Every Item On The Starbucks 2022 Holiday Menu, Ranked

When the calendar turns to November, many people are already thinking far beyond Thanksgiving and all the way to the winter holiday season. And they're certainly not alone. Starbucks, for example, celebrates with a seasonal menu that runs from the beginning of November all the way into the new year. Not only that, but shops are also fully stocked with unique holiday merchandise that is perfect for gift-giving.

Furthermore, since they arrived on the scene in 1997, Starbucks' iconic red cups have become nearly as synonymous with the season as Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You." This year, the cup designs feature four different patterns in white, red, and green, like something right out of your favorite wrapping paper aisle.

All wrapped up in those cups, you'll find six festive drinks that return as fan favorites: Peppermint Mocha, Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte, Irish Cream Cold Brew, Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, and Toasted White Chocolate Mocha. The holiday menu also includes several sweets sure to help you find and keep your holiday spirit, including a Chocolate Pistachio Swirl, Reindeer Cake Pop, Snowman Cookie, Sugar Plum Cheese Danish, and Cranberry Bliss Bar. While we look forward to the Starbucks holiday menu each year — there are always some drinks and sweets that stand apart from the others, and this year is no different.

11. Chocolate Pistachio Swirl

The Chocolate Pistachio Swirl pastry is an all-new treat on the Starbucks holiday menu. It begins with a brioche-style dough with cinnamon and chocolate flavors in the middle and even chocolatey mint throughout. Then, pistachio nuts finish out the rest of the roll with a little extra flavor sprinkled on top. This brand-new confection joins an all-star cast of returning drinks and pastries, and that's a tall order to live up to. Unfortunately, we don't think this one meets the same level as other favorites we love during the holidays.

While we think this new holiday menu item is a fabulous concept with delicious flavors, unfortunately, the execution of this one just isn't there. Your barista will serve it to you warmed up, and we did enjoy the fact that it's a warm and soft bread pastry, thanks to the brioche dough. However, overall, we found it seriously lacking in taste and texture. Swirl pastries like this need to have that moist texture typically achieved through the frosting, but we're disappointed to say that this swirl just doesn't cut it. There is no frosting on top of the roll, and the filling inside is not moist enough to compensate. We love the idea of a sweet pastry featuring chocolate and pistachio, but we don't think this one brings enough of either flavor.

10. Peppermint Mocha

The Peppermint Mocha is a classic holiday favorite. In fact, in 2022, Starbucks is celebrating this festive drink's 20th birthday. When it first premiered in 2002, the Peppermint Mocha featured red sprinkles, and though those sprinkles are now chocolate curls, today's drink is very similar to the one from 20 years ago.

Starbucks' mocha sauce leans more toward dark chocolate than milk chocolate, and for this drink, baristas use the same mocha they use throughout the year on other drinks. In addition, it now seems the peppermint syrup is also available year-round, so although the drink won't always have those chocolate curls, you can order a Peppermint Mocha whenever you need that extra bit of cheer throughout the year.

Though promising, this was our least favorite of the holiday drink items. Simply put, the flavors got lost and felt muted, as though they just weren't strong enough. We think the base drink probably needs another pump or two of peppermint to make it stand out. That might help us enjoy it more. With so many excellent holiday drink options, it may not be surprising this was toward the bottom. Although we ordered a hot drink, you can order this one as an iced or even blended option, but you'll miss out on the cool Starbucks holiday cups if you do. Instead, consider dressing up your Peppermint Mocha by asking for half your mocha pumps to become white chocolate for a tuxedo Peppermint Mocha.

9. Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte

This year, the Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte makes its grand return. First premiering in 2021, Starbucks provides a little context for the drink, explaining that it is based on the classic spritz cookies created with a press that squirts out dough. As some of the prettiest cookies on Santa's cookie plate, it also makes a pretty sweet drink, and you can enjoy it hot or iced. A Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte comes with Sugar Cookie syrup, blonde espresso, almond milk, and cookie sprinkles on top. Those avoiding dairy do not need to alter this offering since it's entirely dairy-free, and the blonde espresso gives it a great creamy feel as a lighter espresso than the regular option.

