Revealed: The Holiday Drinks In The US With The Highest Sugar Content – 2022 Edition

Revealed: The Holiday Drinks In The US With The Highest Sugar Content – 2022 Edition

3 minute read time

The festive season is upon us, as the smell of peppermint and pine trees fill the air and the sound of Christmas music graces the speakers. One of the biggest rites of passage of the holidays is the return of festive drinks across the country’s most popular coffee chains.

There’s nothing better than grabbing a hot drink on a cold winter’s day, and this is made even better when the iconic holiday menus return with their festive flavored lattes and hot chocolates.

However some people who prefer to understand the nutritional information of what they’re consuming might be surprised by just how much sugar is in the festive drinks. Although with a variety of different flavours it’s easy to put your own spin on these drinks, especially if you’re sensitive to certain foods.

YorkTest looked at a group of the biggest coffee and food chains in America, including Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Biggby Coffee, to reveal the holiday drinks with the highest and least amount of calories and sugar, according to their website menus.

With dozens of limited edition festive drinks on offer, we were able to compare the nutritional value of each of them which might help you have a better idea when picking your next hot beverage. 

How much sugar is in Christmas drinks? 

OutletDrink nameSizeCalories per portion (kcal)Teaspoons of sugarSugar per portion (g)
Dutch BrosHolly Jolly RebelMedium51027.25109
Shake ShackChocolate Milk & Cookies ShakeOnly available size110025.5102
Shake ShackChristmas Cookie ShakeOnly available size83024.2597
Biggby CoffeePeppermint Stick Mocha Creme FreezeMedium561.421.0584.2
Biggby CoffeeSweet Foam Winter Wonderland Cold BrewMedium57520.983.6
Biggby CoffeeWinter Wonderland Creme FreezeMedium57520.983.6
Biggby CoffeeSnow Mint Mocha Creme FreezeMedium31411.9883.2
IHOPGingersnap MilkshakeOne size77018.7575
Dutch BrosHazelnut Truffle MochaMedium56018.574
Caribou CoffeeHo Ho Mint MochaMedium3791872

There is a huge 109g of sugar in Dutch Bros, Holly Jolly Rebel – the equivalent of 27.25 teaspoons of sugar based on the average teaspoon containing 4g of sugar.

And at Shake Shack, the Chocolate Milk & Cookies Shake  has 102g of sugar. You would need to consume nearly 14 and half double smoke shack burgers to consume the same amount of sugar. 

Which Christmas drinks have the least amount of sugar?

OutletDrink nameSizeCalories per portion (kcal)Teaspoons of sugarSugar per portion (g)
Caribou CoffeeEggnog Cold foamMedium63728
Caribou CoffeeIce Crafted Press With Egg Nog Cold FoamMedium63728
McDonald’sCaramel Waffle LatteMedium7765.2521
Peet’s CoffeeHoliday Spice Cold Brew Oat LatteMedium2305.7523
StarbucksIrish Cream Cold BrewGrande200624
StarbucksIced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk LatteGrande1506.2525
Dutch BrosSugar N Spice Oat Milk LatteMedium4007.530
Peet’s CoffeeHoliday Spice Cold Brew Oat Latte With Brown Sugar JellyMedium2305.7523
Peet’s CoffeeIced Holiday Spice LatteMedium2208.7535
StarbucksChestnut Praline LatteGrande3309.538

When it comes to seasonal beverages with the least amount of sugar, Caribou Coffee comes top, with 8g of sugar for each portion of its Eggnog Cold Foam, with only 2 teaspoons of sugar in it.

Kerri Farraioli, expert nutritionist at YorkTest, said: “The festive season is the time to indulge in your favorite drinks and food but it’s always worth keeping in mind the amount of sugar and calories we’re consuming. Everyone should be able to enjoy a Christmas-themed beverage, however for those who are mindful about nutrition, it’s worth noting that your sugar intake could rocket as some of these drinks are sweeter than many other treats which could result in a sugar crash.

“Everyone’s preferences are different, but it’s important to raise awareness of the volume of sugar in these drinks. It may be more beneficial to substitute it with something more filling, such as a gingerbread cookie or a slice of yule log.

“Christmas should not be spent worrying about what you’re eating or drinking. While we all know that these drinks often have a higher sugar content than a standard americano or latte, the sheer volume of it might surprise you. I would suggest being mindful of your choices when it comes to consuming holiday drinks regularly.”

If you’re concerned that your gut health is not as it should be and a food sensitivity test could be an underlying issue, check out our Premium Food Sensitivity Test.


To reveal which holiday drinks are the highest and lowest in calories and sugar volume, we used nutritional data from each chain’s own online U.S. menu to conduct our research. When size was an option, we selected the medium size for each drink or the equivalent of 16oz.

These figures were correct as of November 2022.


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