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Over the last few months, I’ve developed a coffee problem. At this point, it’s an ‘occupational’ hazard for online students. Even after I switched to decaf, I found myself at Starbucks more often than not. I realized that I could make most of these drinks at home, and with our stay-at-home orders extended again, there’s no harm in spending less time in coffee shops. Over the last week, I’ve been sampling Starbucks’ holiday drinks, so I can tell you how these homemade versions compare. And let me tell you, I may never leave my house again. 

Peppermint Mocha

My expectations for this one weren’t high because I’m not a huge fan of peppermint, and the Starbucks version is always too sweet for me. I was pleasantly surprised after making it, though, because it tasted just like an After Eight bar.

You can find the recipe here
This recipe was pretty straightforward, but there were some other recipes online that called for baking chocolate, which I’m sure would also taste great. I also went a bit light on the peppermint extract, and even then it was still peppermint-y.

Eggnog Latte

This drink might be my favourite to make at home. It’s super easy and always comes out tasting great. My go-to order from Starbucks is the gingerbread latte (whatever they put in there is the closest thing to magic I’ve found), but if I’m at home, it’s eggnog latte all the way. 

Here’s the recipe I used

This recipe makes two coffees, but for one drink I used 1 cup of eggnog, a little under a ½ cup of milk (usually oat, but whatever floats your boat), and one shot of espresso. 

I know not everyone likes eggnog; if you think about it too hard, the egg-ness of it becomes grossly apparent. If you’re a fan, though, I can’t recommend this drink more.

Gingerbread Latte

I’m no stranger to the gingerbread latte. I’ve ordered it a ridiculous number of times since Starbucks released their holiday menu, so I was eager to make it at home and preserve its magic year-round. 

Most of the recipes I found involved making a gingerbread syrup, and, if I’m honest, I’m way too lazy for that. I found a workaround, though, as I kept seeing the same spices in each recipe: nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon (sound familiar? It’s very close to the pumpkin spice latte, minus the pumpkin purée). I decided to combine those with some milk and brown sugar myself.

I used 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and ½ teaspoon of each spice. I heated the mixture in a pot on medium and then added it to a shot of espresso (or strong coffee) and voila! Gingerbread latte! 

I’ll admit that I definitely took the easy route and that with that syrup it would have probably tasted even better, but it was pretty good. This one isn’t a total match to the Starbucks drink, and I’ll probably still find myself in there every so often, but it’s still a great option for those cold winter mornings.
I’ve included a recipe as well. This isn’t exactly what I did but it should still work.

I hope one of these recipes sparked your fancy. If they didn’t, I know there are a ton out there to try out (just hopefully not all on the same day). Now that school is wrapping up for the year, everyone has a little more free time, and hopefully some of it can be spent doing things that make you happy, like making festive drinks!

Sierra is a second-year student at UVic, studying philosophy, sociology and all things human. When she's not studying, she loves finding new recipes, watching crime dramas and roaming the aisles of Russell Books.
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