The Starbucks #OrangeDrink Was Just A Social Experiment

Within the last month, Starbucks’ “secret menu” has made headlines thanks in part to a line up of beautiful drinks found on the Rainbow Secret Menu. Now, the #OrangeDrink is blowing up — but that was all part of the plan.

The coffee chain’s rainbow beverage trend has become an Internet sensation without any official advertising from Starbucks. In fact, a closer look reveals that Starbucks’ secret menu could be a concept perpetuated by die-hard Starbucks fans and well-trained baristas.

That’s where the #OrangeDrink comes in. We wanted to prove social media was the primary force driving the secret drink phenomenon. In order to prove this theory, we tried an experiment, just to see how far social media could run with it. 

The #OrangeDrink, specifically, was a product of a Foodbeast experiment to prove that the color of the drink did not matter, but more so to show that social media was the only tool needed to create a new trend, instantly.

After Foodbeast broke news on the #PinkDrink craze June 1, it got more than 100,000 Instagram posts dedicated to it. Shortly after our Pink Drink coverage, the #RainbowDrink trend started gaining attention from notable publications like Time magazine, The Huffington Post and PopSugar.

Our friend and local Orange County food-influencer, Scott Nghiem (@ScottAfters), co-owner of Afters Ice Cream, posted the first images of Starbucks’ #PurpleDrink on his Instagram page last week, it generated 16.5K likes. Scott’s post of the #PinkDrink received 35K likes. Scott has 120K followers and on average he receives about 5K likes per post, Scott’s secret rainbow drink posts generated approximately 50K likes, respectively.


Last Thursday, as the Foodbeast news team casually discussed the hype behind the pink and purple drinks and how we were not blown away by the taste of either color, Marc leaned over the mezzanine on the second floor and yelled down to our bullpen, “Let’s go to Starbucks and make an orange drink.”

We looked up the #OrangeDrink hashtag and luckily enough there was nothing Starbucks related. Marc, Izzy, Reach and I walked into our Downtown Santa Ana Starbucks, where we are on a first name basis with store manager Eric Olson. We told Eric what we were working on and what we had in mind.


“We want an orange drink and we want it to taste delicious,” I said.

Being the gracious host that he is, Eric went above and beyond to deliver what we asked. He may have single-handedly created the best tasting secret drink yet. After Eric made a few variations, it seemed that mixology is really the secret behind the success of Starbuck’s so-called “secret menu.”

Eric explained that Starbucks doesn’t officially recognize a “secret menu” but credited the baristas for playing a pivotal role in responding to a customer’s palate when discovering new flavor concepts.

However, as baristas continue to create sensational flavor profiles — that are dominating social media with countless posts of approval — Starbucks is reaping all the benefits. Additionally, secret menu fanatics are busy tracking down the perfect opportunity to purchase “secret” drinks — in order to frantically post photos of these aesthetically pleasing beverages to social media — the coffee giant is cashing in.

With each Instagram, Facebook and Twitter post, the colorful drink trend grows. Further perpetuating the demand for off-menu items — all while generating an insane amount of free advertising for Starbucks. Not to mention the extra charges for ingredients like soy, or coconut milk.

So, could it be that timely coordination and Instagram traffic drove enough attention to create an instant trend without the help of the company behind the beverages?

The answer is yes.

We used the #OrangeDrink as a jumping off point to get another colorful Starbucks drink trending. As fate would have it, the #OrangeDrink instantly became known as the best tasting rainbow drink and social media quickly followed suit.


A few Foodbeast staffers and myself posted #OrangeDrink photos to our Instagram accounts and waited for social media to react. Over the weekend, Yahoo! News, Refinery 29, MashableThrillist, NBC Business and NBC New York all reported on the #OrangeDrink as the new summer drink to try.

OD Grid

Without diving into sales numbers and statistics, this trend is a reflection of something bigger. Baristas are trained to work with an open system, which allows them to create flavors that cater to any palate, simultaneously becoming artists in their own right. There’s no back of the house manual explaining how to create these new beverages.

It’s also important to note that these trends are happening so fast, baristas are having a hard time keeping up. Although, some may be a little annoyed with Starbucks fanatics constantly testing the waters of what can be created behind the counter. The possibilities are endless.

At the same time, baristas are being blindsided with strange drink orders, scrambling to figure out what’s supposed to be inside these “secret drinks” everyone is ordering — just because they saw it on social media.

