Quench your thirst with a homemade strawberry acai refresher! With no artificial flavors, this homemade version is a healthier and more affordable alternative to the one you can find at Starbucks.
A few weeks ago, my girls discovered the cold refresher drinks at Starbucks. After sampling a few flavors and being delighted, I tried duplicating the various recipes. That way, we could enjoy whatever drink we wanted at home – and it would be easier on my wallet (they can be $4-7 each).
Last week I shared my copycat recipe for mango dragon fruit lemonade. This week my girls requested that I try making the strawberry acai refresher.
What is Acai
It’s pronounced as aa-saa-ee. Acai berries are indigenous to the rainforests in South America. They grow on the acai palm and are like grapes in many ways. Acai is a superfruit; the flesh and skin of the berries are extremely nutrient dense and high in antioxidants.
Why Add It To A Drink
Acai is a healthy powerhouse, so adding the freeze-dried powder to recipes is an easy way to sneak added nutrients into your diet.
Strawberry Acai Refresher Ingredients
- White Grape Juice– White grape juice is a base ingredient in many Starbucks refresher drinks.
- Water– Settles down and balances out all the intense flavors.
- Freeze-Dried Strawberry Powder– I make my freeze-dried strawberry powder at home by grinding it in the coffee grinder I have reserved for spices (I clean it out between every use). You can also use a food processor or a blender. The flavor of freeze-dried strawberries is intense, so this recipe calls for it vs. fresh strawberries. This ingredient is also what gives the drink its beautiful blush color.
- Freeze-Dried Acai Powder– Acai berries spoil quickly, making the freeze-dried powder very convenient. Most health food stores carry it, or you can find it online.
- Passion Fruit Puree– Being called for as an ingredient in this recipe might surprise you, but passion fruit puree packs a flavorful and unexpected punch. In short, you want to include this. I purchased mine online from Amazon. Please note that the puree I use in this recipe contains sugar. If you use a sugar-free variation, it will alter the taste of the drink.
If you like coffee-house-style drinks, you’ll enjoy this coconut matcha latte.
Starbucks Strawberry Acai Refresher vs. This Recipe
While I’d love to tell you this homemade strawberry acai refresher recipe tastes just like the Starbucks version, I can’t – BUT, it’s very close. My girls and I purchased the Starbucks drink and compared it to ours. Then, we kept tweaking our recipe until we got it just right.
Starbucks has a few added ingredients in their recipe:
- Sugar– They add even more than the white grape juice and passion fruit puree already contain.
- Citric Acid– Flavoring and preservative.
- Natural Flavors– This might be where the passion fruit flavor is “hidden.”
- Natural Green Coffee Flavor– This is caffeine. While I don’t call for it in my recipe, you can add it if you want the added “boost.”
- Rebaudioside A– Stevia in a highly purified form.
Why Make Homemade
I prefer making this recipe vs. purchasing a drink from Starbucks because:
- I have more control over the sugar added. However, sometimes their drinks are WAY too sweet for my liking.
- My kids need their sleep and preferably don’t need any additional caffeine.
- No stops or driving required!
- This recipe is super easy to personalize. Need more strawberry or passion fruit puree? Want caffeine? Add it in.
- Starbucks doesn’t stock booze. Hah. So if you’re 21 years and older, don’t hesitate to spike it!
- While these ingredients require an investment up front, making my homemade drinks still works out to be a cheaper option for my family.
An Overview: How to Make Strawberry Acai Refresher Recipe
- Make a slurry. This is to ensure you don’t have any clumps in your drink. Add the freeze-dried strawberry powder, acai powder, and 1-2 tablespoons of white grape juice to a glass. Stir together to form a smooth slurry. If there are any bothersome clumps, use the back of a spoon to smash them up against the inside of the glass to break them up.
- Add remaining wet ingredients. Now add the remainder of the white grape juice, water, and passion fruit puree. Mix well.
- Let it sit. For at least 2-5 minutes before adding ice. This gives the acai and strawberry powder a chance to rehydrate while adding flavor.
- Top off with ice. Garnish with more freeze-dried strawberries just before serving if desired.
- ¾ cup white grape juice, divided
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoons freeze-dried strawberry powder
- ⅛ teaspoon acai powder
- 1 teaspoon passion fruit puree
- freeze-dried strawberries, for garnish
- In a 16-ounce glass, add the freeze-dried strawberry powder, acai powder, and 1-2 tablespoons of white grape juice. Stir together to form a slurry, ensuring the lumps are worked out, and the slurry is smooth. If there are any bothersome clumps, use the back of a spoon to smash them up against the inside of the glass to break them up.
- Now add the remainder of the white grape juice, water, and passion fruit puree. Mix well.
- Let sit for at least 2-5 minutes before adding ice. This gives the acai powder and freeze-dried strawberry powder a chance to rehydrate while adding flavor.
- Stir one more time, and then top off with ice. Garnish with freeze-dried strawberries if desired. Enjoy!
Acai Powder- Contains no additives, so it will never wholly dissolve; there will be sediment. When I was recipe testing, I tried heating it to see if it would dissolve completely. It did not, there was still sediment, and I preferred it unheated.
Freeze-Dried Strawberry Powder- I make my freeze-dried strawberry powder at home by grinding it in the coffee grinder I have reserved for spices (I clean it out between every use). You can also use a food processor or a blender. The flavor of freeze-dried strawberries is intense, so this recipe calls for it vs. fresh strawberries. This ingredient is also what gives the drink its beautiful blush color.
Passion Fruit Puree- Being called for as an ingredient in this recipe might surprise you, but passion fruit puree packs a flavorful and unexpected punch. In short, you don’t want to leave this out. However, please note the puree I use does contain sugar. If you buy a sugar-free variation, it will alter the taste of the drink.
If you prefer a sweeter drink, add some simple syrup or caster sugar (it will take a few minutes to dissolve fully). To make simple syrup, combine 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl—microwave on high for a minute. Carefully remove from the microwave and stir (be careful, the contents will boil). If there are still undissolved granules, place them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Let cool completely before using. Then, add small amounts of simple syrup to sweeten to taste.
For a more potent-tasting drink, refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to marry.
This drink is easy to personalize. If you want caffeine, feel free to add green coffee bean powder. More passion fruit or strawberries? Add it in.
While these ingredients require an investment up front, making my homemade drinks still seemed cheaper for my family.
To make a pitcher of strawberry acai refresher, here are the measurements:
3 ¾ white grape juice
2 ½ cups water
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon freeze-dried strawberry powder
½ teaspoon acai powder (you can make this a slightly rounded ½ teaspoon)
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons passion fruit puree
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 121Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 16mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 1g
Did you make this recipe? If you did, please give it a star rating and leave a review or comment below! And remember to take a pic and share it on social! Tag @allergyfreeak or #allergyfreealaska on Instagram!