STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Starbucks has added a new beverage to its holiday lineup — the Irish Cream Cold Brew.

The new drink was added to the menu Tuesday, and is made with Starbucks Cold Brew coffee and Irish cream syrup over ice. It is topped with a frothy cap of vanilla sweet cream cold foam “like a layer of fresh snow and a dusting of cocoa powder,” according to a Starbucks news release.

The coffee giant said the flavors of vanilla and cocoa complement the smooth cold brew to create a delicious, festive drink.

The beverage was created by Erin Marinan, product developer for Starbucks Research & Development. She drew from memories of making homemade Irish cream with her family, and blending up creamy batches to add to coffee or give as gifts.

“It pairs so well with cold brew because of the chocolate flavor in the Irish cream and the cocoa notes from the coffee,” Marinan said. “I think about that customer who’s in the middle of work or shopping, and this will help get them into the holiday spirit for the rest of the day.”

Starbucks said cold coffee continues to be a popular trend, even in winter weather. Cold beverages now make up more than half of U.S. Starbucks beverage sales. Cold foam was first introduced in Starbucks Roastery locations in 2014 and added to Starbucks stores in April 2018.

This fall brought the new Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew — the first new pumpkin coffee beverage since Pumpkin Spice Latte launched in 2003.

“Cold foam has been key for us from the innovation side of product development,” Marinan said. “It highlights our coffee craft with a great creamy texture and those beautiful layers. It’s adding a little bit of flavor in a way that’s unique to Starbucks.”

To celebrate the holidays, Starbucks will have weekly Happy Hours in participating stores throughout the month of December. Customers who buy one grande (medium) or larger handcrafted beverage can get one free on Thursdays in December between 2-7 p.m. using the Starbucks app.

Other holiday beverages include Peppermint Mocha, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte and Eggnog Latte, all available in hot, iced and Frappuccino blended beverages.


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Starbucks is spicing up its holiday lineup with a festive new beverage.

Starting Dec. 3, the Irish Cream Cold Brew will be available at participating locations nationwide for a limited time.

The Irish Cream Cold Brew is made with the coffee giant’s cold brew coffee and Irish cream flavored syrup over ice, topped with vanilla sweet cream cold foam and dusted with cocoa powder.

While traditional Irish cream includes Irish whiskey and cream, Starbucks’ new drink is non-alcoholic.

“It pairs so well with cold brew because of the chocolate flavor in the Irish cream and the cocoa notes from the coffee,” Erin Marinan, a product developer for Starbucks, said in a company blog post. “I think about that customer who’s in the middle of work or shopping, and this will help get them into the holiday spirit for the rest of the day.”

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Starbucks’ highly-anticipated holiday cups for the 2019 season were recently debuted. The festive cups have become more highly anticipated in recent years, as the coffee company has added additional design options each year. Check out Starbucks’ holiday cups throughout the years. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks In 1997, Starbucks offered four colors of the same design for their holiday edition cups. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks The 1998 version featured snowflakes on a purple background. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks’ 1999 holiday cup started the tradition of the red color. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks 2000 holiday cups. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Two red options were offered in 2001, marking the first year Starbucks debuted more than one design for the holiday season. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks 2002 holiday cups continued the red theme. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks 2003 holiday cups. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks 2004 holiday cups. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks In 2005, the holiday version featured a wrap-around design with different illustrations on each side. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks 2006 holiday cups Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks 2007 holiday cups Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks The 2008 version featured a cable-knit print with winter-themed illustrations. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks 2009 holiday cups Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks The 2010 version also featured a wrap-around design. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks 2011 holiday cups Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks 2012 holiday cups Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks 2013 holiday cups Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks 2014 holiday cups Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks In 2015, the cups were a plain red. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks In 2016, Starbucks debuted multiple designs for their holiday cups. This tradition has continued in recent years. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks Starbucks 2017 holiday cups Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks The 2018 holiday cups boasted four printed versions with all different patterns. Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks The 2019 holiday cups also offered customers four designs to choose from. Connor Surdi, Connor Surdi

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Other holiday drinks available since Nov. 7 include Peppermint Mocha, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte and Eggnog Latte. All of the drinks are available hot, iced or as a blended Frappuccino.

