There has been a LOT of hype over the latest specialty beverages to arrive to Starbucks.
And while these new sips are being served at Starbucks locations all over Disney property in spots like Epcot’s Fountain View, Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Bakery, Trolley Car Cafe at Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom’s Creature Comforts, they’re likely gracing the menu at your local Starbucks, too (making this a two-fer review for you!).
We’re talking about the Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Smoked Butterscotch Frappuccino! And though they’re available nationwide, many folks are making the comparison to a specific specialty drink at a certain theme park also located in Central Florida: BUTTERBEER™.
Described as “creamy-sweet with kettle cooked butterscotch,” it sure sounds enticing enough.
So I grabbed both the hot latte and the frappuccino versions so I could decide for myself how they really compare to a glass of Butterbeer™. If you’ve never had one, Butterbeer comes in a few different versions like cold or frozen, and has a very sweet and distinct butterscotch flavor throughout its cream soda base. The whole thing is topped off with foam.
I sampled mine on one of the very last of the cool “winter” days here in Florida, so I went with the hot Smoked Butterscotch Latte first.
The latte standard of espresso with lots of steamed milk is enhanced with a smoked butterscotch sauce, while a smoked butterscotch topping sprinkled over the foam is the finishing touch (which essentially tastes like sugar with a hint of smokiness).
The butterscotch flavor became more pronounced with each sip as the sauce mixed with the milk. I thought it was a really nice balance between the smoky and sweet. And — aside from the obvious espresso flavor — it really does taste similar to Butterbeer™!
Here’s a tip, though… if you really want to experience that Butterbeer™ taste, I suggest sizing up to a Venti for the latte. Here’s why: both the Grande and Venti sizes come with two shots of espresso in the hot version, so you get more milk in the Venti. Ultimately, it tones down the espresso flavor and adds an extra creaminess that more closely resembles the Butterbeer™ flavor. Consider asking for whipped cream as well, which will also up the creaminess factor.
If cold or blended coffee is more your style, or you are raising a glass to Florida’s rising temps, then the Smoked Butterscotch Frappuccino is your better bet!
The Frappuccino is coffee-based. Like the latte, this one is mixed with the smoked butterscotch sauce. It’s topped off with whipped cream and sprinkled with the same smoked butterscotch topping, which you can see a little better in the photo below.
Of the two, this one tasted much more like a Butterbeer™ to me. Probably because it is made with coffee instead of the more strongly flavored espresso, so you’re tasting more of the butterscotch. And this one automatically comes with whipped cream, again adding more of its own creaminess.
The smokiness in both is isn’t overly powerful so the drinks lean heavily on the sweeter side, but with a unique hint of spice.
So do the new beverages taste EXACTLY like Butterbeer™? No, but if you enjoy the taste of Butterbeer™, you’ll definitely want to give these a go! Heck, if you can live without the coffee, you can always request that your Frappuccinno be cream-based, which I’m sure would make it taste even closer to Butterbeer™. Similarly, you can request the latte to have no espresso as well.
One thing’s for sure: after trying both, it really is no surprise why lovers of the theme park favorite are going crazy for these!
How do you think the Smoked Butterscotch Drinks compare to Butterbeer™? Let us know in the comments below!