After digging into the Reddit channel “r/Starbucks” and under a subreddit thread, “There’s an orange drink now???” we found Starbucks’ employees are sounding off on their disapproval of this exponentially growing trend.

User Breslayy obviously didn’t like the #PurpleDrink and said all the other drinks were “awful.”


User Agaue said it felt like customers were purposely trolling baristas. Good eye, kid.


As Starbucks’ reaps the rewards from social media exploiting their “secret menu” for free, the baristas are stuck with the grunt work, and receive little incentive for having to learn these “secret” drinks on the spot.

But, as Reddit user ToastyXD worded it — it’s become part of the job description for baristas to understand that Starbucks’ open mixology system makes all this possible.


However, some baristas just don’t care at all.

Where the #pinkdrink #orangedrink and #purpledrink belong. #starbucks #notsorry

A video posted by Danielle Vaughn (@heytheredanielle) on

We have to thank Starbucks’ open and expansive mixology system, without it, none of this would have been possible. The only problem is, we might have simultaneously created the best drink of the summer as a joke. However, it’s not something we are trying to keep a secret.

Thank you, Internet!

Featured image: @kuyameztizo


How To Make In-N-Out Animal Style Fries At Home, Sauce Too [WATCH]


Regardless of what you think about In-N-Out Burgers’ french fries, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think their off-menu Animal Style Fries aren’t absolutely out-of-this-world-make-you-emotionally-jump-off-a-cliff. Fries, cheese, grilled onions, special sauce. GAME. OVER.

Now there’s a really accessible recipe for this deliciousness. So if for whatever reason you don’t have an In-N-Out near you, or you just want to be able to make enough Animal Style Fries to fill a kiddy pool, this recipe is for you:

Features Hit-Or-Miss Sweets

9 Sweet Ways To Turn Grilled Cheese Into A Dessert

I think we owe the grilled cheese an apology. Two pieces of bread, butter, cheese — is that all we think the grilled cheese can do? Well, no more. It’s time we bust grilled cheeses out of the box we’ve put it in and let them explore their true potential!

First and foremost, the dessert grilled cheese. You heard right. Dessert. Grilled. Cheese. Prepare to appreciate grilled cheeses in a whole new way when you take in these nine takes on the grilled cheese sandwich.

Nutella, Strawberry and Brioche Grilled Cheese

Nutella, Mascarpone, Pistachio, Strawberry on Brioche Grilled Cheese #19

A photo posted by Ted Hirsh (@tedmf) on

Did I also mention that whipped mascarpone and crunchy pistachios are also stuffed into this bad boy? It just gets better and better. Brioche is the perfect dessert cheese to use, and I think we all know that Nutella goes with EVERYTHING. Literally everything.

Blueberry and Brie Grilled Cheese 

Photo courtesy of Savory Simple

Sweet brie and juicy blueberries make the most unexpected grilled cheese combo. I would also pack in some blueberry jam to add some extra sweetness. Top it off with a healthy heaping of powdered sugar and you’ve got yourself a simple, but dessert-worthy grilled cheese.

Bananas Foster Grilled Cheese

News flash: cream cheese is a cheese too. Even better is when cream cheese is paired with bananas, caramel, and Biscoff cookie spread. Melt all that together on two thick slices of French bread: the most dessert-like of all the breads.

Donut Grilled Cheese

I need this in my life. Donut grilled cheese. #foodporn #donut #grilledcheese #donutgrilledcheese #lordhavemercy

A photo posted by Orlando Rivera (@therealorlandorivera) on

A little salty and sweet treat, the dessert portion of the grilled cheese is all in the bread here—or all in the donut, in this case. Good ol’ American cheese is the way to go here; it’ll really play up the salty and sweet combination more than a saccharine cheese, like brie, would.

Funfetti Ricotta Grilled Cheese

Our friends over at POPSUGAR always know how to keep things sweet. And, of course, that there is nothing funfetti can’t fix. Fun sprinkles on top of a decadent Ricotta cheese mix? Yes, please. It looks almost as good as it tastes!

Chocolate Grilled Cheese

This one is so simple and straight to the point: chocolate grilled cheese. Your regular grilled cheese (bread and American cheese) but with a layer of smooth chocolate. Both chocolate spread or melted chocolate will be accepted.

