The most prominent indicator that the holiday season is just around the corner has to be when Starbucks releases their seasonal holiday menu. Not until I see red, green and gold branding, do I begin to feel the excitement for what festivities winter has in store. Though the start to the season is arguable, depending on who you ask, I appreciate how early Starbucks chooses to celebrate. This year, starting on Nov. 4, six drinks and four food items will be added to the menu while supplies last. 

The food selection is most interesting in this holiday drop, and these pastries and desserts are perfect companions for every Starbucks drink. The most unique is the Cranberry Bliss Bar. Cranberries are a hallmark of the winter time, and the coffee chain incorporates them beautifully in this snack. It is a blondie cake with cream cheese icing and dried cranberries on top, finished off with a drizzle of white-orange chocolate. 

The best way to start one’s day is with the Sugar Plum Cheese Danish, which is fluffy and sweet. In the center is a cream cheese filling and sugar plum jam, with hints of spice. 

What I always most looked forward to was the little goody I would get when I accompanied my mom on her daily coffee run as a young girl. The Snowman Cookie and the Reindeer Cake Pop are adorable options for the little kid in everyone. The snowman is a classic shortbread cookie with white chocolate icing and adorable flakey sprinkles while the cake pop is made of vanilla cake, covered in chocolate icing. 

First on the drinks list is the fan-favorite “Peppermint Mocha,” making its return for the 19th year. It is made using espresso, steamed milk, mocha sauce and peppermint syrup. It is topped with whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings, and can be served iced, hot or as a frappuccino. It’s a holiday classic, and a must-have for all Starbucks lovers.

Chocolate fans have a variety of options, with the “Toasted White Chocolate Mocha” back in the lineup. Espresso, steamed milk and white chocolate mocha sauce work together to make Christmas in a cup. A staple for all holiday drinks is whipped cream, and an added feature of this drink is a sprinkle mix combining sugary crystals and mini pearls. 

The “Caramel Brulee Latte” is another returning caffeine-filled feature. Its contents include an espresso base, steamed milk and Caramel Brulee sauce, which emulate the sweet/smoky flavors of a crème brûlée. The latte, which can be made hot, iced or as a frappuccino, has the most beautiful presentation, with a whipped cream swirl and caramel flakes on top.

Irish Cream Cold Brew is perfect for those who love smooth coffee. Though it seems strikingly similar to a generic cold brew, this holiday option features Irish Cream flavored syrup. Vanilla Sweet Cream Foam floats on top to lighten up the drink, and is garnished with cocoa powder.

Nothing says “Christmas” like chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and the taste of the “Chestnut Praline Latte” is as rich as Nat King Cole’s voice in “The Christmas Song”. Spiced praline crumbs and caramelized chestnuts come together in harmony in this espresso drink to make the most merry pick on the menu. 

Baking Christmas cookies is a sweet tradition for many people around the holidays, and Starbucks’ brand new addition is perfect for those with a sweet tooth. The “Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte” is made with a blonde espresso roast as the base. Included is sugar cookie syrup. What’s unique about this option is that it’s dairy free, made with almond milk. Of course, this can be easily substituted with dairy, if you so prefer. You can order it either hot or iced, and it’s adorned with festive red and green sprinkles on top.

No matter what your preferences might be, this winter’s Starbucks menu has an option for everyone. After yet another hectic year, we all deserve a little bit of holiday cheer in the form of delicious coffee and delectable sweet treats.

 

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