Reviewing Starbucks Holiday Drinks: Naughty or Nice?

The day that Starbucks holiday drinks become available might as well be a national holiday. For many, the iconic red holiday cup and feeling of that first sip is the official way to kick off the holiday season. Personally, I have never been a fan of Starbucks. The drinks are expensive and I’ve always found it annoying how the employees can remember every detail of your drink, yet manage to spell a perfectly simple name wrong. But this year, after hearing all of my friends rave about some of the Starbucks holiday drinks. I chose to put my Starbucks bias aside and craft a perfectly objective list. I, Lucas Grannis, reporter for the Wolfpacket, am the most qualified to judge these drinks. Hence I decided to go to the next level and try them all! So here they are: all of Starbucks holiday drinks, ranked worst to best.

3/10 – Peppermint Mocha
The idea that this drink has been rated the “drink of the season” by some people genuinely upsets me. There is nothing “nostalgic” about this drink. It is overwhelmingly “chocolatey,” and you can hardly taste the coffee in the drink. The whole drink is dark chocolate, in which Starbucks tries, yet miserably fails to add a quirky taste with a vague hint of peppermint. This drink is just an excuse to add another item to the holiday menu. A hot chocolate would’ve been better. I want my $5 back and my Twitter account deleted. Get it together, Starbucks workers.

5/10 – Irish Cold Cream Brew

Coffee drinkers, this one’s for you. The foam at the top of the cup helps articulate the bitterness of this drink, which resembles an iced coffee. Curious as to what “Irish cream” is? I was, too. It is basically the classic Starbucks vanilla sweet cream and syrup with a sprinkle of cocoa powder on top. Its bitterness is not for everyone, but if you are a coffee lover, this is perfect. It is a beautiful drink that once again does not hold a lot of holiday flavor, so I am keeping it at the bottom of the list, even with its amazing taste.

7/10 – Chestnut Praline Latte
I was hesitant to order this, but in order to accomplish my mission of buying every holiday drink, I did. And overall, I was pretty happy with my decision. The drink really tasted like its ingredients, which is not always common with a Starbucks drink. However, there was too much sweetness in this drink, and next time I would modify it to have one less pump of syrup. Personally, I like chestnuts and pralines, but mixed together, the taste was not my favorite. It had a hint of burnt popcorn, which I almost actually enjoyed because of how warm of a feeling it gave off. It was festive, but had a spicy flair and the first sip tasted similar to a bowl of Lucky Charms. Because of all of the flavors mixed into this, it turned out to be something that was not cohesive with my palette so early in the morning.

7/10 Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte

I promise you, I tried to the best of my ability to finish this drink, but I could not. The only person who can finish this drink is the five-year-old child on a sugar rush who lives off of cavities and sugar. Trust me, if you’re older than five and you manage to finish this drink, I applaud you. For the smallest size available, the amount of sugar in this drink is most likely equivalent to diabetes in a cup. However, this drink hit home for me in the sense that it truly deserved to belong on the holiday menu. The first sip immediately had a kick, and reminded me of the song “Jingle Bell Rock.” It tasted like a classic sugar Christmas cookie. If I had asked for two less pumps of syrup, this would have definitely been my number one ranked drink.

7.5/10 Caramel Brulee Latte

I was determined to find at least one drink that could give me the feeling of sitting by a fireplace in an old fashioned log cabin. As in any Starbucks flavored latte, the latte is wholly hidden by pumps of syrup, milk, and a light coat of foam on top. There was definitely a strong caramel flavor with some nice notes of cinnamon. .This latte is buttery and creamy, but has just too much sweetness and not enough latte. Immediately, this gave off the classic holiday taste I was looking for throughout the day, but it failed to top my list because I was distracted by how artificial the caramel tasted. The festivity of this drink was obvious from the start, but I think the whipped cream and additional caramel bits on top are completely unnecessary given how rich and sugar coated this drink already is on its own.

10/10 – Toasted White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino
There was no doubt in my mind that this drink won the holiday selection of Starbucks refreshments. The presentation was the nicest, with dazzling colors from a light shade of amber to cotton candy pink sprinkles, which I admittedly thought were bacon bits when I first tried it. The appearance of the white chocolate was a bold move, yet added a nice flair of flavor to the drink, while the sprinkles gave it a nice crunch. It had the flavor of almost a nice festive vanilla iced latte. Overall, this was not as sweet as expected and had just the right balance to give off a nice holiday presentation.

Overall Experience:
A good overall experience. Some drinks I would get again, others not so much. A shout out to all the Starbucks workers:I may or may not have spilled all my drinks walking out of the store, but they gave me free refills on all of them, so my overall impression of Starbucks changed for a decent two seconds until I realized they still spelled my name wrong on my drink cups. Happy sugar and caffeine rushes, everyone!