Everyone get your ugly, festive sweaters on: the holidays are just around the corner. Nothing is better than a nice warm drink on a cold winter day, but some drinks are simply superior to others. Peppermint flavoured? Total game changer. That’s why I’ve gone to the major coffee places accessible to students and compiled a list of the best festive drinks.
1. Starbucks Sugar Cookie Oat Latte
The Sugar Cookie Oat Latte is the newest addition to the Starbucks holiday arsenal, and easily one of my favourite drinks they’ve ever created. It’s a subtle mix of both sweet and savoury, with the sugar cookie syrup perfectly complementing the savoury coffee. Even better, the drink comes with perfect little green and red sprinkles that add to the festive feelings. Recently, whenever Starbucks creates a new collection, they add a vegan drink to their menu; this year’s holiday menu is no exception. In my humble opinion, the sugar oat latte is better than every other drink offered, so count that as a win for the dairy-free. As with their other lattes, Starbucks also offers this iced! So if you’re the kind of person who drinks cold drinks year round, Starbucks has you covered.
2. McDonald’s Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Even with the newest holiday drinks, you just can’t beat a classic. Peppermint hot chocolate is a staple of almost every cafe, with good reason. Candy canes are one of the best parts of winter. You’d think that with every coffee shop selling them, peppermint hot chocolate would get tiring, but that’s just not true! So what makes McDonald’s hot chocolate different from their competitors? Mainly, its price. For the same size as Starbucks, McDonalds offers theirs for a quarter of the price, making it a more viable option for students. However, the closest McDonald’s to campus is on 109 St., so be prepared to take a bit of a hike to get your peppermint hot cocoa. As well, McDonald’s still doesn’t offer dairy alternatives, so this drink is not an option for the dairy-free.
3. Transcend’s Spiced Maple Latte
One of the struggles of Canadian winters is how oddly timed they are; one year, snow will be falling in the first week of October, while the next doesn’t see any until mid-November. This year, our snowfall didn’t hit until well into November, and even then, it’s still been relatively warm outside. So, how do you tackle holiday drinks when it still feels like fall? Transcend has you covered if your internal clock is screaming Christmas while your outsides are still celebrating Halloween. While not necessarily a traditional holiday drink, the spiced maple latte is the perfect answer to a chilly day. Flavoured with anise syrup, this latte will warm you up and keep you cozy even in the low 20s. Unlike the other options on this list, Transcend is a local coffee shop! Nothing says holidays like supporting local! The closest Transcend is just east of North Campus on 109 St..
4. Second Cup’s Eggnog Latte
If there was a Christmas version of candy corn, it would be eggnog. Some find it vile, while others wait in anticipation for the first signs of it in every grocery store. No matter where you stand, the eggnog latte is a classic. Second Cup has an uncanny ability to make traditionally sweeter drinks more palatable to those of us who like things on the savoury side. While the prices here are pretty similar to Starbucks, I always feel like I’m really getting the bang for my buck. Although Second Cup isn’t as close as Tim Hortons, it’s just a short walk down 112 St.. As you walk to get your eggnog latte, you can take in and enjoy the classic Edmonton winter weather!
5. Tim Hortons Candy Cane White Hot Chocolate
Is it even a Canadian top five coffee drink list if Tim Hortons doesn’t make it? Timmies is widely known for its cheap yet delicious coffee, which is what makes it so perfect for students. All students really ask for is great drinks that don’t break the bank, and boy, does Tims deliver. Now, you may be wondering why hot chocolate is featured twice on this list, let alone two peppermint flavoured drinks. First of all, white hot chocolate is a completely different ball game than plain old chocolate. It adds different levels of sweetness and flavour that are often lost on chocolate, and it brings out the candy cane. And, Tim Hortons is almost in the very middle of campus in CAB on the first floor. However, as every University of Alberta student knows, the lines at Tim Hortons tend to have a commitment time of at least 20 minutes, so come prepared to wait if this is the holiday drink of your dreams.