The red cups at Starbucks have always been a symbol of the holiday season. Whether you’re walking around to see the Christmas lights, enjoying a night in filled with cheesy holiday movies or simply craving a feel-good treat when the weather gets colder, Starbucks holiday drinks are a family tradition. However, most people don’t even know all the possible options Starbucks offers for its seasonal drinks. This year, I made it my goal to find the best-tasting holiday drink by trying every single one. In order to prevent you from ordering an underwhelming drink in the future, here is an honest review and ranking of each Starbucks holiday drink from worst to best.
#12. Juniper Latte
This is actually the most recent addition to the holiday collection. It has been widely advertised as tasting like “a Christmas tree in a cup,” which should’ve been a red flag from the beginning. Unless you find the taste of pine in your coffee particularly appetizing and are ready to spend $5 on a drink lacking flavor, skip this one.
#11. Salted Caramel Mocha
For some reason this combination just didn’t work well together. The perfect balance between salty and sweet I was expecting was counteracted by the overpowering salted caramel. The chocolate in the mocha was less prominent than I would’ve hoped, and I think there was just a little too much going on in one drink.
#10. Toasted White Chocolate Mocha
Although I ranked this one pretty low, it’s actually a pretty good drink. The disappointing thing about it was that it just tasted like a typical plain white mocha. I had high expectations with everyone telling me it tasted like a toasted marshmallow, but I was ultimately left disappointed.
#9. Gingerbread Latte
The gingerbread latte is a good choice for anyone who enjoys the flavor of holiday spices. The drink bursts with nutmeg and cinnamon and pairs well with coconut milk. However, if you’re expecting it to taste like an actual gingerbread cookie (like I was), don’t get your hopes up.
#8. Christmas Blend Coffee
I had to rank the classic Starbucks Christmas blend a little high just because you really can’t go wrong with it. Whether you pair it with half and half or almond milk, it’s the perfect substitute for your basic cup of coffee but with the essence of holiday warmth. It also pairs well with the seasonal Cranberry Bliss Bars.
#7. Eggnog Latte
I’m not usually someone who reaches for eggnog during the holidays, so this one wasn’t my favorite. However, if you are an eggnog lover, you MUST try this one. Everyone I know who does enjoy eggnog swears it is the best drink for the holidays. It’s pretty sweet, but I recommend adding a shot of espresso to balance it out.
#6. Peppermint Hot Chocolate
If you’re looking for something without caffeine, this is the perfect late-night treat that always reminds me of the holidays. Starbucks hot cocoa is super rich and pairs so well with its peppermint syrup.
#5. Caramel Brulee Latte
While the salted caramel mocha may have misused some of its flavors, the caramel brulee had the perfect essence of salted caramel. Surprisingly, it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet or heavy and I would definitely order it again.
#4. White Peppermint Mocha
This one is the perfect option if you are looking for more of a dessert or treat, considering it’s one of the sweetest drinks out of all the ones I’ve tried. It definitely overshadowed the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha and even gave me another option for when I need breaks from my beloved classic Peppermint Mocha.
#3. Chestnut Praline Latte
Chestnut Praline was another pleasant surprise from this experience and now has become one of my favorite coffee drinks of all time. It’s the perfect option for a long day at school or work and provides a sense of warmth with its subtle flavors. I recommend trying it with coconut milk!
#2. Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate
This is definitely another dessert drink option, but I swear this drink tastes exactly like a snickerdoodle cookie in liquid form. The barista told me they actually use a white chocolate base for the cocoa and then add their cinnamon dolce syrup to create this delicious concoction. It has been the consistent crowd favorite of my family and friends this season.
#1. Peppermint Mocha
Last and certainly not least is my long-time favorite, the Peppermint Mocha. I admit I may be a little biased because I have been ordering this drink every holiday season for as long as I can remember. It’s just a classic taste of the holidays with the rich mocha and peppermint, without any excessive flavors. It will always be my go-to!
Paige Holloway is a Communication and Sociology major as well a write and assistant editor for On the Menu. Her interests include fitness, traveling and drinking iced coffee.