Confession: We Love Starbucks Holiday Drinks

So much so that we've compiled 9 festive recipes that give us the same vibes.

November  4, 2021
Photo by Starbucks

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—that is, if you’re the type, like me, who has already made a dent in their holiday shopping list, started hanging string lights, baking sugar cookies, and playing the Hallmark Christmas movies on TV all day. long. (Yes I know about Thanksgiving, shhhh). It’s also coffee lovers’ favorite time of year. Starbucks has just announced their lineup of seasonal holiday beverages, which will be released on November 4th, 2021, and they will inspire a playlist of Mariah Carey and Harry Connick Jr. from here until 2022 commences.

Starbucks 2021 holiday drinks include fan favorites that we’ve seen for years and years, like the Peppermint Mocha Latte, which is made with chocolate syrup and peppermint syrup; Toasted White Chocolate Mocha made with caramelized white chocolate and topped with whipped cream, red sprinkles, and edible white pearls; Caramel Brulee Latte featuring rich caramel brulée sauce, whipped cream, and a topping of caramel brulée bits; and the Chestnut Praline Latte, which is made with a caramelized chestnut syrup and topped with praline crumbs.

There’s also a new vegan holiday drink at Starbucks this season—the Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte, inspired by everyone’s favorite buttery spritz cookies. “We wanted to harness the buttery and vanilla notes of the cookie, which you can pick up in the aroma from that first sip from the sugar cookie flavored syrup and sprinkles. It reminds me of making cookies with my mom and sisters growing up. It gives me all the nostalgic feels of the holiday,” said Erin Marinan, product development manager for Starbucks, in a statement. All of Starbucks holiday lattes are available iced and hot.

Another returning member of the Starbucks holiday menu is Irish Cream Cold Brew, which first debuted in 2019. Cold brew coffee is sweetened with Irish cream syrup, and topped with a cloud of vanilla sweet cream cold foam and a hint of cocoa.

Of course, there’s always Starbucks' suite of dark and white chocolate beverages. Order Hot Chocolate with whipped cream and mocha drizzle or a White Hot Chocolate made with white chocolate sauce and topped with a generous swirl of whipped cream for a beverage as pure as freshly fallen snow.

And it wouldn’t be an official Starbucks holiday drinks launch without their signature red cups, too. This year’s theme features four different designs inspired by gift wrapping and complete with gift tags that say phrases like “Together at Last,” “Missed You,” “Welcome to the Family,” and “Love You, Nai Nai.” After a year and a half of living through a global pandemic, we can’t wait to wrap our hands around one of these cozy beverages and raise a caffeinated cup to our loved ones near and far.

Recipes Inspired by Starbucks Holiday Drinks

There’s nothing like the real Starbucks holiday lattes and we know that no copycat recipe would suffice. So instead, we rounded up our most cheerful recipes that have the same flavors as some of the beloved beverages, like Toasted White Chocolate Mocha and Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

Peppermint Patties

Chocolate and peppermint is a classic Christmas combo and they’re also the key players in Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha Latte. These no-bake, six-ingredient cookies will surely get you in the spirit.

Sweet Roasted Chestnuts with Vanilla and Fennel

Inspired by Starbucks’ new Chestnut Praline latte, these melty, rich chestnuts are a sweet rendition on a Christmas staple—no open fire needed.

Caramelized White Chocolate & Toasted Milk Cookies

Obsessed with Starbucks’ White Chocolate Mocha and now their new Toasted White Chocolate Mocha? Go beyond a cup of coffee and enjoy all of the same flavors in the form of these caramely cookies.

Salted Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Out with the old and in with the new. Or in this case, out with the PSL and in with the hot cocoa. But if you want to hold on to the iconic latte just a little bit longer, this salty-sweet pumpkin spice crème brûlée will help you do just that.

Irish Cream

In celebration of Starbucks’s new Irish Cream Cold Brew, here’s our recipe for homemade Irish cream, which you can stir into your own coffee or give as a DIY food gift to friends, neighbors, co-workers, or the family member who insists they don’t want or need anything.

Dorie Greenspan's Hot (and Cold) Chocolate

When there’s a blizzard and you can’t quite make it out to your local Starbucks to grab hot cocoa, make it at home using Dorie Greenspan’s satisfying three-ingredient recipe.

Vegan Sugar Cookies

“If you're looking for authentic, amazing-tasting sugar cookies that are 100% dairy- and egg-free, this is the recipe for you,” writes recipe developer Gena Hamshaw.

Spritz Butter Christmas Cookies

Starbucks’s new vegan drink—the Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte—was inspired by these German-style butter cookies. Here, we dyed the dough green and pressed it into the shape of mini Christmas trees because of course.

Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels

Grab a Caramel Brulee Latte in one of Starbucks’ signature red holiday cups...or make these homemade candies that boasts really good vanilla flavor, complex caramel notes, and a finishing touch of flaky salt.

Which of Starbucks' 2021 holiday drinks are you going to try first? Let us know in the comments below!
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Former Food52 Staff Editor