Which Holiday Drink is the Best?

Emma Brooke, Reporter

The views expressed in this article belong to the reporter, and do not reflect the views held by Rockbridge County High School, the Prowler Staff, and its members.

When the cold weather hits, everyone starts to seek festive drinks. They run to a Starbucks or a local coffee shop to bring them a taste of a little joy. There always seems to be a debate on which of these seasonal drinks is the best. A peppermint mocha? A salted caramel latte? An Andes Chocolate frappe? A candy cane latte? Well, today I am going to settle the debate.

I am going to gather the supplies for each of these drinks and make each one. After seeing the process at hand and testing each, I will have an opinion to deliver. So how is this helpful to you? The next time you enter a coffee shop or get in the mood to make something, you will know what to pick. 

The first drink tested  was a peppermint mocha. A mocha drink is typically cacao powder mixed with espresso to make a chocolate-like coffee. Mixing the peppermint flavor with the mocha makes a perfect combination for the holidays.

The peppermint mocha was a messy but fun drink to make. The final taste awoke my taste buds and filled me with holiday joy. I gained inspiration from the drink thanks to Ashley Fehr’s recipe on the Recipe Rebel.

 My first task was melting the sugar, milk, and cacao powder into a single liquid. After doing so, the perfect base was made for making a basic mocha. Next, I ground some espresso beans and made a fresh one ounce pour of espresso. After mixing the espresso with the cacao mixture, I decided to garnish the drink with whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, and shaved Ghirardelli peppermint chocolate.

 The peppermint mocha drink was a complete 10/10. If I had more time in the morning, I would make this drink everyday before school. It’s THAT good! Next time it snows outside, try making this drink for yourself.

The next drink I made was a sea salt caramel latte. The build of the latte was inspired by Hug For your Belly’s Recipe. This latte seemed to be a hug to my soul. Compared to the Peppermint Mocha, this drink took less time.

I started off the process of making this drink by melting together Ghiradelli’s sea salt caramel syrup and whole milk on the stove top

. While heating up, I made a fresh one ounce espresso shot. After the milk/caramel mixture warmed, I mixed it with the espresso. I topped off the latte with some whipped cream and caramel syrup. After a sip of this drink, I felt like a blanket of warmth and joy surrounded me.  

My only con to the sea salt caramel latte was the amount of caramel. I typically prefer  vanilla latte so this drink was different from the usual. Overall, I give it a 8/10.

Do you want a drink that’ll bring you nostalgia? Well the Andes Bar hot chocolate is for you. Mixed with raw cacao powder and fresh Andes bars, this drink is sure to fill all of your chocolate needs. Instead of looking up a recipe for this one, I decided to take a creative leap. I have no idea if any coffee places sell something like this but they definitely should.

To start this drink off, I melted cacao powder, milk, and sugar to make a mocha base. I then got around 8 little Andes chocolates and crushed them up. I crushed them up so that they would melt easier in the saucepan. After making the concoction, I poured it into a mug and garnished with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and an entire Andes chocolate!! 

So what were my thoughts on this chocolate madness drink? Well, it is the best drink possible if you are wanting an explosion of chocolate in your mouth. The hints of mint from the Andes bars themselves add a nice note of flavor. I give this drink a 9/10. The one thing I would fix is to make this drink more milky.

My last drink that I made was a candy cane latte. Because winter break is right ahead of us, I wanted to make something that I’d want on a snowy day off. Just like the Andes hot chocolate, the peppermint mocha recipe I threw together in my mind. 

I started off making the latte by melting together milk, peppermint extract, shredded candy canes, and candy cane Andes chocolates. After melting all of these, I mixed it in with the 1 ounce espresso shot. I garnished it with whipped cream, shredded Candy Cane Andes Chocolate, and a tiny candy cane.

This drink was by far the worst. It was way too milky and did not have enough chocolate or coffee tones. It seemed to be lacking something. Maybe I just did the proportions wrong but there seemed to be a lot missing. Overall, I give this drink a 4/10. Too much milk and not enough flavor.

So which of all of these drinks is the best? In my opinion, the drink in fourth place for me is the candy cane latte. It is too milky for my liking and does not have much to it. In third place, is the sea salt caramel latte. The caramel is just not my favorite flavor and there’s not enough coffee and/or espresso in this drink. My runner up for the best of all of these would be the Andes Bar Hot Chocolate. Even though it is a chocolate dream, it is just too heavy. It is definitely a delicious treat but it is as filling as a meal. First place would go to the peppermint mocha without a doubt.

So why does peppermint mocha get first place? Well the peppermint mocha is the perfect mix of everything. Not too much chocolate, just enough milk, and has a kick of sweetness from the peppermint. I would recommend the peppermint mocha out of any of them to someone looking for a good holiday drink.

Which of these drinks is best for you? If you are not a fan of coffee or strong notes of chocolate, I would go for the candy cane latte. It is simple, sweet, and easy to drink. If you love a mix of sweet and salty and like caramel, then the sea salt caramel latte is for you. If you love Andes bars and chocolate, then the Andes Hot Chocolate is for you. If you want a perfect mix of everything and like peppermint, then the peppermint mocha is for you. 

This process of experimentation and elimination was really fun and was able to give readers a solid and confident response on what to order next when at the coffee shop. In your free time during the cold weather, go grab a peppermint mocha!