The holiday season is almost upon us, and while that means bundling up and staying inside, it also means a whole bunch of new drinks to order from Starbucks. Whether you’re more of an iced coffee person or someone who loves a classic warm drink in the winter, the popular coffee chain will always have something for you. To narrow down the options, VALLEY went ahead and tried all of the food and drinks advertised on their holiday menu so you don’t have to!
Now, while you can get many of these iced or hot, VALLEY decided to try them as they are advertised, so when it comes to the caramel brulée latte, the chestnut praline latte and the peppermint mocha, our review is specifically about the hot versions.
Flavors You Already Know & Love
Peppermint mocha is no stranger to the Starbucks holiday menu. In fact, while it wasn’t the first holiday drink that Starbucks debuted, it is the oldest on their list currently being advertised. With hype similar to the pumpkin spice latte, chances are, most people probably already know whether they like this drink or not. For those who still haven’t had it, though, VALLEY strongly recommends it (if you like mint, that is)! It’s great for when you’re in the mood for a hot chocolate, but still want that caffeine boost.
It doesn’t need to be said that the chestnut praline latte is very specifically only a drink for nut lovers. Obviously if you have an allergy, don’t go near this one. But also keep in mind that this drink’s aftertaste is very strongly nutty, so if nut flavors aren’t usually your go-to, maybe steer clear of this one. If they are a favorite of yours, though, this drink is a must try!
The caramel brulée latte was a bit of a miss for us. While it is very flavorful and has a strong caramel influence, we found it tasted a bit odd. While it may have just been a bad batch, it was a bit too reminiscent of those flavored lip balms from childhood, so when compared to the others on this list, it was placed at the bottom.
If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, the irish cream cold brew probably isn’t for you. It’s definitely a coffee-lover drink, and it’s the perfect cold brew for winter. If you’re like us at VALLEY and want a combination of caffeine and sugar, we suggest ordering it with the Classic Syrup or maybe even the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Foam — either one would add just the right amount of sweetness to this drink!
As for the final familiar face on this list, the toasted white chocolate mocha frappuccino was a surprising favorite. For a lot of us at a college-age, frappuccinos give very middle school dessert drink energy and we’ve mostly graduated to coffees and lattes now. Still, the toasted white chocolate mocha frappuccino tastes exactly like Christmas in drink form. Though it’s cold, it brings warmth into your heart in perfect preparation for the holiday season.
New To The Family
The brand new holiday drink this year is the iced sugar cookie almond milk latte. As it sounds, it tastes just like a sugar cookie (with coffee, of course), and you can ask for any kind of milk you’d like, whether you go for actual dairy milk or another substitute. As an added bonus, the latte comes with colorful sprinkles on top, so it really gets you into the holiday spirit!
From the Bakery
The only new food item Starbucks added to their winter menu is the Reindeer Cake Pop. The cake itself is vanilla, but the reindeer icing is chocolate, so neither flavor is too overpowering; it makes for the perfect little holiday snack as a follow-up to your coffee.
The food options from past years — the Cranberry Bliss Bar, Sugar Plum Cheese Danish and Snowman Cookie — are still just as good as they’ve always been and VALLEY couldn’t recommend them more (especially the Snowman Cookie). Just don’t forget to get your last fix of the fall food items before they’re gone!
Have you tried anything from the winter menu at Starbucks? Let VALLEY know what you like to order by tweeting us, @VALLEYmag, on Twitter!