Slipping in Unicorn Puke

In the early part of the fourth century BC, a historian by the name of Ctesias returned to his native Greece after traveling through India and Persia, where he served a number of years as physician to the royal court. When he got home, he set to work writing about his travels in his great works Persica, which like many of the era’s works of history is somewhat dubious in nature, and Indica, which among other things, describes India’s native unicorn.

The unicorn, he wrote, was as large as a horse, with blue eyes, a red head, a white body, and a horn on its head measuring at least a foot and a half. It was also very strong and lightning fast.

For a while rumor had it only a young virgin could successfully catch a unicorn because the creatures were attracted to purity. By Domenichino – Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Ctesias offers us the first written account of this elusive animal, but he certainly wasn’t the only “scholar” to write about it. Among those who mention the beast are Pliny the Elder, Saint Isidore of Seville, and Marco Polo. The unicorn even gets a nod in some translations of the Bible (I’m pretty sure the LSD translation is on the list).

Of course none of these writings seem to be eye-witness accounts, and the descriptions vary (some may more closely resemble a rhinoceros, which definitely is real), but for a good part of human history, there was little doubt of the unicorn’s existence. Its horn has been pulverized to make an antidote for poisons, it’s been used as a religious symbol of purity, and it’s even graced symbols of state.

Today’s unicorn is a little sleeker, a little sparklier, and a little more make-believe (though I hear Animal Planet is planning a show called Hunting Unicorns, which will air just as soon as they find Bigfoot). The unicorn of today also seems to have a hard time holding on to its lunch (which I have to assume is made up primarily of Skittles) because the creatures are frequently depicted puking rainbows.

Yep. This sure makes me thirsty for something with sugar and sparkles.

I have to wonder if that’s what Starbucks was hoping to call to mind when they introduced their Unicorn Frappuccino last week. The multi-colored sugar bomb lasted only five days, and was even sold out at many stores faster than that, proving as difficult to catch as the unicorn itself.

I’m certainly not complaining. As a more or less non-coffee drinker, I have one Starbucks order I’ve convinced myself I enjoy when I occasionally have to meet up there, and the Unicorn Frappuccino isn’t it. But if they were still making them, then for the purpose of thorough research I suppose I would have gotten one just to take a picture. I might even have tried a sip so as to not anger the barista who just spent the last hour making 437 of them and is starting to take on a strange pink and blue hue.

Since I didn’t get the drink you’ll just have to use your imagination. Picture this in a cup topped with whipped cream and pink and blue sprinkles.

So I didn’t catch a unicorn myself, but for a few days there I sure did hear a lot of rumors of their existence. I see from the Internet buzz that some Starbucks stores are now offering a Dragon Frappuccino made with green tea and magic and probably also a lot of sugar. I think I’ll pass on that one as well, but perhaps you’d like to try it.

If you tried the Unicorn Frappuccino, I’m curious, what did you think? Should Starbucks bring it back and make it a permanent offering, or did it make you puke rainbows like a unicorn?


15 thoughts on “Slipping in Unicorn Puke

  1. I didn’t get one either. I have a handful of drinks that contain that much sugar I’m willing to drink and they all taste waaaaay better than that unicorn abomination was reported to. It would of made a cool picture though.

    1. Yes. It’s a pretty concoction. I heard they were quite sour, but then I also heard that so many stores ran out of some of the ingredients and just did the best they could with what they had, that I’m not sure it was exactly a consistent experience.

  2. Donna Volkenannt

    I’m not a fan of Starbucks and don’t drink coffee, so I didn’t try the Unicorn drink. I did watch a video of a barista begging people not to order the drink because it was so much trouble to make and he got sugar and sprinkles all over himself from making them.
    Interesting facts about historical figures who’ve seen unicorns.

    1. Yeah, I think the Starbucks employees in general were not fans. Actually, I’m not sure I saw that any customers particularly liked it, either. I keep wondering if someone will chime in and say it was good.

  3. Mary P

    I’m not a fan of Starbucks and don’t drink coffee, so I didn’t try the Unicorn drink. I didn’t get one either.

  4. hahaha that title!! Such an interesting piece!! I personally did not get one of those frappuccinos- I have no idea if they were available near me, cos I don’t frequent starbucks, and even though, when I heard about it, I was excited by the prospect, I heard it was disgusting (which is bizarre to me- how do you screw up a sugary drink?! 😉 )

I love comments! Please keep them PG, though. I blush easily.

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