The dark days are upon us. A cold wind blows. In the Pacific Northwest, a coven of witches gathers to cast spells under a full moon. They begin the cursed incantation: “Eye of newt and toe of frogs,” they chant. “Conjure a drink that looks good on blogs.”
A poof of smoke, and there it appears, in the Starbucks headquarters: A magical purple sugar potion. They cackle with glee, for the spell has worked: For one weekend, people will clamor to pay $5.45 to take photos of this bedeviled drink. They swish their cloaks. “We shall call it Witch’s Brew,” says the eldest.
The drink’s ingredients are “A pinch of toad’s breath. A dash of bat warts. A sprinkle of lizard scale,” according to the official Starbucks news release, which was probably written by a talking cat or a piece of enchanted furniture. The toad’s breath is “orange flavored purple powder,” according to the ingredient list. The bat warts are chia seeds. The sprinkle of lizard scale is a dusting of green powder that rests on top of the whipped cream. The only problem is that instead of being streaked throughout, the chia seeds all fall to the bottom pretty quickly, which gives it a thin layer of gray sediment. It tastes like a melted Creamsicle with a hex that tricks people into drinking it, but instead of turning into a toad they just feel like one — slightly bloated.
Also, it’s so sweet that it makes my teeth hurt. Maybe that’s the point, and they’ll all fall out and I’ll look like this:
This is just the latest in a line of spooky, magical Starbucks Frappuccinos. There was the vampire, the zombie and the dragon Frappuccino in the former category, and the unicorn, mermaid and crystal ball Frappuccinos in the latter. The drinks named for benevolent magic, like the unicorn, seem to do better than the ones based on monsters, cryptids or the dark arts — which doesn’t bode well for the Witch’s Brew. But then again: Witches are having a moment in pop culture right now, with “Charmed,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and Bewitched” all getting a 2018 reboot.
“LIFT THE CURSE,” says the signage advertising Witch’s Brew in Starbucks’ stores, but I fear this drink does the opposite. Just as Snow White bit the poisoned apple, or Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger on the spindle, I, too, am now cursed: It’s been more than an hour since I had this drink, and there is still a lingering aftertaste. I fear it will follow me for the rest of my life, and will be transmitted through my lineage, and my children’s children’s children will taste this hexed liquid creamsicle full of sludgy chia seeds, until one of them can break free of our malediction. Or until I rinse with some mouthwash.
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