I Tried The Entire US Starbucks Holiday Menu & This Christmas Item Was A Total Fail

This one didn't pass the holiday vibe check.

Fernanda holding a Starbucks holiday cup. Right: Holiday cups from a Starbucks location in El Paso, TX.
Desk Editor, Texas

Fernanda holding a Starbucks holiday cup. Right: Holiday cups from a Starbucks location in El Paso, TX.

Fernanda Leon | Narcity

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Anyone who has ever had a few conversations with me might know that I’m an avid Starbucks fan — and even a collector of their cups and tumblers. So, it’s no surprise that both their annual Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) and their holiday cups and menu announcements are one of the best news I can receive each year.

After releasing their Christmas menu this 2022, I decided to go to my regular Starbucks location in El Paso, TX, to try all of their winter drinks and their new holiday pastry so I could get myself in the Christmas spirit.

While the Christmas cups are beyond cute, and most of the seasonal items are the definition of winter, two of them didn’t pass the holiday vibe test.

Here’s my honest review of each of the Starbucks holiday menu products in the U.S.

Does Starbucks have holiday drinks?

Yes! Each year, Starbucks releases a special holiday menu along with its popular Christmas cups. In 2022, the holiday menu became available on November 3.

What are Starbucks' Christmas drinks?

For the current year, Starbucks included the Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulé Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, and Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte, among other drinks and pastries to their holiday or Christmas menu.

Starbucks Peppermint Mocha

The Peppermint Mocha drink has been out for a while now, and I think it’s one of the most Christmas-y beverages Starbucks has. Their peppermint-flavored syrup combined with a mocha touch reminds me of the taste of mint chocolate — a popular winter flavor.

Drinking this latte also makes me feel like small pieces of candy cane might’ve been compromised in order to prepare the drink.

Although this is not my favorite seasonal drink, it has Christmas written all over it. The mint taste can be quite exhausting if ordered regularly, and it could also leave you not wanting to taste any minty flavor for a while. So, my recommendation is that you order it when feeling festive and not for your daily coffee fix.

Starbucks Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte

This is my personal favorite holiday drink. The latte has a great taste both in its iced and hot versions. It is sweet, but not to the point where you don’t want to finish drinking it.

The taste is not too strong and evident, but the sugar cookie notes still manage to give the coffee drinker all the holiday vibes.

Due to his light sweetness and unique flavor, I could easily make this caffeinated drink my daily holiday go-to option.

Tip: ask for oat milk instead of almond for a creamier flavor.

Starbucks Chestnut Praline Latte

I would consider this one the ideal Christmas drink for someone who doesn’t enjoy anything too sweet.

The combination of espresso with a nutty flavor and small praline crumbs makes a good, slightly sweet holiday drink that will perfectly be allowed as part of the holiday menu.

I can totally see myself ordering this one again when feeling festive, but just not too festive.

Starbucks Caramel Brulé Latte

I have to admit Starbucks did a good job with this one.

Although the flavor of the drink is very similar to their Caramel Macchiato, the Caramel Brulé Latte is creamier, and the caramel sauce they use mixed with the crunchy topping makes the drink a little bit sweeter than the non-holiday beverage.

This coffee is super flavorful and has the exact sugar amount for a sweet morning.

Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha

This is basically a Christmas dessert. It tastes very similar to the Peppermint Mocha but with a much sweeter flavor.

If you’re looking for a holiday caffeinated drink and you don’t want an extra sugar rush with your order, try to avoid this beverage.

On the other hand, if you are indeed looking for something sugary, this can be the perfect solution to your winter sweet cravings.

For me, I would only order this if I was on the look for a quick caffeine and sugar fix.

Starbucks Toasted White Chocolate Mocha

This one certainly didn’t pass the Christmas test.

While the drink is not bad, I feel like it tastes just like their regular White Chocolate Mocha. I didn’t feel any toasted notes on it when trying it, and the only difference I noticed is that this holiday beverage is topped with red and white sparkles that don’t necessarily contribute to the beverage’s flavor.

Starbucks Chocolate Pistachio Swirl

The new Chocolate Pistachio Swirl pastry from Starbucks.

The new Chocolate Pistachio Swirl pastry from Starbucks.

Fernanda Leon | Narcity

This is a big no for me.

While I was a little bit sad knowing that this was the only new thing on the Starbucks holiday menu, the fact that the coffee chain was offering a pistachio pastry made me excited to try it. Well, total disappointment.

The sweet dish is supposed to have creamy chocolate and chopped pistachios, and although I saw the chocolate and the pistachios, this pastry tastes nothing like that. I felt like I was eating just a regular flavorless piece of bread.

In a nutshell, I would stick to the Sugar Cookie Latte as the best drink, would give the Peppermint Mocha an honorable mention for its big Christmas-y vibes, and would totally avoid the new Chocolate Pistachio Swirl pastry.

Fernanda Leon
Desk Editor, Texas
Fernanda Leon was an Editor for Narcity’s USA Desk focused on Texas and is based in El Paso, Texas.