Take a sip to the festive side with Starbucks’ holiday beverages

By Liv Barry
Elm Staff Writer

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, the holiday season is finally upon us, and with the holiday season comes an array of new seasonal Starbucks flavors.

Some drinks, like the peppermint mocha, are tried and true classics, and others, like the sugar cookie almond milk latte, are highly anticipated newcomers to the Starbucks holiday menu.

If you’re wondering what drinks are worth almost $6 for a venti size and which drinks aren’t worth your money at all, here is your official Starbucks holiday menu guide.

Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte

Starbucks’ newest holiday menu item, the sugar cookie almond milk latte, has been hyped up on social media since its release in early November.

“Not only is this latte iced, it’s also made with almond milk, marking the first time the company is introducing a nondairy holiday bev,” Glamour writer Lindy Segal said.

The drink’s appeal is in the presentation; fans of the drink rave about the sprinkles scattered inside, mimicking the look of a classic sugar cookie.

Looks can be deceiving, however.

While the drink is sweet and smooth, it has an unshakable almond milk aftertaste.

For those who are big fans of milk substitutes, this drink is for you, but if you don’t like almond milk, maybe skip this drink or substitute in another milk.

Peppermint Mocha

Peppermint mocha is a seasonal Starbucks classic.

It is the safest choice for any Starbucks customer who is just dipping their toes into the holiday menu options.

With the taste of a classic cup of hot chocolate combined with the taste of peppermint and espresso, the peppermint mocha is definitely the drink that represents the holiday season taste portfolio the best.

If you take your coffee with extra sugar, then the peppermint mocha is definitely worth your money.

I would suggest that anyone who enjoys black coffee to avoid this drink, but I seriously doubt that anyone who takes their coffee black would even consider ordering off of the Starbucks holiday menu.

Chestnut praline latte

The chestnut praline latte is another safe choice off of the Starbucks holiday menu.

While most holiday drink fans flock to the peppermint mocha, the chestnut praline latte is the unsung hero of the Starbucks seasonal drink menu.

The drink is similar in taste to any other non-holiday flavored latte that Starbucks offers, making it another safe bet for holiday drink newbies.

Because of this, however, Starbucks regulars might be a little underwhelmed by the drink’s taste.

Caramel Brulée Latte

Out of the six holiday menu options offered at Starbucks, the caramel brulée latte is the weakest link.

While the name sounds promising, the drink is even more bland than the classic dark roast that Starbucks offers.

This drink promises a punch of cozy, Christmastime flavor, but delivers a weak, unbalanced serving of milk and caramel drizzle.

The  caramel brulée latte is arguably the most polarizing of the holiday drinks.

“The Caramel Brulée Latte lived up to its definition: burnt cream. With a very light caramel taste, the drink had an overwhelming flavor of roasted creamer… I did not enjoy this drink due to the lack of caramel and the overwhelming taste of burnt creamer, but if you are someone who enjoys a Creme Brulée this is the drink for you,” Knight Crier writer Marissa Leibowitz said.

Toasted White Chocolate Mocha

Starbucks’ toasted white chocolate mocha is the younger sibling of the peppermint mocha, always trying to be quirky in order to not be seen in his brother’s shadow.

The drink does not live up to the peppermint mocha, but is good in its own right.

For those who want a solid holiday beverage but are not fans of peppermint, this drink might be the right fit for you.

Irish Cream Cold Brew

Starbucks developed the perfect recipe to entice coffee snobs who previously thought themselves too good for holiday menu offerings when they developed the Irish cream cold brew.

Its cold foam balances out the bitterness of the coffee with ease.

“Like the majority of Starbucks’ coffee, it is very strong, but the sweetness of the Irish Cream balances it out. It is not a complex drink, but the simplicity makes it enjoyable,” Leibowitz said.

While I’m still unsure as to how this drink qualifies as a holiday beverage, it was worth every penny.

Overall, the Starbucks holiday offerings this year are solid.

At the end of the day, however, everyone’s coffee tastes are different. Feel free to form your own opinions of this year’s drinks.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr
Featured Photo Caption: Starbucks often showcases new drinks each holiday season. This year, it was the sugar cookie almond milk latte. Previous limited time beverages have included the Holiday spice flat white and the juniper berry latte.

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