Every Single Starbucks Holiday Drink, Ranked
Two things inevitably happen every winter: Starbucks unleashes a slew of holiday-themed drinks at their trillions of coffeeshops, and your grandma gives you a gift that both confuses and saddens you. “Oh wow, a sheet of laminated Buffalo nickels… thanks, grandma!” Starbucks holiday drinks, unlike grandma’s gifts, are a reliable source of happiness this holiday season, so we’ve tasted all six (RIP Gingerbread Latte) and ranked ‘em, and now we’re giving you the best bang for your holiday buck. And don’t forget to tip your barista, even if you have to use Buffalo nickels.
Oh, and while you can order almost all of these drinks hot, iced, or as Frappuccinos (Peppermint Mocha, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, and Eggnog Latte), we didn’t. These were all tasted hot (except the cold brew drink, obviously) in order to drink it as Starbucks originally intended. We didn’t modify them in any way, and the nutritional info included below is based on a 16oz Grande size.
Without further ado, let us wrap ourselves in tinsel and commence sipping on holiday drinks!
6. Eggnog Latte
Nutritional info: 450 calories, 52 grams sugar
Perhaps I'm not an eggnog latte person, but the smell coming from it really turned me off. And the taste didn't do it any favors either -- sadly, it was a little like spoiled milk. Also, unless Starbucks is planning on spiking its eggnog latte, what's the point of this? Give me bourbon in eggnog or give me death!
5. Caramel Brulée Latte
Nutritional info: 450 calories, 47 grams sugar
This actually has a lot stronger coffee flavors than I would've expected from the 'Bucks, which typically lets any caramel drink go way overboard on the caramel flavors. The caramel and coffee play nice together here, and the finish does bring to mind a brulée. I was shocked by this one. Don’t be shocked if you love this, either.
4. Chestnut Praline Latte
Nutritional info: 330 calories, 39 grams sugar
They nailed the chestnut flavor here, and the finish is a little bit of the almond flavor hinted at by the praline part of the drink's name. A little saccharine in the finish, which deducts it a few points. I would enjoy roasting this drink on an open flame, but not in a bad way!
3. Toasted White Chocolate Mocha
Nutritional info: 420 calories, 56 grams sugar
Raise your hand if you like candied cranberry sugar in your coffee! Two years ago, it was sprinkled atop every white chocolate mocha, but now it’s all about holiday sugar sparkles with crispy white pearls. Those pearls are actually rice cereal, and they’re as crunchy as advertised. I love the look of the reddish sugar sparkles, and I especially love the white chocolate and coffee flavors in the drink. We dare you to carry around a cup and not get in the holiday spirit.
2. Irish Cream Cold Brew
Nutritional info: 200 calories, 19 grams sugar
I like this holiday drink, I really do. But I’m confused as to why the company uses regular old cold brew instead of nitro cold brew, which would make it approximately 100 gazillion times creamier. (See: Nitro Cold Brew with Pumpkin Cream Cold Foam.) That said, the combination of the Irish cream syrup and the vanilla sweet cream cold foam taste very similar to an alcoholic beverage that rhymes with Schmailey’s. The cocoa powder layered on top is absolutely decadent. Anyways, why isn’t this a nitro drink again?!
Pro-tip: sub in the nitro coffee when you order this.
1. Peppermint Mocha
Nutritional info: 440 calories, 54 grams sugar
The first sip is chocolate and cream, and the finish is a delightful chocolate and mint. And it doesn't leave an overly sweet taste in your mouth that makes you want to drink a gallon of water to wash it away. But is there a more holiday appropriate drink than the Peppermint Mocha? Even the name makes me want to fly a life-size candy cane across the sky on Christmas Eve, waving at Santa as he makes his deliveries, and flashing a thumbs up to his reindeer for working so hard.
Starbucks makes getting into the holiday spirit even easier this year with bright-red reusable cups that look like they were designed by elves in Santa’s workshop. The Peppermint Mocha drink reps the holiday season way, way more than a Juniper Latte (also RIP) ever could. It’s a seasonal classic, it’s delicious, and we bet you’ll crave one when it starts snowing outside on a cold December morning.