S’mores Grilled Cheese

This grilled cheese will give you strong cravings for summer. Marshmallow + chocolate + graham crackers = s’mores. Throw two grilled donuts on either side of this chocolately gooiness and what have you got? Heaven, you say? Close. A s’mores grilled cheese.

Raspberry and Chocolate Grilled Cheese 

Raspberry and chocolate are a match made in heaven. Put fresh raspberries, raspberry jam, and chocolate spread in between two pieces of grilled Italian bread. For cheese, brie or marscapone would both be delicious…you could even do both. Go crazy.

Waffle Grilled Cheese

#waffle iron #grilledcheese. Okay, I’m a convert.

A photo posted by Sarah Spigelman Richter (@fritosnfoie) on

You KNOW there’s maple syrup all over this business. White cheddar and vanilla make a surprisingly great pairing as the “cheese” portion of this grilled cheese. For a little extra sweetness (it wouldn’t be a proper dessert without as much sugar as possible) jam and a good amount of maple syrup both inside and out will please your sweet tooth.


How to Make OREO Churros with a Vanilla Cream Dipping Sauce


You know we love a good food trend, and when we saw the announcement of Oreo Churros, we knew we had to make these for ourselves. After intense recipe developing and coating the kitchen floor in Oreo crumbs, our sweet team cracked the code. We’re happy to share this delicious recipe with you! Keep watching to learn how to make this life-changing dessert:

Click here to read Nicole Iizuka’s full printable recipe!


Here’s How to Make Your Own Fireball Cinnamon Whisky


The web was set on fire last week when news of Fireball Whisky being pulled from shelves in Europe made its rounds.

Finland, Sweden and Norway were among the European countries that removed the whiskey due to an excess of propylene glycol, a type of antifreeze that acts as a stabilizer in foods and prevents evaporation. While still completely “safe” to drink in the United States, we understand that some of our European friends might be looking for a more crafty way to experience the popular drink, and thanks to our friends at Popsugar, we have a pretty simple recipe that will allow you to make the cinnamon whiskey at home.

At least with this DIY route, you can control how much or how little your Fireball ends up tasting like Big Red chewing gum. Seriously, the world is at your finger tips:


The ‘Ramenritto’ Combines Burritos and Ramen, Here is the Obligatory Recipe

Ramenritto WIDE

If you were thinking of hitting the eject button after seeing the Ramen Lobster Roll, hold on a second until you try the Ramenritto we spotted at a New York teahouse a few months back. Burritos, the pride of Mexican cuisine, and ramen, the pride of broke college students can now be enjoyed together in a carb-filled mouthgasm.

We teamed up with our friends at PopSugar to show you the steps in creating this epic burrito, so you can bust out a package of ramen and try this recipe for yourself. We stuffed this thing with ramen, guacamole, fried egg, spam and sririacha. Don’t act like you don’t want to try that.

In essence, the ramen is just replacing the rice from traditional burritos and we’re just laying down the groundwork. If you feel the need to add bacon to your Ramenritto, it’s your ‘Murican right to do so:


For the ramen:

  • 1 package ramen noodles, such as Top Ramen
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

For the ramenritto:

  • 3 burrito-size flour tortillas, warmed (get big ones!)

Optional toppings:

  • Guacamole
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Shredded chicken
  • Spam, diced
  • Pico de gallo
  • Corn, cut off the cob
  • Fried egg
  • Sriracha
  • Ranch dressing
  • Refried beans



  1. Make the ramen: Boil 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan; once the water comes to a boil, break the ramen into 4 chunks and add the ramen noodles and half of the seasoning packet to the water; cook for two minutes. Drain.
  2. Add oil, garlic, and cilantro to a skillet set over high heat, and heat for about a minute, or until the garlic is sizzling. Add noodles and the other half of the seasoning packet. Cook for an additional minute until the noodles are warmed through.
  3. Assemble the ramenritto: Add 1/4 cup of noodles to a warmed tortilla, and fill it with your choice of toppings. Roll up the burrito. Repeat with remaining ingredients, and serve immediately.


