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Analyzing the 'swicy' trend on restaurant menus


Starbucks’ newest dual lineup of beverages takes on the “swicy” trend (that’s “sweet and spicy”) that has been popular with younger generations as of late. On April 14 at Coachella, Starbucks unveiled the new Spicy Lemonade Refreshers in three flavors — pineapple, dragonfruit and strawberry — that are spiced with Starbucks’ proprietary chili powder blend. 

These drinks, available at all Starbucks cafes for a limited time starting April 16, join the lineup of “swicy” drinks made with hot honey that were announced last month for Reserve stores in Chicago, New York City, and Seattle. Together, these beverages join the throng of hot honey pepperoni pizzas, sweet chili-flavored Takis, and chili pepper maple syrups that have been popular on menus and in grocery stores over the past year. 

Spicy drinks have been on cocktail menus for quite some time, and the spicy margarita was named one of Datassential’s Flavors of the Week last year, though the trickle-down to non-alcoholic beverages and coffees has not been as prevalent.

This is not the first time in recent years that Starbucks has played around with creative and unexpected flavors: Last year, the olive oil-infused Oleato was introduced and kicked up a stir on social media over allegations that the drink might cause digestive issues.  

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