Fruitcake is unquestionably the worst Christmas dessert. It has been the butt of decades of jokes, most famously from Johnny Carson: “There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other, year after year.” Some people use them as door stoppers. It is the gift you give to someone you hate. Starbucks, instead, decided to make fruitcake into a Frappuccino.
Starbucks hates us.
This is not to say that the coffee company’s new, limited-time-only Fruitcake Frappuccino is bad, exactly: Hey, if a milkshake masquerading as coffee is your thing, it’s your thing. I’m not here to judge. May it fill you with the holiday spirit! It’s an icy cup full of cinnamon and whipped cream and dried fruit, blended with a hazelnut syrup. The texture is … chunky. It tastes like a fruitcake. But fruitcakes have never tasted particularly good, right?
What is clear, though, is that Starbucks is now just making drinks that look good on Instagram. That’s the only reason that emerald-green matcha powder — not exactly a traditional fruitcake ingredient — is sprinkled on top. The dried fruit gives the drink a pleasantly pink hue, the matcha is a sprinkle of green, and a caramel syrup adds a touch of gold. Behold, this majestically-engineered marvel of food science, an inverted poinsetta in drink form. It’s holly and jolly and #hashtaggable, and that, I am convinced, is 99 percent of the reason it exists.
You must photograph it quickly, though, and slurp it down. If you don’t, it will turn into a science experiment: The ice melts into putrid beige water on the bottom, the dried fruit chunks float to the middle, and the matcha melts into the whipped cream. It looks like what might happen if you were to swab the handrail on the Metro and cultivate it in a petri dish for a week.
So, while it has much in common with an actual fruitcake — chewiness being its primary characteristic — that is where the two diverge. A fruitcake can last forever. The Frappuccino, thank goodness, is available only this weekend.