Students weigh in on the best holiday drinks

Katie O'Mara and Olivia Piontek

It is widely acknowledged that the passing of Thanksgiving marks the end of fall and the beginning winter. Leaves that previously painted trees with vibrant hues of orange and red fall to the ground, Mariah Carrey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” creeps up the Top 100 list, and the Hallmark channel begins its annual deluge of Christmas movies. 

And, of course, nothing pairs better with winter break activities like a steaming cup of hot cocoa topped with a mountain of marshmallows. 

We polled dozens of St. Pius X students to find out their favorite winter drink. There are lots of options, but which one is the biggest fan-favorite?

3rd Place – Peppermint Mocha

Third on our list is a peppermint mocha, specifically from Starbucks.

Sophomore Elliott Seng described the flavor as “a good combination between a little bit bitter and a little bit sweet, with some chocolate mixed in”

It’s not just the flavor that Seng enjoys, though.

 “I like this drink because to me it tastes like Christmas! It’s something new every Christmas season as you can’t drink it the rest of the year,” Seng said. 

From the very first time Seng tried it, it was love at first sip.

 “I was at Starbucks and I did not know what to get, so I just ordered the first thing I saw, and it turned out to be one of my favorite holiday drinks,” she said.

2nd Place – Hot Chocolate

Second place, while surprising to some, needs no introduction. Mentioned in almost every Christmas song ever written, hot chocolate is simply a classic.

Sophomore Luke Tillery described this drink as “very comforting.”

He further explained how hot chocolate can vary based on the toppings you choose to put in it.

 “It is something that you can leave simple or make gourmet. It is unique based on how you choose to make it. You can add marshmallows, cinnamon, peppermint, whatever you like,” he said. 

This drink also is attached to core childhood memories for many students as well, like senior Tripp Buhler.

“When I was five or six I was sledding down a big hill behind a house with my brother,” he said.

“The back of that house was brick. I was so light that I could not stop the sled, so I would fly down the hill. I rammed into the house and cut my hand open, so my brother and I ran home. Then my mom gave me some hot chocolate and it made me feel better.”

Although this drink wasn’t ranked first on this list, it is safe to say that it is a holiday favorite in all of our hearts.

1st Place – Peppermint Milkshake

Topping our list is Chick-fil-A’s unconventional take on a holiday beverage: the peppermint milkshake. Despite it being a milkshake, which may lead some to question its legitimacy as a holiday drink, both its cool minty flavor and the contrasting flakes of peppermint bark reaffirms that it is in fact the perfect seasonal beverage.

“I really like peppermint in general. And I love milkshakes, so the combination is perfect!” junior Maddie Cooney said.

The first time Cooney tried it was when she brought it to a friend recovering from surgery.

“She had a deviated septum surgery, and I went over to her house afterwards. I brought her a milkshake, and I got myself one, too. That was the first time I tried it and loved it!” she said.

Whether it’s to bring to a friend in need or to enjoy yourself, it is undeniable that the peppermint milkshake is and will continue to be a holiday staple for winters to come.

Honorable Mentions

In addition to the top three, there were other notable contenders that definitely deserve a place in this article.

One many have never heard of: Sarsaparilla. It’s like root beer’s cousin, both very similar in taste and derived from the – can you guess it? – sarsaparilla root.

Junior Ava Carlson described it as “an intellectual’s beverage. It has such a unique molecular construct that adds such a unique flavor.”

Her eyes lit up with joy as she recounted the first time she tried sarsaparilla.

“I was at an Ingles in Cumming, Georgia after a hockey game and bought it because the packaging looked cool,” she said. 

Ever since then, whenever she sees that it’s in stock at a store, she said she feels “pure unfiltered joy.”

Our next honorable mention for favorite holiday beverage is water. This choice may be completely unexpected to some, but not senior Andy Swartz.

“People do not drink enough water, instead they choose to drink coffee or soda,” he said. “People are pumping preservatives into their bodies at an unprecedented rate. When they are thirsty they go and get a soda or coffee, and that’s not what you should be drinking when you’re thirsty. You’re actively drinking unhealthy things. People drink too much sugar nowadays. They can’t focus because of it. People are too reliant on caffeine as well. If people just drank more water, they wouldn’t have all of these issues.”

However, when forced to pick a more seasonal drink, Swartz admitted that he occasionally has milk.

With the winter season upon us, hopefully this article has provided you with some beverages to accompany your many holiday activities!