The Starbucks holiday drink lineup has a lot of fan favorites among its offerings this year — but once again, the beloved Gingerbread Latte is nowhere to be found. Starting in 2019, Starbucks discontinued the Gingerbread Latte. (I know. Take a moment to process, breathe, sob uncontrollably.) But hey, guess what? If you, like myself, are bereft at the loss of this holiday favorite, there’s something else you can order instead — something similar, but which doesn’t require any gingerbread syrup to make. The Starbucks Secret Menu calls it a Gingerbread House Frappuccino — and although it’s not an official Starbucks drink, it can be easily made with some careful customizations to your order.
When Starbucks officially announced the 2019 holiday drink lineup, and I saw there was no Gingerbread Latte on the menu, I immediately headed over to the fan-run Starbucks Secret Menu website to see if there were any recipes available that might approximate a Gingerbread Latte during a year when no gingerbread syrup is available. While I did find “year-round” Caramel Brulee Latte and Eggnog Latte recipes, I, unfortunately, had no such luck with the Gingerbread Latte.
However, I managed to dig up something else: A spicy, holiday-ready treat fans call the Gingerbread House Frappuccino.
As written, the Starbucks Secret Menu’s Gingerbread House Frappuccino recipe makes use of the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino — a Frapp which made its first appearance in 2013 but only joined the menu permanently in Spring 2019. Unlike the regular Caramel Frappuccino, the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frapp features dark caramel sauce, rather than caramel syrup; the sauce is blended with Frappuccino Roast coffee, milk, and ice, then layered in the cup on top of whipped cream and more dark caramel sauce. Another dollop of whipped cream, a caramel drizzle, and a sprinkling of caramel crunch topping finishes the whole thing off.
But to transform the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frapp into a Starbucks Secret Menu Gingerbread House Frappuccino you’ll need to ditch some of the caramel and add a few other ingredients. Here’s how the Starbucks Secret Menu website recommends ordering it:
- Choose your size. Tall, Grande, Venti — it’s totally up to you.
- Order a Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino made without the dark caramel sauce. Your barista might give you a weird look (we’ll talk about why in a minute), but that’s what the recipe requires, so, uh… just roll with it.
- Add white chocolate mocha sauce. Ask for one pump if you ordered a Tall, two for a Grande or Venti, or three if you like your drinks extra sweet.
- Add chai tea concentrate. Fun fact: Starbucks’ Chai Latte is made not with regular chai tea, but with a chai tea concentrate. Ask for one pump for a Tall, two for a Grande or Venti, or three for an extra sweet drink.
- Make sure your barista includes the usual Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino toppings. The drink is topped with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle, and caramel crunch topping.
(Worth noting: The dark caramel and white chocolate mocha sauces, as well as the chai concentrate, are incorrectly referred to as “syrups” in the recipe as written. However, when these ingredients appear on the official Starbucks website, they’re not called syrups, but rather sauces and concentrates. Just, y’know, FYI.)
However! You might have looked at that version of the recipe and thought, “Wait — if you order a Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino and have them completely remove the dark caramel sauce… isn’t that just a regular Coffee Frappuccino?” — you’re not wrong; it is. You could, therefore, try ordering a Coffee Frappuccino, adding the right number of white chocolate mocha sauce and chai tea concentrate for the size you’ve chosen, and asking for it to be topped with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle, and caramel crunch topping instead. I suspect that the use of the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frapp in the Starbucks Secret Menu’s recipe is to make getting the caramel crunch topping easier — but it’s possible that if you order in-store, your barista will be willing to add the topping to your drink anyway, even if you don’t start with the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frapp as your base.
Yes, the Gingerbread House Frappuccino isn’t a latte, and yes, it usually gets a little cold for Frappuccinos in the winter… but is it worth a shot anyway? Absolutely. Head on over to the Starbucks Secret Menu’s website to see the original recipe.
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