Sweet holiday treats abound as the holidays approach – including Starbucks’ seasonal drinks, which returned in their signature red cups Thursday along with a brand new menu item: the “Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte.”
With the new sugar cookie latte plus five other drink options including Peppermint Mocha, Chestnut Praline Latte, Caramel Brulee Latte and Toasted White Chocolate Mocha and Irish Cream Cold Brew, it could be hard to choose the right caffeinated ornament to garnish your morning.
So, USA TODAY’s Morgan Hines tried and rated them all.
‘Chestnut Praline Latte’: 9/10
Have you ever had a drink prompt a song to start playing in your head? The “Chestnut Praline Latte” did that for me. One sip and Nat King Cole began crooning the first line of “The Christmas Song” on repeat: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”
The drink features “flavors of caramelized chestnuts and spices” and is topped with whipped cream and crumbs of praline.
If I needed one taste to ready my palette for the holiday season, this was it.
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‘Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte’: 5/10
The “Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte” – inspired by spritz cookies and made with sugar cookie syrup, almond milk Starbucks Blonde Espresso and topped with green and red cookie sprinkles – is Starbucks’ newest holiday drink and is also available hot.
While I love a spritz, I didn’t love this. To its credit, the drink did taste like a sugar cookie but I only lasted two sips. I am sad to report that the sprinkles melted a bit in the iced drink after a few minutes and it looked increasingly less appetizing.
I’ll be sticking to solid cookies.
‘Peppermint Mocha’: 10/10
While I’m not huge on sugary drinks, I have had a love for Starbucks’ “Peppermint Mocha” since my freshman year of college and it remains rock solid.
The drink, which features espresso, steamed milk and mocha sauce and peppermint syrup, makes me think of candy canes and chocolate, two seasonal favorites and feels like a dessert.
‘Caramel Brulée Latte’: 7/10
With steamed milk and caramel brulée sauce and caramel brulée bits, this drink tastes like a dessert.
I enjoyed it but only lasted a few sips given how sugary it tasted.
‘Toasted White Chocolate Mocha’: 4/10
This drink features “caramelized white chocolate” and tastes fine but didn’t taste much different from a regular latte to me, just very sweet.
It tasted good but didn’t make me feel holiday-ready.
‘Irish Cream Cold Brew’: 8/10
This iced drink is among my favorites on Starbucks’ menu. I hadn’t had it in some time but it appeals to my personal taste more with about half the sugar of some of the lattes offered during the holiday season.
With a “vanilla sweet cream cold foam and a hint of cocoa” it is understated in a really good way and a delicious morning treat.