The Christmas season means different things to different people, and to us it means the Starbucks holiday drink menu is in full swing. It can mean family, presents or even just time off work. You may recognize the onset of the holidays by the sound of Christmas music, the appearance of the Coca Cola advert or the fact that Michael Buble is suddenly back on your TV.
And one of the biggest and most exciting changes comes in the form of the Starbucks holiday drinks. These are limited edition drinks that you can only get during Christmas. Essentially, they are transient additions to the Starbucks Secret Menu, and they are some of our favorite ones.
The Starbucks holiday drinks menu is always changing, but on this page you will find a fully updated version of this menu. So, if you want to hide away from that God-awful Christmas music and from Mr Buble’s soulful voice, or you just want to duck out of the cold, then slip into your local chain and enjoy these Starbucks holiday drinks.
Starbucks Holiday Drinks
A holiday is just another day, and one that often has very little to do with food (except for Food Holidays). Yet every holiday has its own taste–defining flavors that come to mind as soon as you think about that holiday. For thanksgiving, it’s turkey; for Halloween, it’s pumpkin spice. And for Christmas, it’s an amalgamation of fatty creams, warming spices and overriding sweetness.
Those are the flavors that these Starbucks holiday drinks try to capture, keeping you warm and cozy inside when Mother Nature is trying to freeze you on the outside.
2016 marked the 19th year that Starbucks offered a selection of Christmas drinks. During recent years, these drinks (or the hot ones, at least) have been served in the Starbucks red cup. In some countries, this cup is decorated with reindeer, snowflakes and other cool designs. In others, the red cup has actually caused a stir amongst Starbucks customers, because if you mess with someone’s morning routine before they’ve even had their first shot of caffeine, you’ll know about it.
Thankfully, this minor controversy ended without bloodshed and the red cups have since become a staple of the holidays.
Chestnut Praline Latte
This creamy drink combines a shot of brewed espresso with a thick, sweet, chestnut praline syrup and lashings of milk. All the spices of the season are here, including clove and cinnamon. It’s all topped off with a crumble of crunchy praline and a dollop of whipped cream.
This decadent treat is more fatty and creamy than it is spicy, but it’ll still warm your cockles. And with a heavy kick of espresso, a flavor that can be tasted in every sip, it’s sure to pep you up on those tiring Christmas mornings.
On our Starbucks Nutrition Info page we discussed how deceptively sugary and fattening some of these drinks can be. But while your tastebuds might tell you otherwise, this is actually quite light. There are just 330 calories in a 16 ounce serving, which puts it somewhere between a simple black coffee and a decadent hot chocolate.
Egg Nog Latte
Egg Nog is one of those rare once-a-year treats. It’s something we all rave about during the holidays, but something we avoid for the rest of the year. But with the Egg Nog Latte showing you a new side of this holiday drink, you might discover a new found adoration for it.
This Starbucks holiday drink is a little heavier on the calories than the Chestnut Praline Latte. A 16 ounce serving comes in at around 450 calories in total, on par with a hot chocolate. But there’s a reason for that, as the Egg Nog Latte combines a big serving of egg nog with extra milk and a shot of espresso. To finish it off there is a light dusting of seasonal nutmeg on the top, giving you a creamy, spicy mustache with every sip.
On the plus side, you’ll get a large dose of protein and calcium in each serving, which comes from the heavy dairy content.
Caramel Brûlée Latte
A caramel brûlée sauce is mixed with a cup of milk to create this sweet and sumptuous holiday drink. This is then infused with their popular brewed espresso, providing a huge kick of caffeine and adding that unmistakable coffee flavor.
The Caramel Brûlée is topped off with a generous squirt of whipped cream and little curls of caramel. If this sounds pretty fattening, then you would be right.
But it’s the season to be jolly, so let yourself go. You can worry about your diet in January.
Fudge Hot Chocolate
The words “Fudge Hot Chocolate” should be enough to tantalize your tastebuds, and this drink is every bit as decadent and delicious as it sounds. Many of the Starbucks holiday drinks are coffee based, and most of us need that extra hit of caffeine to get through the cold, the overindulgence and the family visits. But once the day is done and you’re looking to kick-back and relax with a little treat, then the Fudge Hot Chocolate is ideal.
This is a creamy, hot chocolate drink that is blended with cream to add an extra layer of indulgence, sending your worries into the ether with every sip. The drink is then topped with whipped cream and white chocolate curls.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Fudge Hot Chocolate is only available in select countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland. But let’s be honest, with subarctic conditions, they need it the most.
Ginger was made for Christmas. This warming spice is just what your body needs, and it works so well in so many sweet and savory dishes. The Gingerbread Latte makes use of a super-sweet ginger flavor, combining with a milky latte to produce a drink that is warm, sweet, creamy and packs a punch.
We have yet to receive reports of the Gingerbread Latte being available in the United States, with many customers suggesting that it’s not. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it is available in Canada. So, if you’re planning to emigrate anytime soon, then be sure to pickup a cup of Gingerbread Latte and let us know what it was like.
