Starbucks’ sweet seasonal selections: which ones slay?


Victoria Liu

Starbucks’ holiday drinks are full of promise on a frigid Friday afternoon.

Beginning November 3rd, Starbucks’ holiday menu is officially back and better than ever. But with six seasonal drinks to choose from, how’s one to know which one to get on a cold, wintery afternoon? Here is Starbucks’ entire holiday menu ranked from best to worst based on taste, presentation, and price.

Starting with this season’s winner, the classic Peppermint Mocha! This drink is a solid 9.25/10. From its smooth, chocolaty base to its subtle coffee flavor, no one can go wrong with this refreshing classic. This drink perfectly embodies the holiday spirit and one can’t help but imagine the whipped cream on top as a huge mound of snow, waiting to be jumped in.

Second place goes to the Caramel Brulée Latte, receiving an average of 8.5/10.
Sereena, a barista at Starbucks, made her first Caramel Brulée Latte for this review. After adding a shot of espresso, half a cup of milk, and a large scoop of ice, she topped the latte off with whipped cream and caramel brulée bits.

Sereena described the latte as smooth but flavorful. “The caramel brulée sounds all bougie, but really it’s just a thicker sauce with that iconic toasted flavor we’re known for. I like it because it’s something I could get every day if I wanted to and I wouldn’t get sick of it,” she explained.

Receiving third place is the Irish Cream Cold Brew, Starbucks’ classic cold brew infused with Irish cream syrup and cocoa-topped cold foam, averaging an 8/10. This also is the cheapest holiday drink, only $5.25 for a grande.

Laurie, a longtime Starbucks customer, recommends this drink for those who love strong coffee. “It’ll give you that caffeine kick with a sweet first impression… not only is the foam delicious, but it also adds a unique layer to the drink I find myself craving,” she stated.

In fourth place is the Chestnut Praline Latte. This drink gets a 7.5/10; while the nuttiness was loud and clear, the “caramelized chestnuts and spices” didn’t pop out. But this latte was comforting enough and the spiced praline crumbs on top are delightful.

In fifth place is the Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte with a rating of 6.5/10. To be frank, this drink is disappointing, even with the added whipped cream and sprinkles on top. The first few sips taste oddly salty and aren’t reminiscent of sugar cookies. However, substituting the almond milk with oat milk takes the latte to a whole new level; that’s recommended over the original.

Last place goes to the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, with a rating of 6/10. This drink was good, but it wasn’t much different from Starbucks’ original white mocha. It tasted a bit burnt, and the white chocolate flavor pretty much took over the whole drink, leaving not enough coffee flavor. However, the red holiday sprinkles on top provided a festive visual.

Overall, Starbucks’ holiday menu is full of winter spirit and has a drink for every mood, whether you prefer a smooth latte, intense cold brew, or chocolaty mocha.