Move over, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte — there are new cold-weather drinks from a competing coffee chain. The Dutch Bros 2023 holiday drink lineup features three new beverages collectively known as the Holiday Trio: the Hazelnut Truffle Mocha, Snow Cap Freeze, and Merry Mischief Rebel. They're all loaded with sweet flavor, which makes them fit right in with the rest of the chain's sugary menu. And what could be more suitable for winter when we're all holed up at home, getting ourselves through the cold days and long nights with sweet treats?
I went through my local Dutch Bros drive-thru to sample the Holiday Trio and see if any of the drinks filled me with holiday cheer. I don't know if my teeth (or my insulin levels) will ever recover, but each beverage was tasty in its own way. In a season full of indulgence, the Dutch Bros Holiday Trio is a welcome addition — you might just want to lay off the sugar cookies for a day if you start the morning with one of these drinks.
What's In The Dutch Bros 2023 Holiday Trio?
The only drink in Dutch Bros' lineup of new holiday drinks that can be ordered hot is the Hazelnut Truffle Mocha. We find it a bit strange that the majority of the chain's winter-season beverages are served iced or frozen (even the Hazelnut Truffle Mocha has the option to be served cold), but we'd guess that's where the tastes of Dutch Bros' customer base lie, no matter what the weather's like. The Hazelnut Truffle Mocha combines hazelnut flavoring with chocolate milk and espresso. Though it looks like a latte, the foamy head on the drink is actually Soft Top whipped topping rather than steamed milk. The beverage is finished with a caramel drizzle.
Next up is the Snow Cap Freeze, a frozen, blended coffee drink with cupcake flavoring, Soft Top, and red and green sprinkles. Finally, for people who don't like coffee no matter how many sugary adulterants are mixed into it, Dutch Bros offers a Merry Mischief Rebel energy drink. The drink itself is strawberry and raspberry flavored, and it's topped with green apple Soft Top, a new ingredient from the chain.
How Much Does The Lineup Cost And How Long Will It Be Available?
None of these drinks come particularly cheap, which makes sense — they're all complicated builds with a lot of components. The small Hazelnut Truffle Mocha was the cheapest, at $4.95. The small Snow Cap Freeze cost $5.65, while the small Merry Mischief Rebel was $5.75. Dutch Bros doesn't list prices on its website, so we can't say for sure how much the larger sizes cost. Be aware that prices may vary depending on where you live.
The Holiday Trio debuted at Dutch Bros locations around the country on November 1. The lineup will be available for two months — you have plenty of time to sample the chain's wintery delights, but when the calendar advances to 2024, they'll be replaced with other offerings. The cutoff is December 31st, 2023, so Dutch Bros doesn't consider New Year's Day to be part of the holiday season.
How Does The Holiday Trio Compare To Other Items From Dutch Bros?
The 2023 Holiday Trio joins other holiday drinks on the Dutch Bros menu that, frankly, feel more Christmas-y than the three beverages we reviewed today. For example, the Candy Cane Trio is a set of three beverages that are all mixed with chocolate syrup and peppermint flavoring; you can choose cold brew coffee, frozen coffee, or cocoa to get this treatment. Whichever one you pick, it'll be crowned with Soft Top and peppermint sprinkles. Another chocolate-mint option is the Zero Sugar Added Peppermint Bark Mocha, which features sugar-free white chocolate, chocolate, peppermint syrups, espresso, and half-and-half.
In comparison to these candy cane and peppermint bark-flavored drinks, the hazelnut truffle and cupcake-flavored coffee beverages in the Holiday Trio seem more tenuously connected to the Christmas season. Cupcakes and truffles are certainly festive, but I don't exclusively associate them with winter. The Merry Mischief Rebel feels completely random; other than its red-and-green color scheme, it's not wintery at all; if it were cranberry-flavored, that would make more sense. It does fit with the Rebel lineup as a whole, which includes a plethora of brightly colored mixed-fruit drinks.
