The day that Starbucks holiday drinks become available might as well be a national holiday at this point. It’s always extremely big news on The Everygirl team, and we all share our thoughts on the new drinks they’ve added, the iconic red cups, and what everyone’s getting as their first holiday drink of the year.
When the Starbucks fall drinks were released, we decided to take it up a notch and share our comprehensive ranking of every drink. You all loved it and we loved doing it, so of course we had to do the same for the holiday drinks.
We once again gathered four taste testers to try nine (yes, nine) Starbucks holiday drinks, but we learned a few valuable lessons from last time and made some minor modifications to the ranking process. First and foremost, we decided to forego the journey of trekking through the streets of Chicago in the freezing cold (and sleet) with nine drinks in hand in favor of getting them delivered—don’t worry, they package them all up neatly in a bag to make the job easier for delivery drivers.
After the great oat milk debacle last time (which is just that Starbucks is always out of oat milk), we also decided against any modifications this time around. We ordered every drink exactly as it appears on the menu so that we could get the true experience of how the drinks were intended to be made. Also, we really established that we’re ranking these drinks purely on taste and festiveness, not on how often we would order them.
So here is—drumroll please—The Everygirl’s official ranking of every holiday drink at Starbucks, from worst to best:
9. Caramel Brulée Latte
OK, this latte is not bad by any means. It’s just that in a world of holiday drinks, this was the least festive of the bunch. It pretty much just tastes like a normal caramel latte, which you can get at any time of the year. The words used to describe it during the taste test were “boring” and “forgettable”—which is honestly so mean, and I am sorry to this latte!
8. Irish Cream Cold Brew
Let me just start by saying I fought for this cold brew to not be dead last. I actually enjoyed it, but my fellow taste testers did not, and thus it ended up at spot #8. If you like coffee with Bailey’s, you will like this drink. However, the main reason the majority disliked it was: “If I’m drinking something that tastes like alcohol, it should have alcohol in it.” Fair point, I suppose.
7. Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino
The main reason this frap ranked so low is because it just wasn’t very flavorful. In the words of one of our taste testers, “It just tastes like an Andes mint blended with ice.” For some reason, when a Peppermint Mocha is made into a Frappuccino, it loses that coffee-meets-chocolate flavor that we all know and love.
6. Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte
Ah, the shiny new addition to the Starbucks holiday menu. This one has been all over social media, so we were all super excited to try it and share our thoughts. Here’s the thing about this: It’s good, but in order to make it something that’s actually enjoyable, you have to modify it. We all thought it was much too sweet with the default four pumps of Sugar Cookie Syrup in a Grande (and that was especially noticeable in the iced version). We would recommend switching to two or even one.
5. Toasted White Mocha
A White Chocolate Mocha is one of my favorite treat-yourself drinks at Starbucks, no matter the time of year, so I was super excited to try this one. The difference between this “toasted” version and the regular is the syrup used—this one is described as a “caramelized white chocolate” flavor. We all liked this and agreed that it was a lovely special treat for the holiday season, but we weren’t blown away, which is how it earned its rightful spot in the middle.
4. Peppermint Mocha
The #1 reason this drink earned a spot so high is because of pure nostalgia. There’s just something about taking a sip of a Peppermint Mocha in a Starbucks red cup that transports you right back to feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s a true classic, and we all agreed that we like to have at least one per year. Starbucks hack: One of our taste testers suggests getting your favorite regular latte with peppermint syrup if you like the peppermint flavor but not mocha.
3. Hot Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte
For some reason, there was a group consensus that this hot version of the Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte was superior to the iced version—so much so that it’s ranked a whole three spots ahead. It has the perfect balance of a special holiday treat that is also subtle enough to replace your usual Starbucks order. But again, if you’re not a big fan of super sweet coffees, you might want to modify this one slightly to have less pumps of syrup. One of our taste testers even said that she would “have one of these every day if she could.”
2. Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Frappuccino
Once again, a Frappuccino makes its way into the top two. This drink is definitely sweet, but there was just something so good about it—we couldn’t stop talking about it and needed to rank it this high. Although you’re probably not ordering this every time you go to Starbucks, it’s the perfect festive holiday treat. It even earned a “I would have it every day if it wasn’t a literal milkshake” from one taste tester.
1. Chestnut Praline Latte
If there was ever a drink that tasted exactly like Christmas, it’s the Chestnut Praline Latte. One taste tester described it as tasting “exactly like those roasted nuts you can get in Central Park,” so if that doesn’t convince you to try it, I don’t know what will. It tastes extremely festive, but it’s not too sweet like some of the other options—so it has the potential to become your go-to Starbucks order during the season versus a one-time special treat.