Starbucks holiday menu review


Elise Walker

The Starbucks seasonal menu offers a variety of drinks, as well as a multitude of treats.

While the holiday season has ended, we all need a reminder of the warm scents and tastes of December. There is no better way to brighten up your January than a quick stop at Starbucks for a taste of the winter menu. Including a variety of coffees, drinks, and pastries, the winter menu has something for everyone!

Food Items

7/10 Reindeer Cake Pop
Always a favorite, the cake pop is a reliable choice for a bite sized treat. Although Starbucks has many seasonal editions, the winter edition features a reindeer complete with antlers and a red nose. The cake is soft vanilla, coated with hard chocolate icing, which was wet on the outside, giving the cake pop a weird consistency and making it unappetizing. In addition, the shell was overpoweringly sweet, making it hard to taste the inner cake. The cake was moist and soft, a great break from its sugary coating. As far as kid-approved sweets go, this cake pop has no shortage of sugar!

8/10 Sugar Plum Cheese Danish
A fluffy danish filled with cream cheese finished off with a spiced sugar-plum jam incorporates all the famous winter flavors. The danish is soft and airy with a crunch, and combined with the fruity taste of the jam, this danish is a blast to the traditional holiday flavors. The pastry itself was perfectly flaky just like a croissant, and the texture brought together the taste perfectly. Infused with cream cheese filling and topped with a sugar plum spread, the danish, like much of the Starbucks menu, is on the sweeter side. The only downside for us was that the pastry came falling apart and was generally messy to eat. Best served warm, the danish is sure to fill your fruity cravings!

6/10 Snowman Cookie
This cookie has a cute winter design, featuring a scarf-wearing snowman. The shortbread cookie is layered underneath the white chocolate icing, combining for a sweet bite. Regardless of its cute appearance, the shortbread cookie was dry and flaky, unlike most of Starbucks’ baked goods. The white chocolate on top was more of a shell and was not soft or appetizing. Overall, the cookie tasted stale and crunchy. The major upside was the use of sprinkles and the adorable design of the snowman with his scarf. This cookie’s taste really captured the cold, hard feeling of winter.

7/10 Cranberry Bliss Bar
This delicious bar is composed of blondie cake with dried cranberries and topped off with a cream cheese icing. Finally, the treat is sprinkled with additional cranberries and finished off with a royal icing design. The blondie itself was moist almost to the point that it could be considered wet. While the texture was questionable, the flavor was enjoyable and brought all the joyous feelings of the holiday season.This treat looks and tastes like a fresh slice of cranberry pie mixed with a blondie.The mix of tarte cranberries and sweet cake make for a good choice for those with a sweet tooth. However, if texture is an important factor to you, then skip out on this one and check out Starbucks’ other holiday alternatives.


10/10 Peppermint Mocha
The perfect combo of peppermint and chocolate, the Peppermint Mocha is by far the best drink on the Starbucks’ winter menu. Mocha sauce and peppermint syrup combine for the ideal holiday taste. While it is a little on the sweeter side, the espresso and steamed milk help balance out the sugar. Topped off with whipped cream and chocolate curls, this drink is a caffeinated peppermint hot cocoa. Bringing together the classic holiday flavors into one drink, this drink is for anyone.

8/10 Caramel Brulee Latte
Among the most basic of Starbucks’ drinks, this latte is easily likable.The base includes espresso and steamed milk, but what sets it apart is the caramel brulee sauce. If you love creme brulee, this latte is reminiscent of those flavors and it is heavenly, especially with the twist of caramel. Topped off with caramel brulee pieces, this holiday drink brings an unexpected crunch. Surprisingly, there is just as much spice as there is sweet in this latte, with slight flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg hinted at within the coffee. With a strong caramel flavor, it can be overpowering, but perfect for any caramel lover out there.

9/10 Chestnut Praline Latte
An undiscovered gem on the Starbucks menu, this latte has hints of roasted chestnuts.. Caramelized chestnuts and spices combined give off an aroma reminiscent of the holidays. The base includes a basic espresso and steamed milk, but the true kick is thanks to its chestnut flavor. Finished off with whipped cream and praline crumbs, this drink might look even better than it tastes. While it’s not your typical peppermint or sugar cookie drink that comes with Christmas, it’s surprisingly festive. If you’re a fan of anything nuts, this latte is 100% for you.

7/10 Toasted White Chocolate Mocha
While the White Chocolate Mocha on Starbucks’ year round menu is good, the toasted version brings the drink to a whole new level. In this edition, the white chocolate is caramelized, bringing a marshmallow-like taste to the drink. Topped off with light whipped cream and multicolored sprinkles, this is among the most festive drinks available. The espresso combined with the white chocolate create a lighter coffee flavor, perfect for those who aren’t fans of intense coffee. The only downside is that this tastes very similar to many other drinks on the year-round menu, so it’s not anything too special. With that being said, it’s a warm and delicious drink that’s a great treat during the month of December.

8.5/10 Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte
A sweet non-dairy option, this iced latte combines the tastes of Christmas cookies with Starbucks’ signature coffee blend. Red and green sprinkles top off the drink, bringing together a Christmas vibe. The sweet almond milk overpowers the coffee, bringing a sweet infusion to the coffee. If you’re looking for a sugar rush, try this cookie-inspired coffee! This is the best drink for cookie lovers, tasting just like a traditional Christmas sugar cookie. The only downside of the latte: the drink is iced and not a great idea for chilly winter days. If you’re not a huge coffee fan, this is definitely the drink for you.

5/10 Hot Cocoa
A classic winter drink, hot cocoa is the go-to for a cold day. The flavors are reminiscent of those childhood days anticipating snow and cozying up by the fire, notoriously with your hot cocoa. To take a step back into those days, the Starbucks hot chocolate is the drink to choose. While the flavors are enjoyable, the drink itself is nothing particularly special. With the price tag being $3.35 for their small size, the cost outweighs the taste. When cheaper alternatives can be found with almost identical flavoring or you can make it at home, the price is not worth it. Overall, the drink is enjoyable, but there are better choices out there for those looking for a basic winter drink.