Though we love the idea of this drink, we would like to see it with some additional pumps of Sugar Cookie syrup. Therefore, we encourage you to order one more pump if you want more sugar cookie flavor and two more pumps if you enjoy a delightfully sweet drink. Blonde espresso is a tremendous change of pace and gives the drink a nice smoothness, mimicking the smoothness of a Christmas cookie. If you're ordering this in an iced venti size, be sure to ask for it with extra ice so your drink isn't too lukewarm toward the bottom of the glass. Whipped cream or vanilla cream cold foam would make a great addition to this one, but would also make it no longer dairy-free.

8. Reindeer Cake Pop

Toddlers around the country will absolutely love this perfectly themed holiday treat. This Reindeer Cake Pop is a ball of vanilla cake molded to have ears and covered in milk chocolate. Then, it gets an adorable face with frosting. Little ones who love cake pops throughout the year will also enjoy this holiday treat. Plus, it even has a little red nose. You'll be able to find this at any Starbucks that regularly serves cake pops, including Target. In fact, you may notice that this cake pop is the same shape as the Target dog sold in the Starbucks locations inside of stores.

We love this treat for the holiday-loving kid in your life, but it's a little less exciting for adults. Like other cake pops, we found the cake inside to be very dense and moist, nearly fudge. That said, it is very sweet and tasty, so if you're looking for a quick treat to satisfy that sweet tooth, this may be the perfect option.

Families who celebrate with Elf on a Shelf could even use this little cake pop as the perfect surprise from their holiday visitor. Imagine how cute it would be if your kiddo woke up to their favorite little elf offering a cake pop straight from Rudolph and the North Pole.

7. Snowman Cookie

Christmas shortbread cookies are a classic treat during the holidays. Starbucks brings this favorite tradition to its stores with the adorably sweet Snowman Cookie. White chocolate frosting covers this shortbread cookie, and little sugar granules sprinkle the bottom part of the snowman to represent twinkling snow. Blue frosting makes a little scarf and earmuffs to keep away that winter chill. Three little dots make up his buttons, and there's even a sweet face on top. Your snowman comes wrapped in some cellophane to keep the cookie fresh and tasty for when you're ready to chow down.

Nothing's cuter than a snowman cookie, and we absolutely adore this one. Those little frosting decorations couldn't be sweeter, and it definitely scratches that Christmas cookie itch. However, we wish this cookie were a little on the softer side. It isn't hard by any means, but we think it could be a little softer than it is. On the other hand, it does hold its form very well when bitten into and doesn't crumble a whole lot. This makes it an easy treat to hand to your youngster in the backseat.

6. Irish Cream Cold Brew

The year 2019 brought the release of the Irish Cream Cold Brew, and as Starbucks explains it, the inspiration for the flavor comes from product developer Erin Marinan's memories of putting together batches of Irish cream for gifts during the holidays. Now quite the popular drink, Irish Cream Cold Brew begins with Starbucks' smooth cold brew coffee. Then, it gets some Irish cream syrup with a hefty helping of that sweet and delicious vanilla sweet cream cold foam on top. To finish it off, your barista will sprinkle cocoa powder in a beautiful line down the drink.

It's honestly hard to go wrong with an excellent cold brew. After all, the Vanilla Cream Cold Brew is a steadfast favorite for many. However, our complaint is the same here as it was with the Peppermint Mocha and Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte: We want more syrup. Irish cream syrup is delicious and deserves to be more of the star of the show rather than being overpowered by the cold foam. Even still, this drink is smooth and sweet, and you'll definitely get the essence of what Starbucks was going for here. While an iced drink may not be the first drink you imagine during the winter months, this Irish Cream Cold Brew has an underlying warmth to it that you'll love.

5. Caramel Brulée Latte

Brulée typically refers to a smooth custard with caramelized sugar on top, and classic crème brulée is a popular dessert you can find in different fashions and flavors all around the world. Starbucks takes its own spin on this sweet favorite with the Caramel Brulée Latte.

In the world of Starbucks drinks, most lattes and frappuccinos will get either sauces or syrups for their flavoring. Syrups are relatively thin, while sauces are much thicker. Mocha, pumpkin spice, and white chocolate mocha are all sauces. The flavoring for this drink comes from a sauce as well: Caramel Brulée sauce. Combined with milk, whip, and Caramel Brulée topping, you have nearly a whole dessert on your hands.

