Starbucks Holiday Beverage Reviews From a Former Barista 2022

A Starbucks holiday drink  with the classic red cup and holiday design

Allen Ran

A Starbucks holiday drink with the classic red cup and holiday design

Waking up at 5:00 am every Saturday and Sunday of my Junior year to make coffee for eight and a half hours straight was incredibly exhausting, but not in vain. It left me with an innate ability to assess espresso. It was important as a barista to know what a drink tastes like to be able to explain it to the customers. As a result, I was always first to taste-test anytime my cafe would get a new roast or type of drink. At school, I wouldn’t be caught dead without some form of latte in hand during first period. Every morning, I would insist on making a pit stop at Starbucks on the way to school, especially during the winter months. There was nothing that got me into the holiday spirit more than holiday-themed drinks. As an avid holiday season and coffee lover, I have no other choice but to combine these passions to bring you my review and ranking of the 2022 Starbucks holiday season drinks. 

Peppermint Mocha Latte for the Starbucks 2022 Holiday Menu (Starbucks)

 1. Peppermint Mocha 

My personal favorite seasonal drink turns 20 years old this year! The Peppermint Mocha is a latte, meaning it contains a shot of espresso and steamed milk, in addition to peppermint and mocha syrup. Peppermint is a staple of the holidays, and it’s essential to include in your latte to get the holiday feel. You can still taste the two shots of espresso in the grande size along with the peppermint and chocolate. There is just the right amount of chocolate flavor, and it’s not an overwhelmingly sweet drink. In fact, the peppermint is almost refreshing in the morning. While it comes with whipped cream, I tend to opt out and stick to just the dark chocolate curls on top. Personally, I prefer this drink iced because I don’t think warm peppermint is too appealing. I blame this drink for reigniting my Starbucks obsession. 

Toasted White Mocha Latte for the Starbucks 2022 Holiday Menu (Starbucks)

2. Toasted White Chocolate Mocha

This drink is a latte with “caramelized white chocolate mocha sauce.” God only knows what that means. How does one caramelize white chocolate mocha sauce? I have no idea. But God knows I am not complaining. As a latte, this drink contains two shots of espresso and steamed milk in the grand size. I prefer this drink hot, and while I can appreciate good espresso, I love that you can’t really taste the coffee flavor in it. Because I prefer the drink hot, I love the whipped cream on top. It kind of cools off the drink before you take a sip because it has to go through this layer of whipped cream, which I end up really liking. Also, the red and white pearls/sprinkles are the cherry on top. The whole drink just inspires that jolly cheer. 

Iced Caramel Brûlée Latte for the Starbucks 2022 Holiday Menu (Starbucks)

3. Caramel Brulée Latte 

So far on the list, there has been nothing other than lattes ranked. And that doesn’t stop here. The only difference between the other two is the caramel brulée syrup. I adore this drink because it’s sweet, and can be enjoyed hot or cold. You can’t really go wrong with caramel brulée, because the brulée aspect gives it a comforting roasted feel. However, I don’t think caramel is that much of a holiday flavor, and it could very well be a year-round drink. Come on, Starbucks. I know you can think bigger than that for the holidays. Bonus points for the caramel brulée toppings. That’s my favorite part. 

Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte for the Starbucks 2022 Holiday Menu (Starbucks)

4. Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte

This year marks this drink’s first birthday. Clearly, last season’s debut was successful enough to bring it back, and I totally understand why. All of the other lattes on this list use Starbucks’s dark roast, while this latte uses a blonde roast. Blonde roast means the beans have been roasted less, giving the espresso a softer and smoother flavor, which I can appreciate despite my love for the sharp flavor of espresso. Secondly, the drink is advertised as iced. Instead of steamed milk, cold milk is used. Perhaps this is because steaming almond milk tends to be a more difficult process, but anywho, making an iced latte like this is far quicker and easier for baristas to create because they just pour the milk right in rather than steaming it. It’s also a lot easier to burn almond milk than regular milk while steaming it. That’s a win for the baristas! I’m not a huge fan of the flavor of almond milk, which is why this drink ranks lower. Of course, you could order the drink hot or with regular milk, but I am ranking the drinks without customizations or changes. I think the sugar cookie syrup is delicious and a really cute idea, and the red and green sprinkles give me the holiday cheer that I’m looking for. When have you seen sprinkles on an iced latte before? It’s so cute! Overall a really fun and clever drink that I highly suggest giving a try.

Chestnut Praline Latte for the Starbucks 2022 Holiday Menu (Starbucks)

5. Chestnut Praline Latte 

This drink is the lowest ranked latte in my review. I think by this point in the article, we all know what a latte is, so I’m not going to re-explain it. According to Starbucks, the drink contains, the flavors of caramelized chestnuts and spices.” The flavors? What does that even mean? Syrup or no syrup? I’m not a lover of chestnuts anyway. Iced or hot, I don’t know. I’m indifferent to this drink. Simply put, it feels like any other latte. I don’t find myself waiting year-round for this drink when Starbucks’s holiday menu is out of season. It’s kind of just a sweet latte, but it’s definitely not a holiday latte. It feels like Starbucks just felt the need to include it because of that one line from that Christmas song about roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Mid. 

Irish Cream Cold Brew for the Starbucks holiday menu 2022 (Starbucks)

6. Irish Cream Cold Brew 

To start, negative points for not being a latte. I am team latte all the way. Instead, this is a cold brew drink, meaning a) you can’t get it hot if you want, and b) the drink is primarily coffee, with no steamed milk. Furthermore, I’m personally not a fan of any of the Starbucks cold brew drinks with foam on top. While there is Irish cream syrup mixed throughout the cold brew, the foam doesn’t really mix with the coffee, so once you’ve finished drinking the overly-sweetened foam, you’re stuck with essentially black coffee. It’s just so uninspiring and does not incite the holiday cheer. Did I mention it’s not a latte?