Four Seasonal Drinks That Prove the Holidays are Peak Starbucks Time


By John J.Y. Lee

There is so much to the aesthetic and vibe of the winter months to try to capture in a seasonal treat: the iconic snow-white, berry red, and verdant evergreen, the sounds of sleigh bells and crackling fireplaces, the scent of cinnamon and the crinkling of wrapping paper. Of course, while such motifs don’t even begin to cover the full breadth of what the holidays mean to people all over the world, there’s no doubt that the sensations and memories of Christmastime serve to inspire many a limited-time creation.


And few make as good use of the jolly season as well as Starbucks does. Here are four limited-time holiday drinks that demonstrate that the shorter days up here in our half of the globe do little to rob the coffee chain of its festive light.


1.The Chamomile Relaxer

One of two drinks we’re showcasing here from South Korea, the Chamomile Relaxer is a marvel of elegance in presentation: a frosty-grey lychee-and-lemongrass beverage topped with bright redcurrants and a sprig of rosemary—it’s all the beauty of a mistletoe kiss packed into a plastic cup. Honestly, I feel relaxed just looking at this thing. It makes me want to fall in love only to be left alone in some faraway cafe wondering if that someone else is thinking of me too. In the best possible way.


2. The Toffee Nut Popcorn Tree Frappuccino

Ahem, moving on, here’s a creation that’s just pure joy. The second of our featured drinks from the Korean peninsula, the Toffee Nut Popcorn Tree Frap makes creative use of colorful, toffee-drizzled popcorn bits to bring to mind the organic contours of a lively Christmas tree. I love how this treat manages to capture the essence of a Christmas tree more so than its actual form—truly a burst of creativity.


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3. The Matcha White Chocolate Frappuccino… with a Chocolate Bear

So we’re going to head on over to the islands of Japan now and oh my god what is this I want it now. I’m going to give you a second to take this in, because I think I need one too. Never mind that the thought of milky white chocolate and lightly-bitter matcha powder makes my spine shiver—that is a chocolate bear peeking out of snowy whipped cream. Well done, Japan. This is truly, dare I say, kawaii.


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4. The Berry x Berry Cheesecake Frappuccino

Of all the drinks we’ve showcased here today, this final concoction from Japan most readily makes me gulp. The tartness of berries amidst the creaminess and richness of cheesecake? My bags are half-packed. The dessert is beautiful to look at as well, an homage to Saint Nicholas himself, but I can’t imagine it’d last long looking like that in my hands.


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Regardless of whether you long for a refreshing sip of the Chamomile Relaxer or a nibble of a hapless chocolate bear, there’s no doubt that Starbucks is best enjoyed during the holidays. Which of these do you think best captures the spirit of winter?

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