Starbucks recently debuted its new red cup designs and core holiday lineup featuring the Peppermint Mocha, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Caramel Brulee Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte and Eggnog Latte. Now, the chain is launching another drink inspired by a festive flavor you've likely had in your cup before: Irish cream.
The new Irish Cream Cold Brew uses Starbucks Cold Brew and Irish cream-flavored syrup topped with frothy vanilla sweet cream cold foam and a stripe of cocoa powder. If you’re non-dairy, you can ask your barista to make the cold foam using an alternative milk like almond, coconut or soy, though sweet cream and skim work best, according to a Starbucks spokesperson.
During a media preview prior to its official launch, The Daily Meal was able to sample the new beverage. It tastes remarkably like the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, but with a hint of cocoa. It’s smooth and flavorful, but we’re not 100% sure we would call this Irish cream because there is no trace of whiskey flavor. It’s a non-alcoholic drink, of course, but isn’t Irish cream without whiskey just sweetened cream?
The most prevalent flavor in the Irish Cream Cold Brew is vanilla, which is in the cold foam and the syrup. There are notes of cocoa that are near undetectable, but they’re there. This should have been called the Vanilla Cocoa Cold Brew, though it does capture the velvety mouthfeel of Baileys. It misses its namesake mark, but it's still delicious and tastes like Christmas.
While it may seem a little odd to launch a cold drink during the chilliest time of year, cold coffee accounts for more than 50% of all Starbucks beverage sales.
The Irish Cream Cold Brew, which has 200 calories in a standard grande cup, is only available through the holiday season and will likely cease to exist sometime in January when stores run out of supply, per a Starbucks spokesperson. No official hot beverage launched in tandem with the cold brew, but you can add the syrup to any coffee for an extra 60 cents.
If you want to spread the love this holiday season, Starbucks is running a buy one, get one free deal on any handcrafted beverage (including the Irish Cream Cold Brew and other seasonal drinks) every Thursday in December from 2 to 7 p.m. through the Starbucks app. Looking for something cool that won’t keep you up all night? Here’s the scoop on 14 caffeine-free holiday drinks straight from the secret menu.