Monday, December 11, 2006

I (heart) Gingerbread Lattes

Just before Thanksgiving every year, Starbucks brings back its line of wintery delights: the pumpkin spice latte, the peppermint latte, and the beyond-delicious gingerbread latte for a few short months of coffee-shop bliss.

Back in the winter of 2000-2001, I learned a harsh lesson when Starbucks failed me.

I had just been dumped by a weasel that I for some reason had been dating, and I was crushed. Devastated. Beyond consolation. And in my despair, I turned to the Starbucks Chai Latte. Spicy warm tea-milk on cold Boston mornings. It made life worth living again.

And then they ran out.

The Starbucks at Beacon St. and Berkley St. ran out of Chai mix, and told me they wouldn't be getting any more for at least a few months. Come back in February. It took all my willpower not to hurl myself into the Charles River, which would have been especially painful as the darned thing was frozen solid.

How is this relevant? Because it made me realize that even coffee drinks have their season and that if one isn't paying attention, good things will pass them by. I had a Chai-less winter that year, but I'm determined that this one will be as gingerbready as can be withstood.

Why are they so good? Here's the description offered by Starbucks..

(and no, I don't think they're evil. The CEO came from the Brooklyn projects. Turned his job at a Seattle coffee shop into an empire, and now has some of the best benefits packages that low-wage jobs offer to their employees. Prices went up five cents recently to make sure they could continue to offer health insurance..)

Anyway: A holiday combination of full bodied Starbucks® espresso, steamed milk and spicy sweet, gingerbread flavored syrup. Topped with whipped cream (optional) and a dash of nutmeg.

What could be nicer on a cold New York City afternoon than a quickie with the gingerbread latte? Well, I perhaps shouldn't go there. But in this season of thanks and giving, I offer mine to Starbucks for its gingerbread latte. A seasonal favorite for several years now. May they never run out of syrup.

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