Student, Starbucks barista creates namesake drink

Students pulling all-nighters in the Library may find themselves stumbling to Starbucks in search of an energy boost.

While the popular coffee house boasts a menu full of customizable drinks, there’s one that has recently become a hit among USF students.

Created by and named after one of their very own baristas, the “John Watson,” is a concoction of black tea, lemonade and twelve pumps of “classic syrup,” with a splash of strawberry puree on top and hand-shaken in a Venti-size cup.

“Surprisingly, a lot of students know about it and order it,” said Kristin Jutras, a Starbucks barista and freshman majoring in pre-med. “Even if they do not know the name.”

John Watson, a junior majoring in classics, said he first created the drink in the summer of 2009 at a Starbucks in Sarasota when he could not order his usual “Sweet Black Tea Lemonade.”

The store was out of lemonade, Watson said, and because he wanted to add something sweet and fruity, he tried strawberry puree instead. Watson said when a shipment of lemonade came in a few minutes later, he decided to mix in the lemonade and see what it tasted like.

“It was awesome,” Watson said. “And (I’ve) decided to get it ever since.”

Watson described the taste of his drink as similar to an Arnold Palmer – a mix of lemonade and iced tea – but with an added hint of fruit.

“I would recommend it to anyone that likes sweet drinks or wants a sort of a coffee substitution,” Watson said.

Because the drink isn’t on the normal menu, he said word of mouth helped spread its popularity for other people to try, not only at USF, but also in other college areas where his friends go.

However, he said when ordering it, a customer might have to tell the barista the ingredients in case they have never heard about it before. There are many “underground drinks” that Starbucks is able to make to order, such as the “Cap’n Crunch Frappuccino” – a Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino with pumps of hazelnut and toffee.

“I have recommended (the John Watson) to other people before,” Jutras said, “And now they order it regularly.”

Watson said before the drink got the name “John Watson,” baristas would have to write all of the ingredients on the side of the cup to know how to make it. He said when baristas started to realize that more and more people were ordering the drink, they named it after him because it was easier to write down and say.

He said only some of the “John Watson” drink lovers know that the John behind the counter is the same who created the drink.

“I usually don’t tell people it is me,” Watson said. “I like to have the air of mystery when I hand someone a ‘John Watson.’ If you’re going to order a ‘John Watson,’ just ask for it by name, and you will get it. And if you’re there at night, ask for me to make it.”