Updated Nov 17, 2022 - Economy

Red Cup Day is back at Starbucks and where to find holiday drinks

Starbucks barista holds a red reusable cup with other holiday cups nearby

Photo courtesy of Starbucks

'Tis the season for holiday drinks and “red cups” as coffee shops and restaurant chains capitalize on America's thirst for seasonal flavors like peppermint and eggnog.

The intrigue: Seattle-based Starbucks said it's ringing in the holidays Thursday with its Red Cup Day giveaway, which comes two weeks after the holiday menu launched.

  • Wendy's and Chick-fil-A also added peppermint-flavored treats this week.

Zoom out: Pumpkin spice, which rolled out in August, is also still available at some chains while supplies last but expect the fall flavor to be retired for the year after Thanksgiving.

State of play: A 2020 YouGov survey found that hot chocolate was America's favorite holiday beverage with 32% of those surveyed choosing it as their top choice.

  • Eggnog was second with 25%, followed by apple cider and peppermint-flavored coffee, the survey found.

Starbucks Red Cup Day: How to get a free reusable cup

How it works: Starting Thursday, Nov. 17, order a handcrafted fall or holiday drink and get a reusable red cup for free, while supplies last.

  • Drinks can be ordered on the chain's app, for delivery, in-store, drive-thru and curbside.
  • Qualifying beverages include the Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Irish Cream Cold Brew and the nondairy Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte.
  • Ordering a fall drink — Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and Pumpkin Spice Latte — also can get you a free cup Thursday.

Starbucks unions strike on Red Cup Day

Driving the news: Starbucks unions for more than 100 U.S. locations announced they are striking Thursday with some locations holding the “Red Cup Rebellion.”

  • Starbucks Workers United said in a statement that while on strike workers will hand out red union cups to customers.
  • The union’s statement said the strike is “in response to Starbucks’ union-busting tactics and refusal to bargain.”

Chick-fil-A Peppermint Milkshake 2022

Chick-fil-A's Peppermint Chip Milkshake returned to restaurants nationwide this week.

  • The limited-time shake will be available through Jan. 7, 2023, while supplies last.

Wendy's Peppermint Frosty

Meanwhile, Wendy’s has added a Peppermint Frosty to the menu for the first time this holiday season.

  • It will be available for a limited time and joins the classic Chocolate Frosty on the menu.

Separately, Wendy's has introduced new Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich, Italian Mozzarella Cheeseburger and Garlic Fries.

Dunkin' holiday drinks 2022

Dunkin' released its holiday menu in early November and brought back the Peppermint Mocha Signature Latte and Toasted White Chocolate Signature Latte.

  • The chain added the Cookie Butter Cold Brew topped with a Cookie Butter Cold Foam and cookie butter crumbles along with a Cookie Butter doughnut.
  • A Pancake Wake-Up Wrap also is part of the new menu.

Caribou Coffee holiday drink lineup

Caribou Coffee’s holiday menu launched Nov. 3 and includes drinks like the Ho Ho Mint Mocha, Fa La Latte and Spicy Mocha.

  • The chain also introduced an Egg Nog Cold Foam that can be added to any beverage but the company said pairs best with cold beverages.

Peet's holiday blend and Peppermint Mocha back

The holiday menu landed at Peet’s Coffee Nov. 2 and is available through Jan. 3.

  • A new drink added to the lineup is the “Holiday Spice Cold Brew Oat Latte with Brown Sugar Jelly.”
  • Returning drinks include Holiday Spice Latte and Peppermint Mocha, both available iced or hot.
  • The Dark Roast Holiday Blend is also back.

Peppermint drinks back at Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons U.S. locations released its peppermint beverages and Holiday Tree Donut Wednesday along with holiday cups.

  • Peppermint beverages include the Peppermint Mocha Iced Capp, Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Peppermint Mocha Latte and Peppermint Mocha Cream Cold.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf holiday menu

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf added the Macadamia White Chocolate Latte and new Peppermint Mocha Cream Cold Brew to the menu.

  • The chain also brought back the Peppermint Mocha Ice Blended drink, Peppermint Hot Cocoa and the Winter Dream Tea Latte.

Dutch Bros holiday drinks 2022

Dutch Bros has expanded its holiday drink menu with the Sugar N Spice Oat Milk Latte and the Holly Jolly Rebel energy drink.

  • The coffee company brought back the Hazelnut Truffle Mocha.

7-Eleven holiday cocoa back

The convenience store chain said it has brought back the seasonal Winter Wonderland Cocoa to participating 7-Eleven, Speedway and Stripes stores.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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