We thought this latte tasted like a smoother caramel latte and maintained a significant amount of coffee taste. Those sauces usually create a really smooth base for the drink, and the same can be said here. We like how nicely this echoes the feel and taste of the custard within the drink's namesake, but we would like even more of a nod to that caramelized sugar. Order this one iced, hot, or even blended. Like others on the menu, you can also find the Caramel Brulée flavor in the creme Frappuccino menu, so even customers avoiding caffeine can enjoy this one. In fact, it may taste even more like a brulée without the coffee competing for your attention.

4. Chestnut Praline Latte

After a five-year drought that left the Starbucks faithful with no new holiday beverages, 2014 brought something new: the Chestnut Praline Latte. Starbucks heralds Amy Dilger, a research and development manager for the company, as the one who inspired this unique flavor, curated from the scents of European Christmas markets.

Together with your choice of milk, Chestnut Praline syrup mixes with espresso to create this delightful holiday beverage. On top, you'll get a swirl of whipped cream and praline crumbles to finish it all off. In addition to the hot beverage, you can order this one iced or even as part of a coffee Frappuccino or a creme Frappuccino with a non-caffeinated base. This way, even your sweet Starbucks kiddos can fall in love with this drink.

At its heart, the Chestnut Praline Latte is pure holiday fun and is truly Christmas in a cup. The toasted chestnuts come through nice and clear, sending your senses into their own holiday-drenched winter wonderland with you sitting in front of a fire with chestnuts roasting. It's pretty perfect just the way it is, but Starbucks has an even better drink in store for the holidays.

3. Sugar Plum Cheese Danish

Kids worldwide may have visions of sugar plums on Christmas Eve, but you can dream of this delicious pastry all season. The Sugar Plum Cheese Danish is served warm as the default, and we highly recommend you keep that option because this already delicious danish only becomes better when warmed.

The flaky danish dough tastes a little like a buttery croissant. Then, you get the layers of tart and sweet cream cheese, followed by that spiced sugar plum filling. It's both warming, tart, and sweet all at the same time. We really enjoyed eating this danish all on its own and highly recommend choosing to pair it with something more simple or perhaps even fruity. You may choose a simple latte or even a tea for this one. A nice chai latte or any number of other Starbucks chai drinks would do an excellent job of pulling out those spices from the sugar plum jam.

2. Cranberry Bliss Bar

The holiday season means so many things to different people. Everything from decorations to gift-giving to attending gatherings probably comes to mind. But there's also an untold amount of stress each holiday season, and that comes in many forms too. For many, one of those significant stressors is bringing the perfect dish to a holiday gathering. And while there are plenty of delicious Christmas dinner sides you can choose from, if you're running short on time or just learning to cook, it still might be a bit overwhelming. Well, thankfully, Starbucks has a solution for you: the Cranberry Bliss Bar.

Cranberry Bliss Bars are sold in stores as simple, delicious pieces as well as in a tray for sharing, making it the perfect little dessert to grab on your way to that stressful holiday gathering. Of course, you can't go wrong with a blonde bar full of cranberries that is topped with a tart and delicious cream cheese spread with orange zest and dried cranberries sprinkled throughout. This little dessert certainly lives up to its name. With an easy bite, this bar is perfectly soft and feels fresh from your kitchen.

1. Toasted White Chocolate Mocha

In 2017, the Starbucks beverage development team got to work again. With Erin Marinan once again at the helm, they took an already delicious flavor and made it even better. The White Chocolate Mocha sauce is smooth and sweet; it provides the perfect mixing partner for any number of Starbucks' many syrups (we're looking at you, cinnamon dolce). But when given a little extra heat, Starbucks explains that it becomes a Toasted White Chocolate Mocha with browned cocoa butter and milk with sugar that has been caramelized in some kind of holiday magic.

Like wrapping up in your favorite winter blanket, this drink takes comfort and joy to a whole new level. The Toasted White Chocolate Mocha sauce is smooth and just barely toasted. It mingles with the espresso so perfectly that you may even forget you're drinking coffee and instead be transported back to those perfect hot cocoa afternoons in the middle of a snow day. We found that the espresso taste was quite minimal on this one. And since it's made with a sauce, like the Chestnut Praline Latte, the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha is ridiculously smooth.

We highly recommend this latte as the perfect first holiday sip, and since you can order it hot, iced, or even blended, there's something there for every taste and climate. Not to mention, Starbucks' creme Frappuccino is always a solid and delicious option.