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Which Holiday Drinks at Starbucks are Worth the Money: From a Starbucks Barista

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I started working at Starbucks as a barista in September. I’m not sure if it’s the friendly hipster-indie allure that every Starbucks barista seems to give off, the fast-paced cafe environment, or simply the bragging rights of knowing how to make every Starbucks drink, but I always wanted to work at Starbucks while in college. I quickly learned that the holidays are an exciting time for Starbucks employees and customers alike. For weeks we talked about how much the store would be changing, our new red aprons, holiday decorations, and of course, the seasonal drinks. 

As someone who rarely bought coffee from Starbucks before having worked there, I never quite knew what each drink was and could barely make out what to order on the menu. I didn’t feel like spending $5-7 on a drink that I wasn’t sure I would even like. Now that I am actually the one making these drinks, I’m here to tell you what is in each holiday drink on the Starbucks holiday menu this season. 

To start, each one of these drinks can be made hot or iced and can be adjusted depending on which milk is used (the standard is 2%), as well as the quantity of espresso shots and syrup. They can also be made decaf, but honestly we could all use the caffeine. Some of these drinks are also available as frappuccinos. 

Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte

This latte consists of sugar cookie-flavored syrup, blonde espresso shots, steamed almond milk, topped with red and green sprinkles. This drink is perfect for those seeking a sweet dairy-free holiday drink. 

Irish Cream Cold Brew

I’m a huge fan of the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew at Starbucks, and this drink follows a similar pattern. It’s cold brew with irish cream-flavored syrup, topped with vanilla sweet cream cold foam sprinkled with cocoa powder. The cold foam settles its way throughout the cold brew, making it not too dark of a coffee. If you’re looking for a subtle-tasting, cold holiday drink, try this one out. 

Caramel Brulee Latte

This is one of my favorites this year, since I love any caramel-flavored coffee drinks. This latte consists of Starbucks’ caramel brulee sauce, espresso shots and steamed milk, with whipped cream and a caramel brulee topping. If you’re looking for a caramel-tasting coffee, order this on your next Starbucks trip. 

Chestnut Praline Latte

Another seasonal latte at Starbucks, this drink follows the same pattern as the caramel brulee, except the sauce is chestnut praline. It also has whipped cream and a chestnut praline topping. 

Toasted White Chocolate Mocha

One of the more popular holiday drinks at Starbucks, this drink has espresso shots with steamed milk, toasted white chocolate mocha sauce, whipped cream, and white and red sprinkles. This is an all-time favorite for many customers, and I highly recommend you try one this year. 

Peppermint Mocha

Saving the best for last, the Peppermint Mocha has been offered at Starbucks for 19 years. Having been a seasonal drink, customers have only been able to enjoy this minty-chocolatey coffee drink during the winter months, however it’s actually available year round. It consists of peppermint syrup, mocha sauce, espresso and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and dark chocolate curls. If you really find yourself enjoying this drink, enjoy the iced version of this during the Summer months!

Hopefully you have a better idea of what these drinks are and are interested in trying them, if you haven’t already. If you’re not that much of a coffee drinker, there’s always hot chocolate on the menu which never disappoints!

Sara is a third-year Visual and Media Arts Major at Emerson College. Raised in Port Chester, NY she spends most of her time in her favorite city in the world: New York. She uses writing as a creative and healing outlet, writing about her passion for music with concert/album reviews, film and photography, and discovery and personal growth.
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