Starbucks has been treating us to a ton of special holiday drinks this year. It seems like just yesterday they gave us the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha and Chestnut Praline Chai Latte. It isn't even the end of November yet, and they just surprised us with another new holiday drink for 2017: It's called the Juniper Latte, and it sounds like a grown-up twist on the seasonal holiday favorites we all know and love.
The Juniper Latte blends espresso and steamed milk infused with a syrup made with dried juniper berries, sage, and mandarin orange. It's finished with a swirl of latte art and sprinkled with a bit of juniper sugar. It will be exclusively available at Starbucks Reserve locations starting on December 5, and if you order it at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle, it will also be garnished with a sprig of fresh sage.
"With the first sip, you'll inhale that woodsy aroma and the savory woodiness of the juniper," said Lillian Ontiveros from Starbucks R&D. "On your second sip, you'll get the mandarin. The sage follows on the backend. It's a well-rounded experience."
The blend was designed to show off the flavor and nuance of Starbucks' Reserve Christmas coffee, which is a blend from Starbucks' farm at Hacienda Alsacia in Costa Rica. The seasonal coffee has notes of orange and mulled spices, as well as cedar and a touch of licorice.
Starbucks Reserve bars will also be doing another very cool thing with the Starbucks Reserve Christmas blend, because they're actually making Christmas-themed affogatos as well this year. Affogato is an Italian word that means "drowned" — it's an extraordinarily simple but wonderful dessert that consists of a scoop of ice cream with a shot of espresso poured over the top. The coffee melts the ice cream, so it's simultaneously cold, hot, creamy, sweet, bitter, and extremely caffeinated. It's a perfect light dessert at the end of a meal or just a late-afternoon treat. Personally, I'm obsessed with them.
Starbucks' holiday Juniper Affogato is a scoop of high-end Mora juniper-flavored ice cream topped with a shot of the Starbucks Reserve espresso. It's sweet and bold and smells like a Christmas tree, and it sounds like a pretty fantastic pick-me-up after a long day of holiday shopping.