Okay...not quite EVERY festive hot drink, but I have tried a heck of a lot.
Each year, when Christmas swings around, I look forward to the return of the Starbucks Red Cups and my beloved Toffee Nut Latte. For a good few years I had been in a very committed relationship with Toffee Nut, I'd heard people singing the praises of Costa's Black Forest Hot Chocolate and Starbucks's Gingerbread Latte but my coffee order always remained the same. However, this yea, that all changed with the introduction of the Honey and Almond Hot Chocolate at Starbucks.
My friends were absolutely raving about this drink: "It's magical!" "It tastes just like marzipan!" (I love marzipan) "You HAVE to try it". So, after a bit more persuading, I did, I took the plunge and I broke up with Toffee Nut: "I'll have a small Honey Almond hot chocolate please."
At first, I felt guilty but the guilt vanished as soon as I took that first sip. It was magical and it did taste just like marzipan!
My eyes had been opened, there was a whole world of festive drinks out there ready for the tasting and taste them I did! I tied everything from salted caramel lattes to gingerbread frappes testing the likes of Starbucks and Costa alongside the small local businesses near my university.
I kept a note of everything I tried and by the time I was onto my third variation of 'Praline' I realised my 'research' may make quite a good blog post!
I was originally aiming for a Top Five but there are far too many delicious festive drinks out there to just note. The best were as follows...
1. Strawberry White Chocolate Hot Chocolate - AMT Coffee
2. Brownie Hot Chocolate - Costa
3. Salted Caramel Latte - AMT Coffee
4. Honey Almond Hot Chocolate - Starbucks
5. Sticky Toffee Latte - Costa
6. Black Forest Hot Chocolate - Costa
7. Orange Hot Chocolate - Costa
8. Toffee Apple Hot Chocolate - Matilda's
9. Eggnog Latte - Starbucks
10. Toffee Nut Latte - Starbucks
YES, my beloved Toffee Nut is in 10th place! Who'd of thought there would be ten better hot drinks out there??
I was very impressed by Costa's festive menu - as you can probably tell - but I was even more impressed by AMT Coffee which is not somewhere I would tend to pick for my coffee. Another surprise was just how good the festive hot chocolates are. On the whole, I'd say they were better than the lattes!
I tried a lot of nutty drinks: Chestnut Praline Latte, Amaretto Latte, Praline Cappuccinos. With the exception of Toffee Nut, I found that the nut based drinks tasted a bit synthetic-y, which I wasn't keen on so I'll be giving these a miss in the future.
I also tried a few different gingerbread drinks, I wasn't too keen on the lattes and while it didn't quite make the list - which just demonstrates how good the others are, in my eyes - Pret a Manger's Gingerbread Frappe definitely needs a shout out. A blend of frappe mix, milk, espresso and actual gingerbread creates a deliciously unique festive drink. So good!
In other news, my exams are fiiiiinally over and I can properly get excited for Christmas now, only eight more sleeps!
Lots of Love,