In this article, I give you my firsthand taste and experience of the Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew, which has become a personal favorite. I’ve also curated a simple recipe on how to make the drink at home, regardless of the season.
I’ll be honest. I love my coffee cold, blended with sweet vanilla cream and topped with a thick layer of cold foam. Making such a decadent mug every day at home is too much work for me though. Luckily, at my local Starbucks, I get to have a quick grab of my coffee mug in my preferred flavor and toppings any time of the day. I love Starbuck’s consistent rich flavor across the batches with my favorite being the timeless iced caffe mocha. I also enjoy sampling their seasonal menus and I must admit that the Irish Cream Cold Brew in their holiday menu has also stolen my heart.
Brief history of the drink
The Irish Cream Cold Brew first appeared on the Starbucks winter menu in 2019, becoming an instant hit and returning every year in the chain’s holiday drinks since. A product developer at Starbucks, Erian Marinan, is the brains behind the drink. Her memories of making homemade Irish cream with her family to add to coffee and gift loved ones inspired the idea for the holiday beverage.
Reportedly, iced beverages account for more than 50% of Starbucks’ beverages sales, which makes sense for the coffee giant to creatively find new ways to add the chilled caffeine kick in your daily intake without getting boring.
Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew Overview
What’s in a Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew (ingredients)
Interestingly, the Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew requires only five ingredients; brewed coffee, Irish cream cold foam, ice, Irish cream syrup and cocoa powder topping.
Starbucks uses its classic cold brew coffee and foam innovation for this drink. Their Irish cream cold foam consists of their standard 2% milk, vanilla syrup, and Irish cream syrup which consists of sugar, water, natural flavors, potassium sorbate and citric acid. The cocoa powder topping is made up of only sugar and cocoa powder processed alkali.
According to Starbucks, there is no guarantee that this drink is allergen-free because they use shared equipment to store, prepare and serve all the drinks. Please request your barista to use plant-based milk alternatives if you’re lactose intolerant or prone to related allergic reactions.
What sizes are available?
The drink comes in 4 sizes; the Tall, Grande, Venti and Trenta.
Trenta is the largest size with 30 ounces, followed by Venti with 24 ounces, then Grande with 16 ounces and Tall is the smallest with 12 ounces.
The Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew is considered a high calorie drink, likened to a giant cookie and nutritionally recommended as an occasional sweet treat in small portions. I disagree though, especially with the cookie symbolism.
In my opinion, the Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew straddles between the acceptable drink from time to time and the unhealthy drink if consumed excessively. If you’re not a heavy coffee lover but want that regular caffeine burst, then this drink is for you.
Ultimately, the Irish Cream Cold Brew can almost make the cut to a healthier option if we skip the creamy cold foam and only add a tiny pump of the vanilla syrup. However, that takes out all the holiday fun that the drink is meant to bring.
Below is a table that summarizes its nutritional facts per Grande (16 oz serving):
|Calorie count (out of the recommended 2,000 calories daily intake)||300|
|Total Fat (11g)
Saturated Fat (7g)
Trans Fat (0g)
|Total Carbohydrates (24g)
Dietary Fiber (0g)
For the most part, I take coffee for the caffeine kick and therefore the 185mg of caffeine in the Irish Cream Cold Brew is enough to keep my energy levels in check all day on a chilly winter weather. That said, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, the drink may not suit you. I would not recommend the drink for children as well.
So, what does Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew taste like?
When I first tasted the Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew, I immediately knew that this will be a go-to holiday drink for me. The velvety yumminess of the Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew is something else. The characteristic cocoa sprinkle on the top, like the twinkling lights, evoke a celebratory mood, very resonant with the holidays. Additionally, the Irish cream gives the beverage a subtle chocolatey aroma, which invites you to take a sip. Upon tasting, you can also feel the perfect blend of the cocoa and vanilla notes from the Irish cream syrup and the classic Starbucks cold brew. The sweet cream flavor develops in your tongue gradually, which makes the lingering coffee taste less overpowering.
Compared to the Peppermint Mocha, and the Praline, Brulée & Eggnog Lattes, the Irish Cream Cold Brew is less sweet and more refreshing, and can be enjoyed more often. If you’re into dainty sour notes like me, you’ll tackle the Trenta with ease even if it’s your first time trying the drink. The drink has this mature delicious allure, you can comfortably enjoy a cup every day.
Ways to Customize a Irish Cream Cold Brew at Starbucks
True to tradition, Starbucks is always open to ideas from customers on ways to enhance a drink. Often, they’ll even have options for flavors, toppings, and sweeteners. In the case of Irish Cream Cold Brew, they have a fantastic offer of the Irish Cream syrup with any other drink even when the Irish Cream Cold Brew is not on the menu. Essentially, you can get any drink in the Starbucks lineup with the Irish Cream flavor. Just tell the barista at your service.
You can also opt for a blend of the Starbuck’s signature vanilla cold cream foam & the Irish Cream syrup with either almond, soy or coconut milk instead of the regular dairy milk.
How to make Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew at home: Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew Copycat Recipe
- A whisk/electric mixer
- A bowl
- Large mason jar/glass
- ½ cup double brewed coffee
- 2 tbsp Irish Cream Syrup
- Vanilla Syrup
- 2% Milk
- Heavy Cream
- Cocoa Powder
- Brew your coffee and concentrate it in the fridge for about an hour.
- Froth the Irish Cream Syrup, the vanilla syrup and the milk in a bowl to a thick velvety foam and put aside.
- Pour some ice cubes in a jar/glass and add the chilled Brew to about half of the jar/glass.
- Pump an ounce of the vanilla syrup into the iced coffee and stir with a spoon for even combination.
- Add a thick layer of the Irish Cream cold foam in the other half of the glass to cover the brew.
- Top your drink with some cocoa powder dusting for the look and aroma. Your homemade Irish Cream Cold brew is ready to drink.
- You can substitute cocoa powder with chocolate syrup for the topping.
- You don’t have to sweeten the coffee. The single pump of vanilla syrup can make the drink a little too sweet for a strong coffee lover.
- You can also make your Irish Cream Syrup at home.
Does Starbucks still have Irish cream cold brew?
The Starbucks Irish Cream cold brew is only availed in the winter menu from the first week of December.
Is Starbucks bringing back Irish cream cold brew?
Most likely, the Starbucks Cream Cold Brew will feature in their holiday menu every year.
Is Starbucks Irish cream cold brew healthy?
The Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew is a festive drink. It’s not considered a healthy drink.
How do you make Starbucks Irish cream cold brew healthier?
You can make the drink healthier by reducing the amount of vanilla syrup and the cold foam.
Can you get a sugar free Starbucks Irish cream cold brew?
Yes, you can substitute with a with a unsweetened cold brew and sugar-free vanilla syrup