The holidays have come to an end — and with them, the season of Starbucks’s well-loved holiday drinks. But as the Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte, and Peppermint Mocha ride off into the sunset to vanish until next November, new drinks arrive to take their place. We can’t have people getting bored with the regular menu, can we?
This year, the post-holiday theme is Vanilla — complete with an all-new drink, the Vanilla Spice Latte.
As a flavored latte, this concoction starts with espresso and steamed milk. The usual options apply: decaf, iced, nonfat, soy, etc. The flavor is created with “vanilla spice” syrup, which is kind of a French vanilla-y flavor mixed with cardamom and a few hints of other spices. Since this is a sweet froufrou drink, it comes with whipped cream and a sprinkling of vanilla bean sugar on top.
I love vanilla-flavored things, and this one does not disappoint. It’s not as overwhelmingly spice-flavored as the Pumpkin Spice latte; the cardamom is nicely balanced with the vanilla so you can still taste both. It is quite sweet, so if supersugar isn’t your thing you might want to get fewer pumps of the syrup, and leave the whipped cream off.
As a seasonal drink, the Vanilla Spice Latte will probably only be available for a limited time, and may or may not come back next year depending on sales. So if you want to give it a try, now’s the time. Also being advertised right now are the vanilla [no-spice] latte and vanilla coffee, but these are available year-round — they use the regular vanilla syrup that every Starbucks has on hand all the time.
As for me, I’m swapping this in as my daily latte (half-caf or decaf, no whip, only two pumps of syrup) to replace the soon-out-of-stock gingerbread latte I’m so addicted to.
(Edited to take the Peppermint Mocha off the list of vanishing seasonal drinks — you can buy it any time of the year, it’s just a little less fancy without the holiday chocolate sprinkles)