The Annual Starbucks Holiday Drink Review Returns

The Globe staff review five holiday-themed drinks from Starbucks…find out which one came out on top.

Hannah Mehler and Florence Haines

Although we all enjoy the spooky festivities associated with Halloween, and the beautiful change of seasons that follow with the arrival of thanksgiving, what we’re really all grateful for is the arrival of Starbucks’ holiday beverages.  Whether you enjoy coffee or not, we highly suggest that you visit Starbucks at least once between the beginning of November to mid January and grab one of these limited edition drinks before they’re gone!

Of the five drinks selected, only one proved itself victorious.  Now, for the spread: the Chestnut Praline Latte, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte, Peppermint Mocha and Caramel Brûlée Latte. After careful consideration, the annual holiday drink rankings have finally arrived. These rankings range from a scale of 1, being the absolute worst, to 10, meaning practically perfection. These decisions were made based on both flavor and appearance. 

Last (and certainly least) is the toasted white chocolate mocha, which received a 3/10. There isn’t a single hint of mocha within the drink, as the name misleadingly promises, and the “white chocolate” flavor that students look forward to in this drink is non-existent.  Instead you’re given an artificial sweetness that almost tastes like a marshmallow frappuccino but in the worst way possible. To really finish off strong, the whipped cream on top only adds to the unnatural sweetness, as there’s not a strong difference in the cream and the actual drink’s flavoring.  If you despise the taste of coffee, but want to pretend that it’s something you enjoy, then supposedly this could be for you, but otherwise you should stay as far away from it as possible.

Despite the positive reputation held by the Sugar Cookie Latte, this drink didn’t live up to our excitement, therefore this drink received a below average, 4/10 rating. This drink was overbearingly sweet and lacked the balance provided by espresso. While we could see the vision that inspired this drink, the execution was less than substantial. The flavor was incredibly artificial and overwhelming. Although the sugar cookie flavor was spot on and reminded us of the iconic Pillsbury Sugar Cookies, this drink was unbearably sweet. Similar to the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, if you aren’t a fan of coffee, yet would still like to join in on the holiday festivities, this drink is for you. 

In third place fell the Caramel Brulée Latte. Although definitely sweet, the espresso was still noticeable and allowed for sufficient balance throughout the drink. For those who are a fan of the caramel latte, this latte had perfect caramel tones, with an extra layer of depth provided by the bitter brulée. Although this drink was good, it did not stand out as a holiday drink, and was not extremely memorable. Therefore, this drink received a considerable third place ranking and scored a 6/10. 

Next up is the chestnut praline. Although the brown sugar crystals sprinkled atop the whipped cream weren’t the most appealing, the rich, sophisticated taste completely made up for that. The drink promises a nutty flavor, and perfectly delivers, the whipped cream on top perfectly complimenting the savory drink. However, as much as the drink wowed us, is it truly festive? There’s nothing holiday-themed about the drink, and although it’s delicious, it feels as if it could be served anytime of year. The overall flavoring is amazing, and for that reason, this drink receives an 8/10.

The Peppermint Mocha left us pleasantly surprised. Skeptical of the coffee-peppermint combination, this drink greatly surpassed our expectations. The refreshing cool taste of mint cut the sweet flavor profile of the mocha. The bitter undertone of espresso was the perfect touch to make this a balanced drink. This drink was rich, yet still balanced and perfect for the holiday season with just enough festive flavor. Although this drink was certainly delicious, the lack of coffee flavor allowed for false advertisement, and prevented it from receiving a perfect score. The Peppermint Mocha is packed with flavors of nostalgia, earning it a 9/10 and first place ranking.

If you’re ever in need of holiday cheer, these drinks, along with other limited-edition holiday treats available at starbucks through mid-January, will definitely brighten up your day!