Food & Drink

Starbucks Holiday Drinks Are Back! We Ranked Them All From Worst to Best

written by JESSICA WELSH
Source: Starbucks
Source: Starbucks

The day that Starbucks holiday drinks become available might as well be a national holiday at this point. It’s always extremely big news on The Everygirl team, and we all share our thoughts on any new drinks they’ve added, the iconic cup designs, secret menu concoctions, and what everyone’s getting for their first of many Starbucks holiday drinks this year. And to continue the tradition that started with our ranking of the Starbucks fall drinks, we have taken it upon ourselves to share our comprehensive ranking of every drink. You all loved our rankings from years past and we loved doing them, so of course, we had to make it an official series.

Over the course of this series, we’ve learned a few valuable lessons and have made some minor modifications to the ranking process. First and foremost, we decided to forego trekking through the streets of Chicago in the cold with more than 10 drinks in hand in favor of getting them delivered. (Don’t worry, they package them all up neatly in a bag to make the job easier for delivery drivers.) Secondly, we ordered every drink exactly as it appears on the menu so we could get the true experience of how the drinks were intended (apart from a couple of “secret menu” drinks, which you’ll see below).

This round, we had six official taste testers who scored each drink on a scale of 1-5 in the categories of “overall taste” and “likelihood to get again,” adding up to a total of 10 possible points per drink from each taste-tester. Thus, each drink has a maximum of 60 possible points. So here is—drumroll please—The Everygirl’s official ranking of every holiday drink at Starbucks, from worst to best:

11-12. Oleato Gingerbread Oatmilk Latte (tied)

Official score: 21/60

This year, Starbucks is dipping into their new Oleato menu with their holiday drinks. Unfortunately, we’re not totally sold on this choice because the verdict on this Oleato Gingerbread Oatmilk Latte was a resounding “no” from our taste testers. The reason for this low ranking was twofold: First, several of our taste testers stated that this drink does not taste anything like gingerbread. Second, even more agreed that it doesn’t even really taste like coffee—it just tastes like hot, sweet milk. In the words of one taste tester, “No one looks happy drinking this drink.”

11-12. Secret Menu Drink: Iced Chai Tea Latte with Peppermint (tied)

Official score: 21/60

We’ll be the first to admit it: This secret menu selection was a poor decision on our part. The chai and peppermint flavors simply do not work well together. Some of the descriptions from our taste testers include: “It tastes like the dentist,” “This should not exist,” and “It tastes like liquid cinnamon gum.” If you’re going to grab a chai from Starbucks this holiday season, we recommend sticking to the official menu.

10. Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte

Official score: 22/60

Here’s the thing about this item on the Starbucks holiday menu: It’s good, but in order to make it something that’s actually enjoyable, you have to modify it. We all thought it was much too sweet with the default four pumps of Sugar Cookie Syrup in a Grande (and that was especially noticeable in the iced version). We would recommend switching to two or even one. We also all agreed that this one has a bit of a strange aftertaste. 

9. Caramel Brulée Latte

Official score: 24/60

OK, this latte is not bad by any means. It’s just that in a world of holiday drinks, this was the least festive of the bunch. It pretty much just tastes like a normal caramel latte, which you can get at any time of the year. The words used to describe it during the taste test were “boring” and “forgettable”—which is honestly so mean, and I am sorry to this latte!

8. Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino 

Official score: 25/60

The main reason this frap ranked fairly low is that it just wasn’t very flavorful. In the words of one of our taste testers, “It just tastes like an Andes mint blended with ice.” For some reason, when a Peppermint Mocha is made into a Frappuccino, it loses that coffee-meets-chocolate flavor that we all know and love.

7. Iced Chestnut Praline Latte

Official score: 27/60

The hot version of the Chestnut Praline Latte is a well-known hit among The Everygirl’s editors, but the iced version is much more controversial. As made evident by its eighth-place ranking, it just didn’t measure up to the hot Chestnut Praline Latte. You lose some of the festiveness and overall flavor when this is not hot, and a couple of our taste testers even said that it had an unpleasant “woody” taste.

6. Peppermint Mocha

Official score: 39/60

The #1 reason this drink earned a spot so high is because of pure nostalgia. There’s just something about taking a sip of a Peppermint Mocha in a Starbucks holiday cup that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s a true classic, and we all agreed that we like to have at least one per year. Starbucks hack: One of our taste testers suggests getting your favorite regular latte with peppermint syrup if you like the peppermint flavor but not mocha.

4-5. Hot Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte (tied)

Official score: 41/60

For some reason, there was a group consensus that the hot version of the Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte was superior to the iced version—so much so that it’s ranked a whole seven spots ahead. It has the perfect balance of a special holiday treat that is also subtle enough to replace your usual Starbucks order. But again, if you’re not a big fan of super sweet coffees, you might want to modify this one slightly to have fewer pumps of syrup. One of our taste testers even said that she would “have one of these every day if she could.” 

4-5. Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai (tied)

Official score: 41/60

On the level of overall taste, our team quite enjoyed the newest addition to Starbucks’ holiday menu, an Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai. It packs that cozy chai flavor into an iced drink, so it’s the perfect pick for anyone who wants the holiday vibes without a hot beverage. That said, this drink ranked low in terms of whether we would order it again because quite frankly, it doesn’t taste that different from a regular iced chai. We all agreed that you’re likely better off saving yourself a few extra bucks and just getting a standard iced oat milk chai instead.

3. Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Frappuccino

Official score: 43/60

Against all odds, a Frappuccino has made its way into the top three. This drink is definitely sweet, but there was just something so good about it—we couldn’t stop talking about it and needed to rank it this high. Although you’re probably not ordering this every time you go to Starbucks, it’s the perfect festive holiday treat. It even earned this comment from a taste-tester: “I would have it every day if it wasn’t a literal milkshake.”

2. Hot Chestnut Praline Latte

Official score: 50/60

If there was ever a drink that tasted exactly like Christmas, it’s the Chestnut Praline Latte. One taste-tester described it as tasting “exactly like those roasted nuts you can get in Central Park,” so if that doesn’t convince you to try it, I don’t know what will. It tastes extremely festive, but it’s not too sweet like some of the other options. You could definitely make this your go-to Starbucks order during the season versus a one-time special treat. 

1. Secret Menu Drink: Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew with Peppermint and White Chocolate Mocha Sauce

Official score: 54/60

After seeing a few versions of this drink on TikTok, we knew we needed to add it to the list for this year’s taste test. As you can tell by its #1 spot, we are happy we did. To order this, you start with a Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, then add two pumps of White Chocolate Mocha sauce and one pump of Peppermint syrup. You might think this would make the price super high, but at around $5 for a Grande, this is one of the more budget-friendly drinks on the list. The combination of flavors makes this an absolutely perfect festive drink. It’s sweet but not too sweet, and the Vanilla Sweet Cream makes it very smooth. We tried this one first, and everything we tasted after was a disappointment.