Starbucks' 2022 Holiday Menu: New Cups, Old Drinks

The coffee chain is bringing back a number of fan favorites this year.

As we see each year with the autumnal reappearance of the #PSL, Starbucks is unmatched in its brand-building, treating each seasonal flavor drop like the return of the McRib. In keeping with that enthusiasm, today Starbucks announced via press release its latest lineup of holiday food and beverages, paired with fervent enthusiasm around an exciting milestone: This is the 25th year in which the holiday cups will be making an appearance.

Starbucks’ holiday cups, 1997-2022

If you didn't already know about the veritable institution that is Starbucks' holiday cups, just know that they're a whole damn thing, generating conversation among fans and controversy among people with very little going on in their lives. This year's cups go with a nouveau-retro red-and-green theme, evocative of Old Navy Christmas ads from the late 1990s. They're cute, but pretty similar to the 2021 offering. My personal favorite is the 2020 design, which really felt like a gift all packaged up in wrapping paper.

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Though we refer to them with the shorthand term "red cups," this annual holiday tradition hasn't always involved the color red. As you can see in the image above, some of the very first designs in 1997 and 1998 were purple, a more general nod to the winter season. That 1998 cup is a stunner, isn't it? A deep purple hue is better than any design on a candy-apple red background, in my opinion. By now, though, the "red cup" has so solidified its identity that it's unlikely we'd see Starbucks revert to the original.

One fun element of this year's cup is that it includes a blank gift tag on the back—"perfect for a personalized note," says Starbucks.

Starbucks’ 2022 holiday drink menu

The holiday beverages will be available starting Thursday, November 3. Here's what's on offer at Starbucks this holiday season, served up in a red-and-green cup:

  • Peppermint Mocha
  • Caramel Brulée Latte
  • Chestnut Praline Latte
  • Toasted White Chocolate Mocha
  • Irish Cream Cold Brew
  • Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte
  • You'll notice that none of these are new beverages; the newest on the list is the nondairy Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte, which debuted last year. There is a new bakery item, the Chocolate Pistachio Swirl, which will join the lineup alongside holiday stalwarts Snowman Cookie, Reindeer Cake Pop, Sugar Plum Cheese Danish, and Cranberry Bliss Bar. Why no new drinks?

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    "Starbucks holiday menu varies year to year," a spokesperson for Starbucks told The Takeout via email. "This year we are focused on bringing our customers their favorite holiday beverages."

    This isn't the first time Starbucks has appealed to our sense of nostalgia for the holiday drinks we already love; in 2020 the menu was comprised fully of returning beverages, too.

    And even if nothing on the drink menu is strictly new this year, there's still a couple items that are new to me. Find me at Starbucks this season, where I will no doubt be testing the viability of the Sugar Plum Cheese Danish and Toasted White Chocolate Mocha meal combo.

                      

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