Y’all know I love me some Starbucks. One of my most-read posts is this one, a beginner’s guide to ordering at Starbucks. Starting right after Thanksgiving, Starbucks busts out their seasonal red cups and their amazing seasonal drinks. But of course, with new drinks bring new challenges. Namely, the challenge of changing up your regular order so you can taste the limited-time sweet deliciousness heralded by those much-anticipated red cups.
Note: Starbucks espresso drinks, by default, are made with 2% milk!
1. Caramel Brulee Latte
The caramel brulée latte is essentially a latte with a few extra ingredients. In case you need a reminder:
latte = steamed milk + espresso shots + foam
For a caramel brulée latte, Starbucks adds caramel brulee syrup (like the regular vanilla or hazelnut sugars, except it has that taste of slightly-burnt sugar characteristic of brulee’s), then instead of foam adds whipped cream and little caramel shavings. Nom.
You can reduce the fat in this drink by getting it with “no whip” or nonfat or soy milk. If you’re a glutton for punishment (or just a glutton, I suppose), order it “breve”- they’ll make it with half & half.
It also comes as a Caramel Brulee Frappuccino- the cold, blended version, that has a coffee base instead of espresso shots. You can get that with the low fat base or sans-whipped cream too!
If you’re in Cali and enjoying our springlike weather, you can get an iced caramel brulee latte- the same as the hot version (milk, espresso, syrup, whip, and topping)- but the milk isn’t steamed, and it’s over ice.
2. Gingerbread Latte
The gingerbread latte is another fancied-up latte (see a pattern here?) Basically, here’s the equation:
gingerbread latte= regular latte + gingerbread syrup + whipped cream + nutmeg
Basically, this drink is like a gingerbread house in liquid form (in a good way). Like with the caramel brulee latte, you can get this guy made with nonfat milk, soy milk, no whip, or breve. You can get this as an iced gingerbread latte (same as hot version but over ice).
3. Eggnog Latte
I don’t have the fondest memories of eggnog lattes from my time at Starbucks. When I was there a few years ago, we still used eggnog with raw egg in it… so if a customer insisted on having their latte “extra hot,” the eggnog literally curdled. I know, gross. Eggnog is also a bitch to steam, because it makes the most high pitch screamy noise ever. Fun stuff, right?
It still makes a crazy noise, but at least eggnog lattes can now be made extra hot without the fear of scrambled eggs. According to the Starbucks website, eggnog lattes are:
espresso+ eggnog + milk + nutmeg
Like the other seasonal drinks, eggnog lattes can be made iced, with whole or nonfat milk (or breve). You can also get eggnog frappuccinos (regular or light).
4. Salted Caramel Mocha
The website says that the salted caramel mochas are seasonal, but I have a feeling these might last longer- mostly because the only truly “seasonal” part of it is the salted caramel topping (which is really freaking delish.)
salted caramel mocha = steamed milk + toffee nut syrup + mocha syrup + whipped cream + caramel syrup topping + salted caramel topping
Whew, that’s a lot of sugar.
Some variations on the salted caramel mocha are: nonfat milk, soy milk, breve milk, no whip, or sugar-free mocha. You can also get a salted caramel white mocha, which uses the white mocha syrup (sweeter, and not so chocolatey, like white chocolate) instead of the regular mocha. It’s also higher in fat.
The salted caramel mocha can be iced, a frappuccino, or a frappuccino light. You can get the frappuccinos coffee-based (a regular frappuccino) or for a coffee-free version, get the salted caramel creme frappuccino.
One thing I might recommend is playing around with the amount of syrup in these guys- because there’s mocha and toffee syrups, you have twice the amount of syrup as in a normal mocha or latte.
5. Peppermint Mocha
When I order a grande (ie, a medium) peppermint mocha– and the way I’d absolutely recommend ordering it– I get it as a “skinny peppermint mocha with 2 pumps of each.” The breakdown on that is:
-skinny= nonfat milk, sugar-free peppermint, and sugar-free mocha. It also means no whip, and by default, no chocolate curls (though sometimes they’ll put them on anyways).
-2 pumps each= 4 pumps total, instead of the 8 pumps of syrup you’d get with the default recipe. Even with the sugar-free syrup, that’s wayyyy too sweet for me. The peppermint and salted caramel mochas are the two seasonal drinks that double the amount of syrup, because they both have mocha and an additional sweetener. By default, the rest of the espresso drinks have 3 (tall), 4 (grande) and 5 (venti) pumps of syrup. Hello sugar overload when you double that.
Peppermint mochas can be iced or as frappuccinos. For me, hot or cold, it still tastes like Christmas!
That about covers the Starbucks holiday drinks.
Who’s got questions? Want to hire me as your personal Starbucks shopper?