Holidays for the Tastebuds

It’s past mid-November, Halloween and Thanksgiving are long behind us, which means it’s finally, finally, socially acceptable to get into the holiday spirit! On November 1st, Starbucks officially brought back their holiday beverages for the wintertime (and a new cup design, to much controversy), and I took it upon myself to compile the top 5 drinks off their selection of a dozen.

#5: Caramel Brulée Latte

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The caramel brulée latte takes the classic espresso and steamed milk duo and mixes it with a rich caramel brulée sauce (for which the drink is named after), complete with a small isle of whipped cream with small chunks of caramel brulée sprinkles on top. Conceptually, the caramel brulée latte is amazing, as it takes the custard flavors of a dessert favorite and complements it with the familiar tinge of Starbucks’ caramel drizzles, but the sweetness of the latter realistically overwhelms any trace of brulée, as well as the relaxing effect of the steamed milk. This drink goes nicely for a sweet tooth craving, but would not suffice for a wake-me-up.

#4 Chestnut Praline Latte

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Perhaps I’m a bit of a nutty person, pun intended, but the idea of chestnut praline lights a passionate fire in my heart. Made of fresh-brew espresso and chestnut sauce, and with the addition of steamed milk, the chestnut praline latte is then presented with whipped cream and a nice distribution of spiced praline crumbs. However, the spiced praline crumbs melt quickly, taking away texture but leaving a nice pump of holiday spice. The chestnut taste is an undertone to the strong espresso and milk. Whether or not the strength of that chestnut impression is a disappointment can only be left up to personal discretion.

#3 Eggnog Latte

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Of course, when one thinks about holiday drinks, eggnog is an essential. Starbucks creates their very own twist to this classic holiday beverage by presenting a combination of eggnog (cream, sugar, whipped eggs and distilled spirits), espresso, and steamed milk, with a final touch of ground nutmeg dusted across the froth on top. The eggnog latte achieves an envious balance between its sweetness, creaminess, and caffeine-ness, and is bound to satisfy. While the original eggnog may tire you after having a few sugar-infused sips, the espresso in the latte version leaves just the right bitterness to keep the tastebuds entertained.

#2 Peppermint Mocha Latte

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Curated by having the familiar base of steamed milk and espresso mixed with chocolate sauce and peppermint extract, and topped with signature whipped cream and chocolate curls, the peppermint mocha latte is a refreshing reminder of curling up by the fireplace at home. The strong aftertaste of mint really appealed to me, as it cleansed me of the cocoa taste and readied myself for the next sip. Even better, for those watching their weight for the upcoming influx of holiday get-togethers, the peppermint mocha comes in a skinny version, made with nonfat milk, sugar-free peppermint syrup, and skinny mocha sauce.

#1 Holiday Spice Flat White

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The holiday spice flat white is often overlooked as a holiday beverage. A jolly twist on the coffee-lover favorite, the holiday spice flat white is a made of ristretto (short shot of espresso made with the normal amount of grounds but half the amount of water) shots of Starbucks’ Christmas Blend Espresso Roast and micro-foam, infused with holiday spices. It definitely departs from the sweetness of the other holiday beverages by priding itself on its mature bitterness and ability to give you a kick of energy in the afternoon. Its proportion of coffee to milk gives it a velvet consistency, and its addition of holiday spices perfectly complements the strong espresso.

Of course, Starbucks offers a variety of ways to personalize your holiday drink. Let us know your favorite in the comments section below!

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