With our iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte and Peppermint Mocha, Starbucks owns the holiday beverage, but you can't rest on your laurels in this business. That means our team is constantly brainstorming new specialty beverages and cup designs. Ha! Didn't see cup design being so controversial during the holidays, but here we are! We've strip-mined the catalog of fall and winter flavors like caramel, apple, gingerbread and sugar cookie, but that doesn't mean we're out of ideas. Indeed, the wonders of the season and invaluable feedback from our sometimes terrifying customers are endless sources of inspiration. Keep your eye out for these instant seasonal classics test marketing at a Starbucks near you.
Falling Maple Leaves Latte
Smell that? It's the scent of a crisp autumn day wafting from your cup. Take a sip of espresso and steamed milk, a shot of real Vermont Maple syrup and, mmm, pthpthp, yeah, those are actual leaves in there. Authentic, unwashed autumn leaves — like licking an un-raked lawn.
Cozy Cardigan Macchiato
What's more autumnal than wrapping your hands around a warm mug and wrapping yourself in a beloved sweater? Nothing. That's why we've created this hot espresso and a dash of steamed milk crisscrossed with Cozy Cardigan Caramel™ syrup, a lightly salted caramel with a hint of that musty smell from the back of the closet where your sweaters sat all summer. It's the scent of fall, all right.
Mushroom Hunter's Mocha
Plenty of health-conscious people are switching from traditional coffee to an immunity-boosting version made from dried mushrooms but this isn't that. This is a tempting mocha with regular espresso, your choice of milk and our house chocolate syrup, topped with whipped cream and shavings from some forest fungi foraged by your neighbor who just took up mushroom hunting and brought some by. We're no experts but he says he's, like 90 percent sure these are fine. Smells earthy!
Thanksgiving Flat White
Espresso and steamed milk with micro-foam get the holiday dinner treatment with all the roasted meat, sage dressing, gravy and green bean casserole flavor with our Turkey Feast™ syrup. All the trimmings in liquid form with a slice of canned cranberry sauce floating on top. What? Is it the cranberry sauce? Because we can swap in an extra shot of gravy instead. Ask for the secret menu!
On top of the planet being on fire and democracy dangling like plastic mistletoe from a thumbtack, the holidays can be stressful. Sometimes we don't have time for the self-care we need, like sleep, exercise or standing in the backyard to stare straight up at the sky like a penguin in the barren Antarctic. Enter the Venti Void. Lightly pine scented, it's actually an empty cup made from recycled soundproof foam so you can pop the lid and scream into it as long and as loud as you need to. There you go, let it out.
Black Friday Extra Black Cold Brew
This is a deeper than deep roast that's both rich and bracing. It's also strong enough to propel you through the barricaded doors of a Target at midnight. Does it have a teeny bit of PCP in it? I dunno. Do you want that 72-inch flatscreen? Then don't ask stupid questions.
Wild Turkey Steamer
Ah, this one has been a favorite among staff as our attempts to form a union were quashed by corporate, and it should get you through holiday gatherings where you'll be subjected to your relatives' abhorrent politics and comments about your "lifestyle." We pour four fingers of Wild Turkey into a frothing pitcher and kind of swish it around the espresso machine's steam wand while making a fake shrrsh-shrrsh sound before dumping it into a festive, red holiday cup with snowflakes and a very snug lid.
Is This Christmas Enough for You People
According to the flood of ranting emails, the red and green cups still aren't enough explicit Christmas cheer for some of our Fox News-addicted customers looking for something to scream at our cashiers about now that masking ordinances have ended. Well, how about if the staff dresses up to perform a living Nativity — oh, we're absolutely getting sued — and relays your order via Gabriel's trumpet? How about if a 42-year-old barista named Todd wrapped in swaddling cloth like baby Jesus passes your peppermint mocha or whatever through the drive-thru window, huh? Is that enough Christmas spirit for you?
You Know What? Fine, It's a War on Christmas Breve
OK, so you don't actually want any of that so much as you want to complain about the "War on Christmas" and rend your clothing over your imagined religious persecution every time someone says, "Happy holidays." Got it. Here's a pitch-black cup with a glossy embossed goat's head and pentagram to support your insane and low-key antisemitic conspiracy theory that a global cabal is threatening the very existence of this country's most heavily marketed annual sales generator. Is that the blood of infants mixed in with the espresso and half and half? It's not but that won't stop you from going live on Facebook to shriek that it is. Well, here you go. Hail Satan!
Jennifer Fumiko Cahill (she/her) is the arts and features editor at the Journal. Reach her at (707) 442-1400, extension 320, or email@example.com. Follow her on Mastodon @firstname.lastname@example.org.