This drink is also available across the United Kingdom and in Australia.
Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa
The Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa was launched in Christmas 2016, making its first appearance on December 2nd. But already this has proved to be a hit, with countless pictures floating around Instagram of Starbucks customers enjoying their new holiday favorite.
The Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa combines a cold-weather favorite with a cookie classic. It consists of steamed milk, a large helping of white chocolate sauce and a dash of cinnamon syrup, with a squirt of cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon of top.
There many also be some offers on the Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa if you order at the right time. During its first release Starbucks were offering a number of specials, and these may reappear during future holidays.
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
At some point in the not-so-distant past, someone decided that caramel wasn’t a good enough name by itself and that from henceforth it would be known as “salted caramel”. Personally, I’ve never seen a caramel recipe that didn’t include salt, nor have I ever tasted caramel (salted or not) that didn’t have at least a pinch. This is just one of those pointless words added to give the overpaid marketing guys something extra to work with (like “Vine Tomatoes”, because apparently we’re supposed to believe that there exists a variety of tomato that doesn’t grow on a vine).
Still, moaning aside, “salted” caramel is delicious. And when you add it to chocolate, it becomes something that no self-respecting sweet-toothed chocoholic could resist.
There are nearly 500 calories in the Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, with half your RDA of saturated fat and a generous dose of sugar.
But this Starbucks holiday drink is a decadent treat that is wroth every extra inch of fat, and every disappointing glare from your doctor. It combines mocha sauce, steamed milk, toffee nut syrup, caramel sauce and a dash of sea salt. And as with most of these Christmas treats, it comes topped with a hearty serving of whipped cream.
White Hot Chocolate
If the dark chocolate, milk chocolate and fudge drinks aren’t to taste, then maybe the White Hot Chocolate will be.
The White Hot Chocolate is a Starbucks holiday drink that brings together the super-sweetness of white chocolate with a hearty serving of cream. It’s not quite Christmasy, but it will certainly fill a hole and will leave you with a satisfied cream moustache.
Joy Brewed Tea
You may have noticed that there aren’t a lot of tea drinks on the Starbucks holiday drinks menu. That’s certainly the case. Even in the United Kingdom, where tea is as common as rain, wind and sarcasm, it’s just not something you will find much of.
There is one exception to that rule though, and an exception that you can order whether you’re in the United States or in the United Kingdom. Also known as their Teavana blend, this is a festive blend of tea that was created to inspire all of the joys of the season, and one that is available during the holidays.
The Joy Brewed Tea is a blend of black tea and oolong tea infused with a floral kick of jasmine and the slightest suggestion of apricot (didn’t that sound posh?).
Satisfy your sweet-tooth with a full-on Christmas onslaught of spice, sugar, caffeine and cream courtesy of the Chile mocha. Coming in at just 350 calories for a Grande, the Chile Mocha is made from a base of milk, to which is added a strong espresso.
There is a sweet vanilla flavor running through the drink, with a kick of cayenne pepper and other spices to really drive home the Christmas spirit. The “Mocha” comes from a chile mocha mix, with helps to add an extra layer of sweetness. And the Chile Mocha is topped off, as per usual, with a dollop of whipped cream.
Chile Mocha Frappuccino
The Chile Mocha Frappuccino is an ice cold, milky version of the Starbucks holiday drink mentioned above. If you prefer your coffee cold, but you still want the same spicy kick and the same dose of caffeine, then order yourself a Frappuccino.
There are only 240 calories in this drink, over 100 less than the Chile Mocha. But it also lacks some of the sweetness and the spice of the aforementioned drink. Not to mention the warmth.
Toffee Nut Latte
Lattes are the biggest seller at Starbucks and indeed at many other coffee chains. So it’s no surprise to see so many versions of these on the Starbucks holiday drinks menu. The Toffee Nut Latte is another one of those, albeit one that doesn’t taste quite as Christmasy as the others.
Still, it’s sweet, creamy and comes loaded with caffeine. What more could you want? The Toffee Nut Latte gets its name from the addition of toffee nut syrup and a sprinkling of crunchy toffee on the top.
Caramel Apple Spice
Caramel Apples (also known as “Toffee Apples” in other parts of the world) are one of the many treats that define this season. Many adults have a love-hate relationship with these. Their children can’t seem to eat one without getting sticky-spit on everything they touch, but at the same time, they remember the taste and the joy of a caramel apple from their own children.
In a way, the Caramel Appel Spice holiday drink is a grown-up version of this treat and one that doesn’t come with any sticky side effects. It combines steamed coffee with freshly pressed apple juice and a dash of cinnamon syrup. This is all then topped off with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of sweet caramel sauce.
There are a lot of sweet and creamy drinks on this page. But if you’re looking for something a little different, then the Peppermint Mocha might be it. This uses the Starbucks brewed espresso, like many other Starbucks holiday drinks. In addition to this, you will taste a strong peppermint flavor. This is still sweet, but the harsh, fresh burn of peppermint cuts through that sweetness somewhat.
