The Best Starbucks Holiday Drinks, Ranked
Starbucks released its fall menu earlier than ever this year (ya know, since we all really needed it), and now their 2020 winter drinks have arrived. Just so you know exactly what to order, we’ve ranked the best Starbucks holiday drinks to sip on from sweater season through New Year’s. Consider it an early Christmas gift.
10. Eggnog Latte
This Christmas sipper is arguably as divisive as holiday fruitcake: Most people either love it or hate it. If you’re a fan of eggnog on its own, the latte is worth a try. Made with steamed eggnog and espresso, it’s rich and creamy—texturally, just like the eggnog you sipped as a kid while opening stockings—but flavor-wise, it’s as if the steaming and heating of the eggnog strips it of its melted ice cream-like qualities. Its sweetness is far subtler, thanks to the bitter espresso. Those of you who prefer your lattes without flavored syrup should give it a go.
9. Salted Caramel Mocha Latte
Best to try in hot chocolate
OK, hear us out: There’s nothing wrong with this salty-sweet mashup of mocha sauce, toffee nut syrup, espresso and steamed milk. But if we’re being honest, it’s super sweet, and we’re not always in the mood for a coffee that tastes like liquid dessert. So, this holiday flavor is our go-to whenever we’re really craving a treat, like hot cocoa. That way, we can get our fix without having to sacrifice the buzz from our morning java to an inevitable sugar crash.
8. Santa Claus Frappuccino
Rookie of the year
While the Santa Claus Frappuccino isn't officially on the Starbucks menu (it's the invention of Totally the Bomb), it's gone viral this winter, thanks to its festive appearance and fun flavors. It's just a vanilla bean Frap, which comes coffee-free, dressed up with swirls of strawberry syrup. Don't get us wrong, it's never too cold out for an icy salted caramel Frappuccino. But we feel the official Starbucks holiday flavors tend to shine brightest when served hot in a latte or cocoa. The Santa Claus has no hot alternative (other than maybe a strawberry milk steamer, which we can also totally get behind).
7. Chestnut Praline Latte
You forgot about this one, huh? You’re not alone—it’s easy to neglect this flavor among so many menu heavyweights, especially if you never stray from your usual order. But we’re here to make a case for this underappreciated sipper. Steamed milk and espresso meet silky notes of caramelized chestnuts and warm spices for a cozy, sweet bev that won’t knock you over the head with holly-jolly flourishes. While it doesn’t have bright red sugar sprinkles or in-your-face seasonal flavor, it’s a nutty, balanced pick that we think deserves more credit. Come on, it’s topped with spiced praline crumbs. Need we say more?
6. Caramel Brulée Latte
Best for newbies
Even if you’ve never tried a Starbucks holiday drink, we’re pretty damn positive you’d enjoy this one. It stars rich, buttery Caramel Brulée sauce, inspired by crème brûlée’s layer of torched sugar. The pretty caramel brulée topping mimics the crunch of burnt sugar even further. While it has all the sweet, comforting traits of a standard caramel latte, this pick has a spiced, almost smoky nuance to it that we get psyched for every single year.
5. Gingerbread Latte
We’ve begrudgingly forgiven Starbucks since they nixed this holiday mainstay from the menu last year. However, allow us to wax poetic about this classic that’s alive and well in our hearts. The flavor syrup is modeled after one of the most old-school Christmas treats around, so despite its modest appearance, it puts us in the holiday spirit at first sip. Loaded with notes of warm spices like ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon, steamed milk beautifully rounds out the latte’s intensity. We hope to see it reclaim its rightful place on the menu, and definitely won’t stop talking about it until it does.
4. Toasted Caramel Brulée Cold Brew
Best flavor mashup
The Salted Caramel Mocha is a mix of toffee nut and mocha syrups. The Peppermint Mocha is a blend of...well, it's in the name. But this secret menu gem, created by Totally the Bomb, stars two holiday flavors that we had no idea were soulmates—until we tasted it, that is. The Toasted Caramel Brulée Cold Brew is made with both caramel brulée and toasted white mocha sauces for a collab that's rich with notes of marshmallow, caramelized butter and burnt sugar. It's topped with caramel brulée-infused sweet cream, but you'll *definitely* want to ask the barista for whipped cream and the crunchy caramel brulée topping, too. Thank us later.
3. Toasted White Chocolate Mocha
Best to try iced
It’s basically an elevated white mocha. Imagine the white mocha you sip on year-round—only infused with toasted marshmallow and topped with the most festive candy pearls and sprinkles you’ve ever seen. The sauce has a caramelized white chocolate flavor that we straight-up can’t get enough of. In fact, we add it to our cold brew every chance we get. Both hot and iced, the latte has a super smooth, almost luxurious mouthfeel and just the right amount of sweetness, thanks to the thick sauce.
2. Pumpkin Spice Latte
The PSL is that b**** for a reason. Coffee drinkers dream of the pumpkin syrup months ahead of fall. Bursting with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, the PSL is as autumnal as coffee can get—and even if you’re not totally obsessed with it, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something flat-out wrong with it. Try your hand at making one at home. We’ve also grown loyal to the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, sweetened with vanilla syrup and topped with pumpkin cream cold foam.
1. Peppermint Mocha
Best to try as a Frappuccino
Consider this a cup of liquid holiday bark. Decadent mocha sauce meets cool peppermint syrup, roasty espresso and steamed milk for a festive mashup that’s sure to stand the test of time. Like the Salted Caramel Mocha, the Peppermint Mocha is a bit of a sugar bomb because it’s made with more than one flavor syrup. That’s why we enjoy this enduring combination most in a Frappuccino; the blended ice and milk help dilute the sweetness. But don’t get us wrong: Just because it’s sweet doesn’t mean we’re skipping the whipped cream or the dark chocolate curls.