The truth about Starbucks' Phantom Frappuccino

While Starbucks' limited edition Frappuccinos didn't really explode onto everyone's Instagram feed until 2017 with the introduction of the oh-so-pretty Unicorn frap and its subsequent, if somewhat less popular followups (anyone remember the Dragon or the Mermaid?), they've actually been making special Halloween-edition fraps since 2014, starting with the green tea/mint Franken Frappuccino and the white chocolate mocha/strawberry Frappula. Their post-Unicorn offerings have been even more extreme, with 2017 bringing the caramel apple-flavored Zombie with its topping of creamy pink "brains" and in 2018, you could order the orange crème Witch's Brew sprinkled with chia seed "bat warts." The 2019 Starbucks Halloween offering, called the Phantom Frappuccino, may be the most visually striking one yet, however, as its predominant color is black.

So what's in this Phantom Frappuccino?

Once again, when it comes to Starbucks limited edition drinks, it seems Instagrammability trumps taste, as the flavor combination sounds... unusual. The base is mango flavored, with decorative accents from a "ghoulish lime slime" that's actually made with spirulina. The black coloring comes from activated charcoal (yet another food trend held over from 2017, evidently a year nobody at Starbucks corporate wants us ever to forget), which adds its own unique flavor. The whipped topping — also black — is coconut-based, as is the drink itself, so the entire beverage is 100 percent vegan. Creepy, yet ethical. 

As to how the flavor combo of mango/lime/spirulina/coconut/charcoal plays out, well, even Starbucks isn't exactly waxing rhapsodic over this one. The best they can come up with is "spooky and stunning on the outside and fresh and fruity on the inside," which makes it sound more like something you'd order off the Addams Family menu at IHOP.

Where can you get the Phantom Frappuccino?

Still dying to try the Phantom? Well, there's one more piece of bad news for you, at least if you're reading this on the western side of the Atlantic Ocean. While this special-edition Halloween drink will be available at Starbucks starting October 26, you won't find it on the menu in the U.S. or Canada — all participating locations are in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. So far, no word on when — or if — the Phantom will ever be available in the U.S., or if we'll get a different horror-themed Halloween frap of our own this year. Oh well, at least we can still get our holiday on with secret menu hacks including the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Frappuccino — granted, not nearly as cool-looking as the Phantom, but it probably tastes a whole lot better.