Starbucks Reserve Unveils 2 New Drinks That Embrace Sweet Heat

Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted an early spring, but Starbucks is delivering an early heatwave. Starting March 26, three cities are serving up two new drinks with a spicy flare (per a press release shared with Food Republic). In New York City, Chicago, and Seattle Starbucks Reserve Roasteries, visitors can now order a Hot Honey Espresso Martini and a Hot Honey Affogato.

Both feature hot honey, a sweet-spicy or "swicy" ingredient designed to tickle the taste buds and warm up sweet and savory dishes. The company's version is made with wildflower honey infused with chili peppers to give it a kick. To amp up the tingly heat, the newest additions also feature an array of piquant additives to bring out the honey's tasty nuances.

The martini and affogato will be available through the summer while supplies last. For now, the menu additions are confined to the unique Starbucks Reserve stores, but something spicy is on the way for other U.S. Starbucks locations, according to the brand. For now, visitors can warm up in select stores as well as add a drizzle of hot honey on top of savory menu items like pizzas and avocado toasts.

Warming up with Starbucks hot honey

The two menu items offer sophisticated flavors paired to draw out the star ingredient. The Hot Honey Espresso Martini taps into the boozy espresso craze with a sweet and fiery iteration of the caffeinated cocktail. Featuring Starbucks Reserve Espresso, Kalak Single Malt Vodka, vanilla syrup, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur and hot honey, the drink features plenty of heavy-hitting ingredients. To balance the warming mixture, baristas top it with a spicy-sweet cold foam and black sesame seeds.

Affogato, which makes for a delicious dessert, is traditionally made by pouring a shot of espresso over gelato. The Starbucks Reserve iteration of the Italian drink features vanilla gelato smothered with Starbucks Reserve Espresso. The drink is also topped with Scrappy's Orange Bitters (a citrus-herb blend, and Firewater Tincture (habanero pepper-based bitters with a floral sweet heat). It's finished with hot honey and an Amarena cherry, a preserved fruit known for its rich, sweet, and slightly bitter flavor. This choice combination likely brings out the fruity, floral nature of the spicy honey.

Coffee fans visiting the roasteries can book the "It Started Here First" Signature Experience to learn more about the hot honey affogato and other coffee trends Starbucks has had a hand in. At the event, Starbucks offers a taste of the affogato plus its spirit-free Whiskey Barrel-Aged "Cold Fashioned" and the Oleato™ Deconstructed. The timed seatings cost $55 per person in Chicago, NYC, and Seattle.