Came for the ugly sweater, left with the fruitcake
No one is excited to see a fruitcake at the office holiday party, which is why I was surprised to learn that Starbucks launched a new holiday drink inspired by the most divisive of holiday baked goods. Yes, you can now order a Starbucks fruitcake Frappuccino. And unlike other divisive Frappuccino-based beverages, like the so-called Baby Vomit, this one is actually created by Starbucks and doesn't come from the secret menu. According to a press release, the fruitcake Frappuccino is a Hazelnut Crème Frappuccino with dried fruit blended in, presumably to give it that authentically fruitcake-y taste. It's spiced with cinnamon then topped with whipped cream and "an ornate topping of caramel dots and a sprinkle of matcha."
Somewhat unsurprisingly, folks on Twitter overwhelmingly did not seem to love the idea of the fruitcake Frappuccino. It's been described as "the grossest thing I've ever heard," "a gross failure," and "just wrong." But to sweeten the deal—and in honor of National Ugly Sweater Day, which is today, December 16—members of the Starbucks Rewards program can get an "ugly" sweater cozy to go along with their cold fruitcake-inspired drink.
So even though I was also skeptical about the fruitcake Frappuccino, I figured I should go get the sweater cozy. Also, how bad can fruitcake be?
The first thing I learned about the fruitcake-flavored Frappuccino is that there's no actual coffee. I would describe it more as a holiday milkshake—and that's not necessarily a bad thing. But much like a regular old fruitcake, this fruitcake Frappuccino is certainly divisive. My coworkers either loved it or were kind of grossed out. The biggest cause for concern? Those chunks of dried fruit, which got stuck in my straw as I tried to sip the drink. Plus, there's something about chewing my Frappuccino that makes me a little queasy.
Having said that, the flavor itself it totally fine, bordering on festive. If you like the taste of hazelnut, you'll probably be able to get down with this drink. The chunks of dried fruit, though chewy, were a nice tart break from the overwhelming sweetness of the drink, as did the sprinkle of matcha on top of the pillow of whipped cream. And though you might not expect matcha on a holiday drink, let alone a fruitcake, it was kind of my favorite part.
Even if you're not someone who usually orders Frappuccinos, but you are a Starbucks Rewards member, I would almost recommend ordering a fruitcake Frappuccino just to get the limited edition sweater cozy. It is adorable, maybe even the best part of the drink, featuring a little knit Frappuccino cup in the front, surrounded by gingerbread men and mittens and bows and candy canes. Like, I'm ready to pop this holiday-themed cozy on all of my red Starbucks cups instead of the traditional brown cardboard sleeve. (My coworker did bring up a great point, though. "What if you spill coffee on the cozy? Does it shrink in the wash like a regular sweater?")
Here's my biggest problem with the fruitcake Frappuccino. It's December, which means it's cold AF in New York City right now. And you know that I don't need on a super cold winter day with a wind chill of 21°F? A Frappuccino, that's what, and definitely not a Frappuccino that I need to chew.
But hey, at least this Frappuccino comes with a cute little sweater to keep your hands from freezing off while you hold it—and you only have a couple more days to get your hands on it, since Starbucks will stop selling the fruitcake Frappuccino on December 18. Do it for the ugly sweater, even if you don't like the fruitcake.