perfect summer drink. I love the tropical fruit flavor and yummy sweetness mixed with tartness. I think this lemonade version is my favorite of all the mango dragonfruit drinks at Starbucks.
I know a lot of times when people look for Starbucks copycat recipes, they're looking for super quick and easy fixes with simple ingredients. My Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade recipe is a bit more complicated than others on the Internet, but that's because I wanted it to be as close to the original for you as possible!
That said, if you want a couple easy shortcuts, I'm happy to offer you a few:
- Of course, the biggest tip is to purchase your dragon fruit syrup instead of making your own. This will save you a lot of time.
- A lot of people nix dragon fruit syrup base all together and make the drink with white grape juice instead. Starbucks does use white grape juice concentrate in their mixture and the freeze-fried dragon fruit will add color and dragon fruit flavor. I personally found the grape flavor to be a little too strong when I made it this way, but it definitely works as a substitute!
- Leave out the green coffee extract powder if you don't care about having caffeine in your Refresher.
- If you don't have citric acid, you can add about a tablespoon lemon juice instead to make the lemonade drink even punchier. I think the citric acid adds a more powerful tartness than lemon alone, but it's not completely necessary.
- I highly recommend using freeze-dried dragon fruit for both the color and the flavor, but if you don't have any, you can mix in fresh dragon fruit instead or just mix in some dragon fruit powder.
⚡️ How much caffeine is in this drink?
A lot of people mistakenly believe there isn't any caffeine in Starbucks Refreshers. In fact, lots of people think they're actually tea-based drinks! But as you can see that's not true.
If you order a Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade at Starbucks, it will have some caffeine in it- about 45 mg in a grande (compared to a grande black iced coffee with 165 mg).
But if you make the iced drink at home, you can omit the caffeine by leaving the green coffee bean extract out of the base.
⏲️ How to store base
I recommend storing the base for this drink in a large mason jar in your fridge. When stored properly, it should last about a week.
I like making the base ahead of time and then being able to whip up a Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade whenever I want at just a moment's notice.
You should also note that the base recipe can easily be doubled; just make sure you have a large enough car or container to keep it in. I recommend these 4 cup mason jars.
🎉 More ways to use base
Once you've made that homemade mango dragonfruit base, you can make several Starbucks copycat drinks!
To start, you can make the original Mango Dragonfruit Refresher. Instead of combining the base with lemonade, mix it with water. This makes for a bit of a lighter, refreshing drink without as much tartness.
You can also make their yummy Dragon Drink by mixing the base with sweetened coconut milk instead of water. This is a deliciously sweet and creamy drink idea, similar to the pink drink but with more of a purple color.
Those are Starbucks' official drinks, but their fans have made many of their own creations with the base, too. Some like to add iced passionfruit tea to the lemonade drink. And some choose peach juice, raspberry syrup, or vanilla sweet cream cold foam.
You can also blend the drink to give it a bit more of a slushy consistency.
🥤 More Starbucks copycat fruity drinks
If you're as big of a fan of Starbucks as I am, be sure to check out my full list of copycat recipes. I love making their cold brews, lattes, macchiatos, iced espressos, teas, and more. But I've also made copycat versions of lots of their fruity drinks, including all of their Refresher drinks. Here are some of my favorites:
- Mango Dragonfruit Refresher
- Dragon Drink
- Strawberry Acai Refresher
- Pink Drink
- Strawberry Acai Lemonade
- Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher
- Paradise Drink
- Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Frappuccino
I can definitely see myself enjoying this Starbucks copycat recipe year-round, but it's especially perfect on a hot day in the middle of summer. I want to whip up a large pitcher of it and serve it during a BBQ with friends and family!
What's your favorite cold drink to order from Starbucks on a hot summer day?
Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade
- ½ cup Mango Dragonfruit Base
- ½ cup lemonade (store-bought or homemade)
- ¼ cup freeze-dried dragon fruit pieces
Mango Dragonfruit Base
- ½ cup dragon fruit syrup (recipe below or store-bought)
- 1 ¼ cups water
- ½ cup mango nectar
- ¾ tsp citric acid
- ½ tsp green coffee extract powder (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 to use fresh dragon fruit for syrup, but also want syrup to be pink)*
- Add about ½ cup mango dragonfruit base, ½ cup lemonade, 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 and garnish with a sliced lemon, if desired.
- Add more of the base for a sweeter drink and less for a more tart (but still 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 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 (a little less sweet and a little less tart) or mix with sweetened coconut milk for a Dragon Drink.
If I wanted to make this with a splash of green tea, which is how I order it at Starbucks, how much should I add?
Hi Sarah- It's hard to say since a "splash" isn't an exact measurement and could likely mean something to each different barista. I would imagine it's a couple tablespoons, but you'll want to taste to get it to your perfect amount. I would start with 2 tablespoons and add more if you think it needs it!