Pro Skills Session: How to Make Holiday Coffee Drinks Like a Barista

Holiday Coffee Drinks

Making holiday coffee drinks is easy if you have the right ingredients

Forget sugar plums: for the last decade or so, the holidays have brought us a new tradition to sweeten the coffee drinker’s dreams. Yes, ’tis the season for holiday coffee drinks, from your favorite cozy local coffeehouse to the decked out corner Starbucks.

And while there’s something to be said for enjoying your beloved holiday coffee drinks in the warm atmosphere of a café, there are a couple of major perks to be found in making café-quality beverages at home. For one, there’s always the convenience factor. Whipping up your favorite blend at home is simply faster, and you can enjoy it in your flannel PJs and fuzzy slippers. And while you’re at it, why not kick the festive feeling up a notch by enjoying it in front of the lit Christmas tree? Beyond that, there’s of course the matter of money. You’ll save a ton by being your own barista, even if you buy the most gourmet beans.

Consider: Starbucks sweet and spicy Christmas Blend is just under $15 for a pound of coffee, which typically makes 40+ cups of coffee. That’s less than 40 cents a cup—you just can’t beat that at the café. And that delightful blend of spicy, cedary coffee is available in whole or ground beans. They’ve also got a Christmas Blend espresso, decaf Christmas Blend coffee, and a more mellow Holiday Blend coffee. Of course, there are plenty of other great options out there. Similiarly festive standouts include World Market’s Eggnog Holiday Coffee, Green Mountain Coffee’s Fair Trade Gingerbread Coffee, and for the K-Cup fans out there, Keurig’s Holiday Coffee Collection.

More of a mocha or latte type? The fastest way to replicate the coffeehouse flavors you love is to use the same products they do: flavored syrups. There are enough holiday-appropriate options to please any palate, so we’ve rounded up a few popular ones for inspiration:

  • Monin Cinnamon Syrup: Like a hot melty cinnamon bun in liquid form, this crowd-pleasing syrup can give even the plainest cuppa joe a warm and toasty sensation.
  • Torani Gingerbread Syrup: Bring on the cinnamon and molasses… gingerbread latte anyone? (Here’s the recipe.)
  • Torani Eggnog Syrup: This celebratory add-in gives you all the flavor and sweetness with none of the fat.
  • Monin Roasted Chestnut Syrup: Channel a wintry stroll through Central Park with mild nutty flavor and a hint of toffee.
  • Monin Pecan Pie Syrup: Toasted pecan, maple, and apple notes make for an irresistible dessert-style coffee drink. Top with whipped cream for the full effect.

Just put a spoonful of any of the above in your favorite home-brewed coffee and voila, coffee fit for a coffeehouse special.

Feeling inspired to make your own? Try Nigella Lawson’s Gingerbread Syrup recipe or the Messy Vegetarian’s Eggnog Spice Syrup Recipe.

So why not give yourself the gift of holiday coffee drinks this year? After all, ‘tis the season!

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