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From a Starbucks Barista: My Favorite Holiday Starbucks Drinks

As a Starbucks barista, I’ve had the opportunity to try pretty much every Starbucks drink. Some are great, some not so much. That being said, here are my top 5 recommendations of totally not basic but warm and delicious drinks and some tips on making them taste even better. So the next time you’re at the register, wondering if you should get the Pumpkin Spice Latte for the fifth time this week, pull up this list and try something else!

5. Salted Caramel Mocha

This drink is a wonderful warm mix of mocha and toffee nut, espresso, milk, whipped cream, caramel drizzle and (my favorite part) sea salt topping! It usually comes in latte form, but feel free to ask for it as a frap too, if you’re feeling like it!

Customization: As with a lot of drinks of Starbucks’ menu, this is super sweet. This drink comes with 4 pumps of mocha syrup and 4 pumps of toffee nut syrup in a Grande, equaling 8 pumps with all the other sugary stuff. I would definitely recommend asking for 1 or 2 less pumps (of both syrups) than the usual amount. And some extra sea salt topping because the saltiness just balances out the sweet so well.

4. Peppermint Hot Chocolate

If you’re looking for some hot chocolate with an extra added mintiness, go for the Peppermint Hot Chocolate. The Peppermint Mocha is so popular during this holiday time, and this is the same thing just without the espresso shots.

Customization: This also comes with a lot of pumps of peppermint and mocha syrup, so if you think it’s too sweet be sure to ask for 1 or 2 less pumps of each!

3. Caramel Brulee Latte

This is, by far, my favorite of the holiday lattes. Made with our seasonal caramel brulee syrup, this latte is to die for.

Customization: If you’re looking for extra creaminess (and this applies to any drink made with milk), ask for whole milk or half and half instead of our standard 2%. If you’re looking to cut back, ask for 1% milk, fat free, our non-dairy options, or for the drink to be made with no whipped cream (which is where a lot of the extra calories unknowingly go).

2. Caramel Apple Spice

If you love apple cider like I do, this drink is your best friend. Made with cinnamon dolce syrup, steamed apple juice, whipped cream and caramel drizzle, this drink will just make you feel warm inside.

Customization: I often ask for a Grande Caramel Apple Spice with 1.5 pumps of cinnamon dolce, 1.5 pumps of chai, and 1.5 pumps of pumpkin spice steamed with nutmeg in the apple juice. That’s how my fellow Starbucks barista always makes it for me. He calls it his own secret-menu winter drink.

1. Chai Eggnog Latte

I know this sounds odd, but don’t bash it before you try it. This drink comes with chai, hot water, eggnog, and nonfat milk and can be customized for you to add espresso shots to it. This is such a hidden treasure on the menu and it is divine.

Customization: I often get the chai eggnog latte with no hot water, which really lets you get more bang for your buck and, in my opinion, makes the drink even creamier.

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Rozi Xu


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