Sorry Starbucks Fans, There Will Be No New Holiday Drink This Year

But the chain will be bringing back plenty of fan favorites and a brand new holiday cup design.

November 02, 2022

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Photo courtesy of Starbucks

It’s beginning to look a lot like … Starbucks holiday cup season. On Thursday, November 3, expect your barista to hand you your hot coffee in a pretty red, green and white cup that looks as if it’s been wrapped in festive gift paper. (Fun!)

Every year since 1997, the coffee chain has released new cups with different designs — generally, but not always, relying heavily on color palettes of red and green — to signal the start of the holiday season and provide a celebratory break from the white-cup same old same old. At the same time, Starbucks generally reintroduces its full Starbucks holiday-seasonal menu. Often, that includes new menu items, along with returning favorites.

So is there a new holiday beverage this year? There is not. However, seasonal fan-favorite drinks — including Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha and Irish Cream Cold Brew, as well as, for the second year, the nondairy Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte — are coming back. And Starbucks (rightfully) beloved Peppermint Mocha will be returning for its 20th year to locations across the globe, as will freshly brewed Christmas Blend.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Photo courtesy of Starbucks

A new bakery item — Chocolate Pistachio Swirl — will also make its debut. Featuring “creamy chocolate filling with notes of cinnamon and coffee is swirled into buttery brioche-inspired dough with mint chocolate chips and topped with chopped pistachios,” the new baked good will join returning seasonal treats including the Reindeer Cake Pop, the Sugar Plum Cheese Danish, the Cranberry Bliss Bar and the buttery-shortbread, white-chocolate-iced Snowman Cookie.

All that sounds delicious, but back to those cups. It’s a big year for Starbucks Iconic Holiday Red Cups because — for those of you who haven’t yet done the math (2022 minus 1997 equals … anyone have a calculator?) — this year marks the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the very first Starbucks’ holiday cup. In celebration, Starbucks has gathered and photographed every single cup that has ever been released … year by year.

Each holiday cup is truly distinct. Many evoke the cultural zeitgeist in ways that may be clear only in retrospect.

Photo by: Connor Surdi/Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Connor Surdi/Photo courtesy of Starbucks

The first cup, released in 1997, has a swirly-purple Friends-apartment vibe. (The show debuted in 1994 and ran through 2004, and so was in the height of its fame at the time. Many of us were probably sporting Rachel haircuts as we sipped.)

Photo by: Connor Surdi/Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Connor Surdi/Photo courtesy of Starbucks

In 2008, unsteadied by the recession, we found comfort in a cup that portrayed “a field of reindeer and a single white dove … depicted in a moonlit woodland landscape with an overlay of a cozy knitted pattern,” as the brand describes it.

Photo by: Connor Surdi/Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Connor Surdi/Photo courtesy of Starbucks

The 2017 cups featured a design that invited customers to color in themselves; that must have been the year everyone was looking to reduce anxiety and embrace mindfulness with adult coloring books. Remember that?

Photo by: Connor Surdi/Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Connor Surdi/Photo courtesy of Starbucks

And do you remember how, just a couple of years ago, we were all going crazy with washi tape? That provided the inspiration for the 2020 cup.

Photo by: Connor Surdi/Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Connor Surdi/Photo courtesy of Starbucks

It may be too soon to get full perspective on this year’s design, but the 2022 cup’s classic holiday red-and-green look and “accents of mint and sparkles” appear to celebrate not only the Peppermint Mocha’s 20th anniversary, but also, with its wrapping-paper theme (complete with a note-ready gift tag on the back of each cup), the joy of togetherness and giving.

“Looking back at all the years of holiday cups, you can see the commitment to design and artistry and all things handcrafted,” Gary Jacobson, Starbucks creative director for this year’s holiday campaign, says in a press release. “I think that’s why they have become part of a lot of people's holiday traditions. They invite people in because each new design captures a moment in time with its own unique take on the holidays.”

Drink that in … in your festive cup!

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