Other dope recipes from Foodbeast x Popsugar:


How to Make a Crack German Chocolate Jimbo Cake

German Chocolate Cakes are actually American, named for the chocolatier Sam German who developed the dark baking chocolate used to make them. This version by Momofuku Milk Bar chef Christina Tosi is equally American, meaning 1000% more indulgent. Layers of gooey, buttery “crack pie” filling (Momofuku’s infamous for the stuff) alternate between slabs of roasted nut-laden chocolate cake and crunchy spreads of pecan and feuilletine. Our friends at PopSugar figured out the secret to making it, so check out the recipe below for the bet way to totally screw up your summer diet:


German Chocolate Jimbo Cake

Notes: Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies can be substituted for the feuilletine in a pinch. Yield: 1 6-inch layer cake; 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 ounce 72% chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup glucose
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 tablespoons fudge sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Chocolate Malt Cake Soak

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons Ovaltine powder

pie Crack-Coconut Filling

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon corn powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut

Pecan Crunch

  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • Splash grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup feuilletine

Chocolate Malt Frosting

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sweetened coconut, toasted, for garnish

Special Equipment

  • 1 (6-inch) cake ring
  • 2 strips acetate, each 3 inches wide and 20 inches long

___ pie DIRECTIONS To Make Fudge Sauce

  1. Combine the chocolate, cocoa powder, and salt in medium bowl.
  2. Combine the glucose, sugar, and heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir intermittently while bringing to a boil over high heat. The moment it boils, pour it into the bowl holding the chocolate. Let sit for 1 full minute.
  3. Slowly, slowly begin to whisk the mixture. Then continue, increasingly the vigor of your whisking every 30 seconds, until the mixture is glossy and silky smooth. This will take 2 to 4 minutes, depending on your speed and strength. You can use this sauce at this point, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; do not freeze.

To Make Chocolate Cake

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
  3. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, fudge sauce, and vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture and completely homogenous. Don’t rush the process. You’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for that liquid. There should be no streaks of fat or liquid. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and the cocoa powder. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Spray a quarter sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a Silpat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan.
  6. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.
  7.  Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

To Make Malt Cake Soak

  1. Whisk together the milk and Ovaltine in a small bowl.

cake To Make Crack-Coconut Filling

  1. Heat the oven to 325°F
  2. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on low speed until evenly blended.
  3. Add the melted butter and paddle for 1 minute until all the dry ingredients are moist.
  4. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 1 minute until any white streaks from the cream have completely disappeared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  5. Add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous. Mix on low speed until it is.
  6. Line the bottom and sides of a small baking pan with plastic wrap. Pour the crack pie filling into the pan, put the pan into the oven, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The crack pie filling should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but slightly jiggly and loose in the center. If the crack pie filling is jiggly all over, give it 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Once cooled, mix the crack pie filling with the sweetened coconut. This filling can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container for a week in refrigeration.

To Make Pecan Crunch Heat the oven to 325°F

  1. Put the pecans on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 15 minutes.
  2. Puree warm pecans in a food processor with a splash of grapeseed oil, salt, and light brown sugar.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the pecan puree with feuilletine. The crunch can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

To Make Chocolate Malt Frosting

  1.  Combine the butter, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and cream together on medium-high for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. With the mixer on its lowest speed, stream in the milk. Crank the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is silky smooth and a glossy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To Assemble German Chocolate Jimbo Layer Cake

  1. Put a piece of parchment or a Silpat on the counter. Invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment or Silpat from the bottom of the cake. Use the cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. These are your top 2 cake layers. The remaining cake scraps will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake.
  2. Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a Silpat. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring.
  3. Put the cake scraps together inside the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer
  4. Dunk a pastry brush in the malt cake soak and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of the soak.
  5. Use the back of a spoon to spread 1/2 recipe of the crack-coconut filling in an even layer over the cake.
  6. Sprinkle half of the pecan crunch evenly over the crack-coconut filling. Use the back of your hand to anchor in place.
  7. Use the back of a spoon to spread 1/3 of the chocolate malt frosting over the pecan crunch layer.
  8. With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top 1/4-inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall — high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Set a cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process for layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is less attractive than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).
  9. Nestle the remaining cake round into the frosting. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Give it volume and swirls, or do as we do and opt for a perfectly flat top. Garnish the frosting with toasted, sweetened coconut.
  10. Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and fillings. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
  11. At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the acetate, and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. Let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (wrapped well in plastic, the cake can be refrigerated for up to 5 days).
  12. Slice the cake into wedges, and serve.


More awesome YumSugar recipes: