Jumping into the holiday season with festive Starbucks drinks

Tanika Anbu, Staffer

To celebrate the holiday season, Starbucks released six festive drinks, each served with unique flavors: Peppermint Mocha, Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino, Chestnut Praline Latte, Caramel Brulée Latte and Irish Cream Cold Brew. Their inclusion of traditional holiday flavors, like sugar cookies transition, brings back waves of nostalgia from childhood cookie baking sessions with family. Adding to the holiday cheer, every hot beverage is presented in Starbucks’s new holiday cups, decorated with red, green and white letters and fun abstracts. Now, on to the drinks!

Peppermint Mocha

Overall rating: 5/10

The minty freshness of toothpaste: Peppermint Mocha (Tanika Anbu)

Similar to the minty freshness of toothpaste, the Peppermint Mocha is spiced with peppermint syrup and mocha sauce on top of the classic espresso and milk. As someone who despises the taste of mint, this drink was a hard one to swallow. The drink was purely peppermint, as stated in the name, but as I continued to sip it, the overpowering mint taste subsided. As the ice melted, the drink became much more enjoyable and less intensely mint. The whipped cream and chocolate curls at the top of the drink provided no substance to the overall taste in the iced version.



Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Tea


Overall rating: 4/10

The Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte was one of the worst Starbucks drinks I have ever drunk. Made with sugar-cookie

Caffeinated water: Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Tea (Tanika Anbu)

flavoring, espresso, almond milk and sprinkles, it sounds like heaven but when these flavors are mixed, the result tastes like caffeinated water. The flavor of caffeine overpowered the entire drink caffeine, masking all traces of the sugar-cookie flavors. The almond milk tasted similar to oat milk, which is known for its watery taste. Although the drink was topped with green and red sprinkles, they were flavorless and sank to the bottom as I continued to drink the latte. The aftertaste lingered in my mouth for hours, only fully going away after brushing my teeth and ultimately leaving a bad impression on me.

Toasted White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino

Overall rating: 9/10


An explosion of the holidays in my mouth: Toasted White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino
(Tanika Anbu)

Starbucks’s Toasted White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino — made with coffee, milk, caramelized white chocolate, whipped cream and sprinkles — was one of the best drinks I have ever tried. With each sip having a consistent caramel flavor, the drink is very sweet and enjoyable. The frappuccino is topped with medium-sized white pearl sprinkles, adding a crunch and soft hints of cookie flavoring to the drink. As I continued to drink, the pearls sank to the bottom. Finishing the drink, I slurped up the fallen sprinkles at the bottom, and it was like an explosion of the holidays in my mouth.



Chestnut Praline Latte

Overall rating: 8/10

Topped with praline crumbs, the nutty Chestnut Praline latte made for a perfect holiday drink. With espresso and a hint of

A fulfilling taste of snickerdoodle cookies: Chestnut Praline Latte (Tanika Anbu)

spices, the drink put a warm feeling in my mouth. The drink tasted like a normal latte, but there was a more homey take to it with flavors of nuts and cream. The praline crumbs seasoned the drink perfectly and the combination of flavors mixed together well, making each sip a pleasure. The crumbs had a fulfilling taste of snickerdoodle cookies, a classic cookie from my childhood. I particularly enjoyed the evident taste of coffee in the drink, since there was an appropriate amount of sugar that complimented the espresso.

Caramel Brulée Latte

Overall rating: 6/10

A hot latte with several flaws: Caramel Brulée Latte Tanika Anbu

The Caramel Brulée Latte — made with caramel brulée sauce, espresso, steamed milk, and whipped cream — could be your conventional latte. Contradictory to the way it is described, the drink poses no new or exciting flavors; it is simply a hot latte with several flaws. For one, the drink has a brulée top, meaning it is topped with scorched caramel similar to a crème brulee. Given its crystallized structure, however, this caramel was too crunchy to be compatible with a liquid beverage. Furthermore, the drink didn’t have much flavor: all I tasted was the coffee and milk.  Disappointingly, no holiday flavors came out, but the drink itself was fine.


Irish Cream Cold Brew

Made with cold brew sweetened with Irish cream-flavored syrup, sweet cream foam and cocoa powder, the Irish Cream Cold

Irish cream-flavored syrup, sweet cream foam and cocoa powder: Irish Cream Cold Brew (Tanika Anbu)

Brew was a flavorful drink. The first sip repulsed me, tasting like car fuel, but as I took a second sip, the taste significantly improved. Behind every sip, there was a slight hint of chocolate, delicately tying the other flavors together. The drink was topped with a soft foam that hit my lip as I took each sip, enhancing the experience of drinking the cold brew. The flavors from the drink mixed well, unlike some of Starbucks’s other lattes.