The Best Holiday Coffee Drinks


Bryan Huynh

on July 16, 2024

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Hygge is a Danish word that means to comfort and console, and is closely related to the word hug. It’s a concept that many individuals embrace as the weather gets colder and it brings about feelings of contentment and coziness. Many people practice hygge by embracing the cold weather by lighting candles, curling up by the fireplace, and reading a book while enjoying a hot drink.

There’s almost no better way to get into the holiday mood by cozying up and enjoying a delicious beverage in the comfort of your home.

Here are some of our favorite coffee-based holiday drinks -- everything from sweet, spiced, and spiked beverages! Check out our Coffee Club page to compare and read reviews of our favorite coffee clubs!

Pumpkin Spice Latte

There’s a running joke that the moment a crisp leaf falls to the ground in autumn, it’s officially pumpkin spice latte season.

Ever since its conception, the Pumpkin Spice Latte has become the most popular seasonal drink at Starbucks, but it was a long journey before it became the symbol of sweater season: the PSL was initially made in the spring of 2003 at the Starbucks headquarters in Seattle by Peter Dukes -- the Starbucks’ director of espressos America -- who was in charge of creating a new seasonal fall drink (Starbucks had already rolled out the Eggnog Latte and Peppermint Mocha for Christmas and needed an autumn drink).

It took 3 months of testing, but eventually Dukes and his team found the perfect recipe: pumpkin spice sauce, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, espresso, steamed milk, and whipped cream with pumpkin pie topping. Apparently the research team even poured espresso onto actual pumpkin pies to taste test the different combinations of cinnamon, nutmeg, coffee, and steamed milk.

Over the years, the recipe has changed slightly (in 2015, pumpkin puree was added and the artificial coloring was removed when a food blogger revealed the ingredients) but the love for it has remained -- to date, over 500+ million PSLs have been sold and the popularity of pumpkin-flavored everything (even popcorn!) has taken over the fall season.

You will need:

*2 cups milk

*2 tablespoons canned pumpkin

*2 tablespoons vanilla extract

*2 tablespoons sugar

*½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice blend*

*¼-½ cup espresso




*1 teaspoon chocolate extract

*Whipped cream

*Chocolate sauce

Pumpkin pie spice blend:

*½ teaspoon ground allspice

*½ teaspoon ground black pepper

*1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

*½ teaspoon ground cloves

*2 teaspoons ground ginger

*1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Add the milk, sugar, and pumpkin to a saucepan and stir them over medium heat until it steams, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pumpkin spice blend and vanilla.

Place the mixture in a blender (or use a whisk) and process until it’s foamy (around 10 seconds).

Pour the mixture into the mug, add the espresso, and serve.

If you want to make it mocha, stir in the chocolate extract with the vanilla and add chocolate sauce on top of the whipped cream. You can also sprinkle some more pumpkin spice blend on top of the whipped cream.

Gingerbread Latte

Gingerbread evokes the holiday season and this cinnamon-filled latte is a classic drink for the holiday season.

You will need:

*2 cups water

*1 ½ cups white sugar

*2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

*½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

*½ teaspoon vanilla extract

*½ cup espresso

*8 ounces steamed and slightly foamed milk

*Whipped cream

*Ground nutmeg

*Medium saucepan


First, make the gingerbread syrup by adding the water, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla in the saucepan and bringing it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes, then take it off the heat and put a lid on it.

Brew the double shot of espresso and steam (and slightly foam) the milk. If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can use a microwave to heat up the milk and a whisk or French press to slightly foam it.

Pour the espresso into the cup, then add ¼ cup of gingerbread syrup and steamed milk before stirring. Follow it up with your preferred amount of whipped cream and nutmeg and serve.

You can also add maple syrup to sweeten your drink more and give it an extra holiday twist.

Peppermint Mocha Frappe

If you prefer cold and sweet beverages (even in the winter), this refreshing minty frappe will be right up your alley.

You will need:

*2 cups of frozen coffee cubes

*1 cup milk

*1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder

*3 tablespoons brown sugar, or to taste

*5-7 drops of peppermint extract



*1 teaspoon instant coffee, or to taste

*Whipped cream

*Chocolate shavings (semisweet)

*Peppermint sticks

Blend all of the ingredients (except for whipped cream and chocolate shavings) until the coffee ice cubes are crushed and smooth.

Pour the mixture into glasses and add whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and peppermint sticks if desired.

Peppermint Mocha

Like peppermint but want something more caffeinated? The peppermint mocha is perfect for those nighttime strolls.

You will need:

*¼ cup of water

*¼ cup of sugar

*3 teaspoons peppermint extract

*3 tablespoons powdered cocoa

*3 tablespoons warm water

*½ cup espresso

*1 ½ cups steamed milk




*¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

*Candy cane

Boil the sugar and water in the saucepan until it dissolves, then reduce the heat to a simmer and add 1 ½ teaspoons of peppermint extract. Continue to let it simmer for another 20 minutes.