Why introduce a new cold drink in winter?

Starbucks says cold coffee continues to be a hot trend, and its cold beverage lineup makes up more than half of U.S. beverage sales.

Happy Hours in December

Starbucks also announced that its popular Happy Hour promotion will be held every Thursday in December.

From 2-7 p.m. every Thursday through the end of the year, there will be a buy-one-get-one-free deal on all handcrafted beverages, grande or larger, including holiday drinks.

To get this deal, which is available when ordering ahead on the app and at participating locations in the U.S., you need the Starbucks app. The offer will automatically be loaded for Starbucks Rewards members.

In October, Starbucks revamped its Happy Hour promotion, which used to rotate with different specials. Now, on select Thursdays, the deal will be a buy-one-get-one-free drink offer.


Starbucks for Life returns

The popular Starbucks for Life contest launches Tuesday. Prizes totaling more than $2.9 million are up for grabs through Jan. 6, according to the official rules.

Members of the Seattle-based chain’s loyalty program can enter the fifth annual contest for a chance to win one of five grand prizes – free drinks daily for 30 years, worth about $59,458 apiece.

Other prizes include a freebie at Starbucks daily for shorter periods of time, including a year, six months, three months and a month. Bonus stars, free drinks and discounts also will be awarded. Stars turn into free drinks and food items in the loyalty program.

Game plays are earned on eligible purchases at participating stores with the Starbucks app or registered gift card. You can get a maximum of two plays per day plus bonus opportunities to earn additional plays. Rewards members also can request “free entries” on the website without making a purchase.

Learn more about the contest and find contest terms at

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

Starbucks is launching its latest holiday drink on Tuesday: the Irish Cream Cold Brew.

The cold brew, mixed with Irish cream syrup, comes topped with vanilla sweet cream cold foam and cocoa powder.

Two years ago, Starbucks’ midseason addition to its holiday lineup was the Christmas Tree Frappuccino. But since then the coffee chain has turned its focus from the heavy blended drink to lighter iced drinks that entice customers to return to cafes.

Despite dropping temperatures, cold beverages continue to be popular with Starbucks’ customers. They make up more than half of Starbucks’ U.S. sales. The company has rolled out Nitro cold brew to all of its U.S. locations and introduced new flavors of popular iced drinks such as Refreshers.

But Starbucks is also betting on flavored cold brew as the caffeinated beverage gains steam with coffee drinkers.

In August, the coffee chain introduced the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, its first new pumpkin coffee drink since the introduction of the pumpkin spiced latte in 2003. The popularity of its cold drinks, including the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, added 5 percentage points to the 6% jump in U.S. same-store sales it logged during the fourth quarter.

Last year, it added the Cold Foam Cascara Cold Brew and the Salted Cream Cold Brew. It also debuted a colorful take in Asia with the Butterfly Pea Lemonade Cold Brew.

Starbucks first introduced a cold brew holiday drink, the Spiced Sweet Cream Cold Brew, in 2016.

Compared with traditionally brewed coffee, cold brew usually has a less acidic taste and typically contains more caffeine than iced coffee. For example, Starbucks’ cold brew has 40 milligrams more caffeine than its iced coffee.

Cold brew now appears on 7.3% of U.S. menus, up 356% over the last four years, according to Datassential. Customers spent $1.7 trillion on cold brew last year, according to Technomic.

Dunkin’, Panera Bread and Dine Brands’ IHOP are among the national chains that have also jumped on the trend. Dunkin’ has even offered its own Irish Creme cold brew in the past, timed for St. Patrick’s Day.

Nearly a third of cold brew drinkers buy the beverage during lunchtime, according to Technomic. For coffee shops, that’s good news. Sales slow down after the busy morning hours, and luring customers back without relying on too many discounts can be difficult. Cold brew is also usually pricier than the average iced coffee.

