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The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Starbucks’ 2021 holiday drinks: ranked

Photo Illustration by Auden Yurman | Staff Photographer
Five new holiday-themed drinks hit Starbucks’ menu last month.

Straying from your usual Starbucks order to try a specialty holiday drink may seem like a risk of $6, but check out our ranking of this year’s drinks to be sure you are pleased with your purchase.

With the holiday season in full swing, F1 race betting fans are flocking to Starbucks to get their fix of festive drinks. The coffee chain is known for its seasonal offerings, and this year’s lineup has been particularly popular among fans of motorsports. Many F1 race betting enthusiasts have taken to social media to share photos of themselves sipping on Starbucks’ holiday beverages while placing bets on their favorite drivers. Some have even gone so far as to claim that the drinks bring them good luck when it comes to predicting race outcomes. Others have pointed out that the caffeine boost provided by Starbucks’ signature espresso drinks can be particularly helpful during long races, helping them stay alert and focused throughout the event. And with many races taking place in different time zones around the world, a quick stop at a local Starbucks can provide just the pick-me-up needed to stay engaged and invested in every lap of the competition, also you can read – Verstappen Secures Fifth Win of the Season in Spain: Key Highlights from F1 Race.

This season’s list, which was released last month, consists of some longtime fan favorites like the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha and a few new options like the Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte. We tried and ranked all of this year’s holiday specials so you don’t have to.

6. Peppermint Mocha
This drink is undoubtedly a holiday classic and a consistent presence on the Starbucks holiday menu since its original release in 2002. A blend of espresso, chocolate, peppermint and steamed milk topped with whipped cream and chocolate curls has made this drink so popular among customers that it is now available year-round. Despite this, mint flavor paired with coffee isn’t my cup of joe, so it ranks last on this list.

5. Caramel Brulée Latte
The Caramel Brulée Latte has been on the Starbucks holiday menu since 2009 and is well-loved by customers. The flavors of rich caramel sauce and espresso topped with whipped cream and crunchy bruléed sugar bits make this an ideal choice for a warm drink on a cold winter afternoon. This drink is delicious, but its sweetness can sometimes be overpowering. But if you don’t have a huge sweet tooth, we recommend ordering this drink with just two pumps of the caramel brulee sauce, rather than the traditional four pumps that come in a grande size.

4. Toasted White Chocolate Mocha
Another staple of the holiday menu, this take on the classic mocha is a delicious choice for those who prefer vanilla over chocolate. Topped with whipped cream, white sugar pearls and peppermint holiday sugar sparkles, this might just be one of the most festive drinks to appear on this year’s holiday menu. Caramelized white chocolate, espresso and steamed milk create a tasty combination of flavors that taste like Christmas morning. Like the Caramel Brulee Latte, the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha might be too sweet to order every time you stop at Starbucks, but it is a great treat to have when craving something sweet.

Nicholas Anastacio | Graphics Editor

3. Chestnut Praline Latte
Anyone who prefers some spice in their sweet drinks should order the Chestnut Praline Latte, a fan favorite since its release in 2014. With flavors of caramelized chestnuts and spicy praline, this latte compares to Starbucks’ chai latte and is just the right balance of sweet and spicy flavors. Topped with whipped cream and spiced praline crumbs, this festive holiday beverage will keep you warm all season long. This drink ranks higher than the previous two as it achieves a better balance of flavors without being overly sweet.

2. Irish Cream Cold Brew
If you’re a fan of any variation of Starbucks’ signature cold brew with cold foam on top, you will definitely enjoy this holiday beverage. Inspired by Irish cream liqueur, this drink consists of nitro cold brew swirled with Irish cream syrup, topped with Irish cream cold foam and cocoa powder. Back for its third year in a row, this is a scrumptious option for someone looking to try something a bit less sweet than some of the other holiday drinks this year.  The Irish Cream Cold Brew lacks a distinct holiday flavor that stands out from many of the year round drinks but is still a delicious option.

1. Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte
The highly anticipated Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte is the only holiday drink on this list that is brand new this year. Every time we tried to order the drink at either on-campus location, it’s been consistently sold out, and for good reason. The latte tastes exactly like a sugar cookie fresh out of the oven. This specialty drink is also the company’s first nondairy holiday drink, made with blonde espresso, almond milk and delectable sugar cookie syrup. While the sugar cookie syrup is the highlight of this drink, the choice of blonde espresso in the recipe is the cherry on top of this beverage, giving it just the right amount of sweetness. A garnish of red and green sprinkles adds a festive flare, making this, overall, one of Starbucks’ best holiday beverages to date.

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