If you couldn't tell by our description of what's in these drinks, all three of them are basically sippable desserts, and they have the nutrition stats you'd expect based on that fact. A small hot Hazelnut Truffle Mocha contains a whopping 490 calories, 19 grams of fat, and 66 grams of sugar (which is more than the 50 grams per day that the FDA recommends for an average person). On the bright side, it has 11 grams of protein, so maybe it would help you get swole in the gym. If you want to lessen the caloric load, order this drink iced; the small iced version has "only" 320 calories. Conversely, the blended version has even more grim nutrition facts than the hot one; a large blended Hazelnut Truffle Mocha delivers an eye-watering 920 calories and 124 grams of sugar.
The Snow Cap Freeze, which can only be ordered blended, has similar stats. A small contains 530 calories, 18 grams of fat, and 75 grams of sugar. Those numbers increase to 930, 30, and 131, respectively, for a large. The blended Merry Mischief Rebel has less fat than the other two drinks (each size only has 7 grams), but its calorie and sugar content is still pretty astronomical — a small will set you back 370 calories and 76 grams of sugar.
Hazelnut Truffle Mocha Review
This drink tasted the best of the three when it was fresh from the drive-thru window. The hazelnut flavoring was classier and more complex than your standard hazelnut syrup. It had a legitimately delicious toasted nut flavor with a ton of buttery notes. Combined with the caramel drizzle, the hazelnut lent the first few sips of this coffee a marvelous butterscotch aftertaste that I quite enjoyed.
All three of these drinks started to taste sweeter as they sat around, but the Hazelnut Truffle Mocha was affected the most by this phenomenon, and it was a problem. I thought this drink would be my favorite initially, but as I made my way through the cup, the taste of the chocolate milk became more and more pronounced. The sugary sludge that comprised the final third of the beverage felt like slugging back Hershey's syrup straight from the bottle; it was a struggle to get through. Did this drink taste like coffee? Not even a little bit. If you want to try this, I'd recommend asking for half the normal amount of chocolate milk.
Snow Cap Freeze Review
Fake cupcake flavoring can vary pretty widely in flavor. Sometimes it tastes like cake batter, but it often just comes across as extra-strong vanilla. The cupcake-flavored Snow Cap Freeze was a new experience for me — it smacked me in the mouth with marshmallow. It tasted more like marshmallows than actual marshmallows do; the sensation reminded me of the toasted marshmallow Jelly Belly.
Underneath the marshmallow onslaught, I could also detect notes of sugar cookies and caramel. Once again, there was absolutely no coffee taste to be had. Beyond its flavor, the Snow Cap Freeze was also a textural delight; the frozen coffee was thick and smooth, while the sprinkles on top provided a wonderful crunch. You have to drink it relatively fast to enjoy these textures, however — both the sprinkles and the coffee started to melt after just a few minutes. Like the Hazelnut Truffle Mocha, this beverage will be enjoyed only by people who like their coffee to taste like a milkshake. However, it wasn't quite as thick and sugary as the other holiday coffee drink, so I enjoyed it a bit more.
Merry Mischief Rebel Review
Its dubious connection to Christmas notwithstanding, the Merry Mischief Rebel was unexpectedly my favorite drink in the 2023 Holiday Trio. I've tried Dutch Bros blended Rebel energy drinks before and did not really enjoy them; I like to get coffee from cafés, and I find that the dairy richness of Soft Top doesn't always mesh well with the flavor of energy drinks. The Merry Mischief Rebel proved to me that this beverage formula can actually work.
Part of the secret was the green apple Soft Top. Unlike the standard version of this topping, which has a vanilla/milk flavor profile, this light green foam delivered the malic acid tang you'd get from sour apple candy. It was tangier than the drink itself, which tasted remarkably similar to a red Twizzler. The acidity helped to temper the sweet fruitiness of the energy drink, making this a more balanced beverage than either of the holiday coffees. The Soft Top still did have notes of cream and vanilla in addition to its sour candy flavor, so the beverage as a whole tasted like a fruit and dairy popsicle. It's definitely worth a try; I've never had a drink that tasted quite like this before, and its caffeine content turned me into a productivity machine for the rest of the day.
Read the original article on Mashed.