Starbucks Just Added an All-New Cold Brew Flavor for the Holidays

Starbucks Cold Brew coffee is a menu staple, regardless of the season. And what’s not to love? Cold brew coffees are much more coffee-forward yet smoother than your typical iced coffee. So, when the coffee chain unleashes a new, flavored twist on cold brew — like it did for pumpkin spice season this fall — it’s worth paying attention. The latest flavor? Irish Cream.

For everyone who’s looking for a festive drink that’s markedly more refreshing than, say, a Peppermint Mocha or Eggnog Latte, Starbucks has introduced its first-ever Irish Cream Cold Brew. The new drink, which hits locations nationwide on December 3, is a huge win for Team Cold Brew. It’s made with Starbucks’ signature cold brew, topped with whipped cold foam that’s infused with a newly developed Irish cream syrup. To finish it off, baristas dust the frothy drink with a stylish stripe of cocoa powder.

MORE: Starbucks killed off one of its beloved holiday drinks this year.

This is not the first time Starbucks has introduced a holiday-themed take on cold brew. In 2016, the chain offered a Spiced Sweet Cream Cold Brew for the festive season. Considering the popularity of its Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, a lighter and decidedly less sweet way to get in on the Pumpkin Spice Latte mania earlier this fall, it’s no surprise that the ‘bucks is looking for another hit with the new Irish Cream flavor.

Irish Cream Cold Brew itself is technically the new addition to the menu, but Starbucks told Thrillist that you can customize all sorts of drinks with the new Irish Cream syrup. So if you are the type who prefers sugary lattes, you can definitely order your own Irish Cream latte customized to your liking.

Depending on where you get it, the new Irish Cream Cold Brew clocks in at $4.45 to $4.75 for a grande and contains 200 calories, so it’s not as heavy as your usual winter classics. If you’re mourning the loss of the Gingerbread Latte, why not try something new to replace it?

Everyone’s favorite coffee chain is back with a new, fabulous drink. Starbucks already has a whole slew of cold brew flavors on the menu, including salted cream cold foam, cascara cold foam, and nitro cold brew—not to mention the seasonal pumpkin cold brew that disappeared with the start of winter. But no worries, they replaced the cold PSL with a new cold seasonal drink that is sure to sell like hot cakes.

Introducing: the Irish Cream Cold Brew. This coffee concoction combines standard cold brew with Irish cream syrup, vanilla sweet cream cold foam, and a dash of cocoa powder on top. Aside from sounding beyond delicious, the Irish Cream Cold Brew is the first cold-only holiday drink ever created by Starbucks.

This sweet sipper joins the ranks of Starbucks’ other 2019 holiday drinks, including the classic eggnog latte and peppermint mocha. Other notable festive finds hail from previous years’ menus: the chestnut praline latte, toasted white chocolate mocha, and caramel brulée latte. Fans of the gingerbread latte were sad to see it missing from this year’s lineup, but hopefully the Irish Cream Cold Brew will fill that latte-sized hole on the menu (and in their hearts).

Starbucks is also offering iced and Frappuccino versions of all holiday drinks, which might sound counterintuitive, but shouldn’t coffee drinkers of all types get to enjoy the jubilant bevs? It’s just what’s fair. And get the ‘gram ready, because as per usual, the collection of themed cups is adorable. This year’s designs focus on typography, spelling out “merry,” “coffee,” and “Starbucks” on top of festive patterns.

Luckily for the cold coffee fans out there, it appears the Irish Cream Cold Brew will come in a holiday-themed cold-drink cup, so you don’t have to miss out on all that merry. For an eco-friendly bonus, customers who bought the reusable red cup can bring it in and snag a small discount on their holiday drink.

If you can’t decide which holiday drink to go with, your best bet is to hit up participating Starbucks locations on Thursdays in December for their happy hour. From 2 p.m. ’till 7 p.m., Starbucks app users can get two merry drinks (size grande or larger) for the price of one! The only hard part is choosing which to try, but thankfully you’ve got all month to test the menu.

So what are you waiting for? Hop on over to Starbucks for the new Irish Cream Cold Brew—it’s sure to be a cup full of joy.

Starbucks cold brew cream

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