December 2, 2021
From Vegnews

After the introduction of Oatly and vegan-as-is shaken espressos in the spring, 2021 marks the inaugural year of Starbucks’ first vegan holiday beverage—the Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte. The winter drink joins the lineup of returning holiday specials such as the Gingerbread Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, and Peppermint Mocha—all vegan with certain modifications. We hope this new cookie-inspired beverage has staying power, unlike the underappreciated and short-lived Holiday Spice drink of Christmas Past. When you’re in the mood for something cheery in the form of a caffeinated, sweet drink, here are all the vegan variations of Starbucks’ holiday beverages.


1 Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte

Introduced in early November, this new concoction of caffeine and sweeteners was billed as an iced beverage. As temperatures dip, more customers are opting for the hot version. When served hot, the drink is made with Starbucks’ signature Blonde espresso, steamed almond milk, sugar cookie-flavored syrup, and topped with red and green sprinkles. Based on this description, it seems cloyingly sweet, but the unsweetened almond milk balances it out quite nicely.
Barista tip: Ask for a long shot of espresso or even a full extra shot if you prefer a stronger coffee taste with just a hint of holiday flavor

2 Peppermint Mocha (or hot chocolate)

There is nothing cozier than walking around looking at Christmas lights with a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha or hot chocolate in hand. The mocha sauce is vegan, so all you need to do is nix the whip and swap the cow’s milk for soy, oat, almond, or coconut … and pay the non-dairy milk upcharge (womp, womp). 
Barista tip: The drink is made with both mocha and peppermint syrups, making it very sweet. As Starbucks’ soy milk is also very sweet, opt for almond or oat milk. 

Flavored Mocha (or Hot Chocolate)

Gussy up a basic caffeinated hot chocolate (that’s what a mocha is) with the flavors of the season. Ask for a (insert your favorite non-dairy milk here) mocha with either hazelnut, cinnamon dolce, caramel, or toffee nut syrup and hold the whip. If you’re wondering, the caramel syrup is vegan but the caramel drizzle is not. We’re baffled, too. 
Barista tip: Skip the Dark Chocolate Mocha—it’s made with ground chocolate that contains dairy. 


Apple Crisp Macchiato 

Introduced in the 2021 fall lineup, this orchard-themed beverage is still available for the holiday season. Served hot or iced, the drink is made with your choice of non-dairy milk, Apple Brown Sugar Syrup, espresso, and a crosshatch of vegan-friendly Spiced Apple Drizzle. 
Barista tip: Starbucks’ definition of a macchiato is not an accurate representation of a traditional macchiato, which is a very strong drink made with mostly espresso and just a spot of steamed milk. Buyer beware: the Apple Crisp ‘Macchiato’ is far from its espresso-forward muse.

Cinnamon Dolce Latte

This item never leaves the menu, but the warming cinnamon spices beckon feelings of merriment. Easily transform this drink into a vegan-friendly option by swapping in your favorite non-dairy milk and asking for no whipped cream or cinnamon dolce topping (it contains dairy). 
Barista tip: Experiencing a hot day in December? Order iced or as a blended frappuccino, hold the whip. 

Hazelnut Latte

This beverage is all about customization. Order a regular latte with your choice of non-dairy milk, then ask for hazelnut syrup. The standard is three pumps for a tall, but if you prefer a pick-me-up that’s not so sweet, ask for just two pumps. 
Barista tip: Don’t confuse this for the Starbucks Reserve Hazelnut Bianco Latte—this can’t be veganized no matter how hard you try. 

Toffee Nut Latte

Like the Cinnamon Dolce Latte, this flavor is available year-round, but Starbucks only promotes it when the leaves begin to fall. It’s a unique drink with a caramely, nutty flavor that’s sure to put a smile on your face. To veganize it, skip the whip and say no to the toffee nut sprinkles, which contain dairy. 
Barista tip: Opt for oat or soy here—the creaminess of these plant-milks really elevate this beverage. 


8 Butterbeer Latte

Brought to you by our VegNews resident Starbucks barista—otherwise known as Senior Editor Richard Bowie—here’s how to hack your way to Hogwarts: order a tall soy latte with one pump each of caramel, toffee nut, and cinnamon dolce syrup plus extra foam and sea salt topping. The result is a delightful potion even Snape would award points to.
Barista tip: This beverage is best served hot. If you want an iced drink, save the butterbeer for another time. 

9 Nutmeg London Fog Tea Latte

Trick out your typical tea latte by asking your barista to top your drink with a sprinkle of nutmeg. The warm spice will bring out the vanilla flavors of this mixed drink and add a layer of warm fuzzies to your morning. 
Barista tip: This is really exceptional with oat milk. 

10 Peppermint Matcha Tea Latte

This wintry beverage isn’t on the menu per say, but you can definitely hack it. Ask for a tall non-dairy matcha tea latte with a pump of peppermint syrup. When you need a break from cinnamon and spice, this drink will reset your palate while still offering all the warm fuzzies of a Starbucks holiday beverage.
Barista tip: Starbucks’ matcha powder contains sweetener, making it less earthy and more palatable for the self-declared matcha-haters.  

11 Irish Cream Cold Brew

We’re well aware many people prefer iced coffee, even in the dead of winter. For you, we suggest the Irish Cream Cold Brew. The chilly drink is made with smooth cold brew coffee sweetened with Irish Cream Syrup and poured over ice. It’s topped with Irish Cream Cold Foam, (which is not vegan—request non-dairy milk instead) and a dusting of sweetened cocoa powder. Sláinte!
Barista tip: For a more adult beverage, order an unsweetened cold brew from Starbucks and add a nip of Baileys Almande for a yummy Irish coffee on a celebratory winter night. 

For more vegan Starbucks, read: 
Everything You Need to Know to Order Vegan at Starbucks
Starbucks’ First-Ever Vegan Holiday Drink Is Inspired by Cookies
10 Mouthwatering Vegan Frappuccinos at Starbucks

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