Place the mixture in a cup, then add the water, espresso, steamed milk, and 1 ½ teaspoons of peppermint extract, then serve.

To add an extra layer of flavor, add a pinch of vanilla extract. Want to make it extra festive? Add a candy cane instead!

Eggnog Latte

Eggnog and Christmas go together like milk and cookies. This recipe is perfect as just a latte, or as an alcoholic drink if you want to spike it!

You will need:

*½ cup eggnog

*¼ - ½ cup espresso

*¼ cup steamed milk

*Pinch of nutmeg



*2 ounces alcoholic beverage of choice (brandy, bourbon, Irish cream liqueur such as Bailey’s)

Combine the eggnog with the steamed milk, then add the espresso.

If you wish to spike your drink, then you can add your alcoholic beverage of choice.

Sprinkle with nutmeg and enjoy!

Irish Coffee

Irish coffee is a perfect warm evening wintertime cocktail -- after all, it was invented by Joe Sheridan during a stormy winter night when some passengers were stranded at the Foynes airport near Limerick.

You will need:

*6 ounces drip coffee

*Brown sugar, to taste

*Whipped cream, or lightly whipped heavy cream

*1 ½ ounces Irish whiskey

*Footed glass mug


Brew the drip coffee and preheat your mug to keep the drink from cooling too quickly.

Rim the mug with sugar if you wish, and then add the coffee and remaining sugar.

Stir in the whiskey and top with whipped cream. Serve while warm.

Caramel Brûlée Latte

The caramel brûlée latte is a dessert in a drink, and this sweet drink is quick and easy to make.

You will need:

*2 shots espresso

*1 tablespoon caramel syrup

*1 tablespoon vanilla syrup

*1 cup milk

*Caramel sauce

Brew the espresso, then heat and froth the milk. You can use an espresso machine wand to heat and froth, or a saucepan and whisk or French press.

Mix the espresso, caramel syrup, and vanilla syrup.

Top the drink with the foamed milk, drizzle your desired amount of caramel sauce, and enjoy!

Salted Caramel Latte

This drink is a great combination of sweet and savory, and you can give it a chocolatey spin by adding mocha!

You will need:

*2 shots espresso

*2 tablespoons caramel syrup

*1 cup milk

*2 tablespoons sugar

*Caramel sauce

*½ teaspoon sea salt

*Whipped cream


*1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Brew the espresso, then warm the milk with the steam wand of the espresso machine (or use a saucepan with medium heat) and froth the milk. If you don’t have an espresso machine with a wand, you can use a whisk or French press.

Pour the espresso into your mug, then add sugar and caramel syrup and blend it. If you want to make it a salted caramel mocha latte, you can add cocoa powder.

Top the drink with the frothed milk, whipped cream, caramel drizzle (as much as you desire), and a pinch of sea salt. Serve and enjoy!

Salted Caramel Cold Brew

This beverage is the iced version of the salted caramel latte (if you’re one of those people who loves iced coffee in the winter). You can make it as is or add cold foam to sweeten it.

You will need:

*¾ cup cold brew coffee

*2 tablespoons caramel sauce

*¼ teaspoon sea salt

*½ cup ice

*Cocktail shaker or other airtight container

Optional cold foam:

*1 tablespoon simple syrup

*⅓ cup half & half, or milk (although this won’t make the drink as creamy)

Add the cold brew coffee, caramel sauce, and salt in a cocktail shaker (or airtight container) and shake thoroughly, then add it into a cup full of ice.

To make the cold foam, put the half & half and simple syrup in a French press and plunge until it has doubled in volume. Alternately, you can use a small blender or frother to make the cold foam.

Top the drink with the cold foam and enjoy!

Hazelnut Macchiato

The hazelnut macchiato is a perfect blend of some of our favorite winter flavors: chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut, and coffee.

You will need:

*2 shots espresso

*1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

*1 tablespoon hazelnut syrup

*1 tablespoon vanilla syrup

*¼ cup milk

*Whipped cream

*Chocolate sauce


Pour the espresso into the mug and add the chocolate, hazelnut, and vanilla syrup in, then stir thoroughly.

Use your espresso machine’s wand, a whisk, or French press to froth warm milk, then add to the drink.

Top it with whipped cream and as much chocolate sauce as you desire and enjoy!

About the Author

Product Tester & Writer

Bryan Huynh

Product Tester & Writer

Bryan Huynh is a determined Product Tester & Writer. Being a coffee addict, it is only right that he mainly tests and reviews different coffee from around the world and coffee subscription services.

Bryan Huynh is a determined Product Tester & Writer. Being a coffee addict, it is only right that he mainly tests and reviews different coffee from around the world and coffee subscription services.