On top of this you have the Mocha sauce, which itself is also fairly sugary. The drink is then topped off with thick whipped cream and curls of chocolate. It’s fattening, as 16 ounces come in at around 440 calories. But it won’t leave you with a heaviness on your stomach and is actually quite refreshing in a strange way.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
If you’re one of the many Americans that gets more excited by the arrival of Pumpkin Spice than the onset of Thanksgiving or Christmas, then this is the perfect Starbucks holiday drink for you. The Pumpkin Spice Latte consists of a base of steamed milk. To this is added the signature Starbucks espresso and a combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. It’s a complete seasonal drink, with a little taste of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all rolled into one sweet, warm and caffeinated beverage.
There is a big dollop of whipped cream on top with a light sprinkling of pumpkin spice for good measure. All of this comes to a surprisingly low 380 calories for a Grande.
Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino
If you’re a big fan of pumpkin spice but not of latte, then pickup a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino instead. This Frappuccino combines many of the same flavors, including a topping of whipped cream and pumpkin spice. But it’s all blended in a Frappuccino. This uses a combination of milk, ice and coffee to create a smooth, cold and refreshing drink.
Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha
This is essentially a white chocolate version of the Peppermint Mocha mentioned above. The Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha uses many of the same ingredients and has the same depth of flavor. But instead of rich dark chocolate, it uses a sweeter, creamy white chocolate.
Some chocolate lovers argue that white chocolate isn’t really chocolate. But when something tastes so good, who cares?
White chocolate has a higher concentration of cocoa butter, which is the natural fat from the cocoa bean. This is what gives it its milder, creamier flavor. But it also means that white chocolate is more fattening than the dark or milk alternatives.
As a result, the Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha comes in at close to 550 calories per 16 fluid ounces. That makes this holiday drink one of the most calorific.
Holiday Spice Flat White
The Holiday Spice Flat White is one of the most popular Starbucks holiday drinks. It combines a base of the famous Starbucks Holiday Spice Blend, with lashings of milk and a dash of brewed espresso. That’s it, but it’s not quite that simple.
The Holiday Blend contains everything you would expect from a Christmas drink. The main ingredient is sugar, which makes this a fairly sweet drink. Although it’s far from the sweetest on this list. After that, the most prominent flavor is cinnamon. This is backed up by the burn of dried ginger and the heat of nutmeg and clove.
It’s liquid Christmas, which is perhaps why the Holiday Spice Flat White is so popular this time of year.
Christmas Cookie Latte
Few things go better together than milk and cookies, and that’s a combination that forms the base of this Starbucks holiday drink. The Christmas Cookie Latte combines the taste of freshly baked seasonal cookies with a big hit of fresh coffee and a drizzle of buttery shortbread.
If this sounds like the perfect seasonal drink, then don’t get your hopes up just yet. This Starbucks Christmas special is only available in the Philippines and in Australia. That might change in the future though, so if this drink isn’t on the current Starbucks seasonal menu in your region, then just give it another year. Or ask, beg and demand until they relent and give you what you want. Whatever works for you.
Cinnamon Dolce Latte
Another latte, this one is surprisingly light. In fact, there is just a fraction above 300 calories in a Grande serving of the Cinnamon Dolce Latte. Despite that, it is every bit as Christmasy and as delicious as the other drinks on this page.
The Cinnamon Dolce Latte begins with a jug of freshly steamed milk. To this, they add cinnamon dolce syrup, a sweet and warming syrup that makes for a great addition to any milky drink. This is then topped off with a dollop of whipped cream and their cinnamon dolce topping. This is basically sugar, cinnamon, and butter.
Spiced Sweet Cream Cold Brew
Cold brew coffee is one of the biggest selling drinks in recent years. In fact, its sales seem to be growing year on year. The Spiced Sweet Cream Cold Brew is essentially a Christmas version of this popular drink. It is prepared with cold brew coffee, which is carefully steeped to ensure a complex and smooth flavor.
This cold brew coffee is combined with ice and vanilla sweet cream to create something that resembles a cold, smooth milkshake, but with a coffee kick.
Personally, this is our least favorite of all Starbucks holiday drinks. We don’t have anything against cold brewed coffee. At any other time of year we’d love this. But during the holidays we want warmth, we want hot cream and cozy spices. That’s what Christmas is for. Of course, if you live in tropical heat and rarely see the cold, wet Christmas that the rest of the world is so accustomed to, then you might be a little more accepting of the Spiced Sweet Cream Cold Brew than we are.
Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
Much like the Spiced Sweet Cream Cold Brew above, the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew consists of a base of Narino 70 Cold Brew. To this slowly-steeped coffee they add a float of vanilla cream just before serving, letting you watch in wonder as the cream slowly seeps through the drink. It’s beautiful and it’s sweet. But it’s a far cry from the hearty, warming, spicy and decadent drinks on the Starbucks holiday drinks menu.
For lovers of the Starbucks chain, Christmas is a time for a change of menu and a change of scenery. Because at Christmas time, this coffeehouse gets a makeover, with everything from the Starbucks Menu to Starbucks Hours changing.