I tried Starbucks’ new Sugar Cookie Latte, and it’s perfect for anyone who thinks the other holiday drinks are too sweet

Anneta with Starbucks Sugar Cookie Latte
I recently tried Starbucks’ Sugar Cookie Latte, its newest holiday drink. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider
  • I recently tried the iced and hot version of Starbucks’ new Sugar Cookie Latte.
  • It features sugar cookie-flavored syrup, Starbucks’ Blonde Espresso, plus red and green sprinkles.
  • The latte wasn’t as sweet as I was expecting and could definitely be a daily holiday beverage.

I’ve been trying Starbucks’ new seasonal drinks for the last two years.
Starbucks Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino
Me with Starbucks’ Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider
From the Irish Cream Cold Brew that debuted in 2019 to this fall’s Apple Crisp Macchiato, I’ve seen the coffee giant experiment with a wide range of flavors. 

So when Starbucks announced a new holiday drink was joining the menu this year, I knew I had to see how it stacked up against its predecessors. 

Starbucks’ new holiday drink is the Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte.
Starbucks Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte
‘ Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte. Starbucks
The Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte — available starting Wednesday — is Starbucks’ first non-dairy holiday drink, a spokesperson for the chain told me. 

It features sugar cookie-flavored syrup, along with Starbucks’ Blonde Espresso, almond milk, and ice. 

The drink is topped with red and green cookie sprinkles, and can also be ordered hot or with oat milk instead.

Starbucks’ new holiday drink was inspired by spritz cookies.
Spritz Cookies
Spritz cookies (pictured) were the inspiration for Starbucks’ new holiday drink. Melissa Kopka/Getty Images
These sweet cookies, which get their name from the German word “spritzen,” have long been popular during the holidays. 

Erin Marinan, who helped develop the Sugar Cookie Latte, told Insider that Starbucks wanted to “harness the buttery and vanilla notes” of spritz cookies so that you could smell their familiar scent from your very first sip. 

“It reminds me of making cookies with my mom and sisters growing up,” she added. “It gives me all the nostalgic feels of the holiday.”

I headed to my local Starbucks for a preview of the Sugar Cookie Latte, and tried the iced version first.
Starbucks Iced Sugar Cookie Latte
Starbucks’ Iced Sugar Cookie Latte. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider
While it may sound counterintuitive, I’m not surprised that Starbucks decided to make another iced holiday drink. Back when I tried the Irish Cream Cold Brew in 2019, a Starbucks representative told me that “cold is booming.” 

“It’s more than 50% of our beverage sales, and we know that everybody loves them year-round,” they added. 

I’m a huge fan of the Irish Cream Cold Brew and my go-to winter drink is an Iced Peppermint Mocha, so I was excited to see if the Iced Sugar Cookie Latte would be a hit as well.

I ordered my drink with oat milk (I’m allergic to almonds) and was surprised by how light the coffee looked compared to the promo image. At first glance, it didn’t really stand out — especially compared to recent special Starbucks drinks like the Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino

But the sprinkles on top were definitely festive.
Top of Starbucks Iced Sugar Cookie Latte
The top of the iced version of Starbucks’ Sugar Cookie Latte. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider
It was a cute touch, although the sprinkles seemed a bit out of place without whipped cream.
The Iced Sugar Cookie Latte wasn’t as, well, sugary as I expected.
Anneta with Starbucks Iced Sugar Cookie Latte
Me with Starbucks’ Iced Sugar Cookie Latte. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider
I know that a lot of Starbucks’ special drinks are a bit too sweet for many people — especially when it comes to the holiday menu. But if “Sugar Cookie” is in the name, I’m expecting something pretty saccharine.

So I was surprised that the Iced Sugar Cookie Latte’s flavor was pretty muted. The nuttiness of the oat milk and Starbucks’ Blonde Espresso came through, and I did get a bit of that vanilla and buttery taste that Marinan had mentioned. But the sweetness so prevalent in a sugar cookie? That was lacking for me. 

There was also a bit of a strange aftertaste, although it mostly disappeared after I gave the drink a big stir with my straw. 

Next up was the hot version of the Sugar Cookie Latte.
Starbucks Iced Sugar Cookie Latte
Starbucks’ Sugar Cookie Latte. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider
Now this, this smelled like the holidays — and it tasted like it, too. The sugar-cookie flavor was definitely more apparent in the hot latte, and the ingredients just seemed to meld better together in this warmer version. 

The sweetness still isn’t overpowering though, so the Sugar Cookie Latte could be a good drink for people who think a Peppermint Mocha is too much for a frequent winter beverage. But I still yearned for a little more holiday flavor.

The sprinkles looked even more festive in the hot latte’s foam.
Top of Starbucks Iced Sugar Cookie Latte
The top of the hot version of Starbucks’ Sugar Cookie Latte. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider
When I took off the cap to take a peek at the red and green sprinkles, I felt that familiar tug of excitement for the upcoming holidays — this actually looked like Christmas in a cup. 
I’ll be sticking to my usual winter favorites. But if you want a holiday drink that’s less sweet, the Sugar Cookie Latte may be just what you need.
Anneta with Starbucks Iced Sugar Cookie Latte
Me with Starbucks’ hot Sugar Cookie Latte. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider
Maybe it’s because last year’s holiday season was overshadowed by the pandemic, but when I heard “Sugar Cookie Latte,” I was expecting something packed with plenty of festive flavors. After all, who doesn’t want an excuse to go all out for Christmas after 2020?

I think the sugar-cookie flavor might’ve been more exciting in a frappuccino. But, since the latte doesn’t feel like an over-the-top treat, I could easily see someone drinking this every day if they wanted to. 

The Sugar Cookie Latte is joining many of Starbucks’ holiday favorites.
Starbucks Holiday Drinks
‘ holiday drinks. Starbucks
The Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulee Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, and Irish Cream Cold Brew will all reappear on Starbucks’ menus as of Wednesday. 
And Starbucks’ beloved red cups will be back in four new designs.
Starbucks New Holiday Cups
‘ new holiday cups. Starbucks
This years’ red-cup designs were inspired by wrapping paper, ribbons, holiday lights, and candy canes.
Seasonal holiday sweets will also be back on the menu.
Starbucks Holiday Food
‘ holiday treats. Starbucks
You’ll be able to get the new reindeer cake pop, along with classics like the sugar plum danish, cranberry bliss bar, and snowman cookie.