With Christmas just a couple of weeks away, holiday-themed food and drinks are taking over menus. Not only are seasonal flavors such as gingerbread, eggnog and peppermint out in full force, these items have names that invoke Santa, Scrooge and other Christmas icons. Here’s a roundup of the most-spirited menu launches along with new items created to feed non-holiday cravings.
Nailing the elusive flavor of sugarplums took four years in the R&D kitchens at Dunkin’, but the Sugarplum Macchiato finally debuted this holiday season. It features the fruity combo of blueberry, raspberry, blackberry and plum accented by notes of vanilla and rounded out with a sugary finish. The sugarplum flavor is blended with espresso and milk to create a light purple layered drink that’s available hot or iced. The Sugarplum Macchiato was inspired by the classic Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker. To pair with the new beverage, the brand launched the purple-hued Frosted Snowflake Donut.
Dunkin’ believes that this is consumers’ first taste of fictional sugarplums, so the chain is inviting fans to post their descriptions of the flavor via a special lens on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook, using the hashtag #DunkinSugarplum.
Torchy’s Taco of the Month for December invokes the holiday season in its name: The Naughty Santa Taco. While its filling of grilled shrimp, chorizo, pickled onions, jack cheese, avocado, cilantro and poblano sauce on a flour tortilla has a little of the Christmas color scheme going, the goal of the taco is to bring a little comfort and joy to customers after the challenges of 2020, said founder Mike Rypka in a release. “It pairs well with a warm bowl of Green Chile Queso and a frozen swirled margarita for a little festive cheer,” he said.
Bad Daddy's Burger Bar
Christmas spirit of the alcoholic variety is on offer at Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. The regional burger chain has three new drinks to cheer the holiday season. The Fire-Nog Shake combines creamy eggnog with cinnamon-spiced Fireball whisky while the Skrewged Cocktail is a mix of Skrewball peanut butter whiskey, creme de cocoa and a splash of creme de menthe. For abstainers, there’s a booze-free Eggnog Shake.
Doughnuts are a Hanukkah tradition, and Pinkbox Doughnuts out of Las Vegas is offering a festive array of treats to tap into that holiday as well as Christmas. The Hanukkah-themed choices include Hanukkah jellies, a Hanukkah ring and star of David, the latter two decorated with the customary blue and white icing. On the Christmas side, the Candy Cane is December’s Doughnut of the Month, but there’s also Gingy, a maple-frosted doughnut shaped like a gingerbread man; the Grinch, topped with green icing to resemble the character; Secret Santa, decked with Christmas tree light garnishes; and Reindeer, a chocolate-frosted pink velvet doughnut with reindeer decor.
Also catering to the holiday sweet tooth is Baskin-Robbins’ Rosette Christmas Tree Cake. The festive ice cream cake is topped with swirls of icing and colorful sprinkles to resemble a Christmas tree. It can be customized with a favorite flavor icing, including one of the holiday season specials: Peppermint, Winter White Chocolate and Eggnog. Also on hand are cakes shaped like a snowman and reindeer.
In between all these holiday sweets and treats, several operators are satisfying consumers’ appetites with new breakfast, lunch and dinner items. Smashburger’s latest LTO is the Pulled Pork Tailgater, a burger crafted with slow-smoked pulled pork, caramelized onions, certified Angus beefand melted Swiss on a pretzel bun spread with spicy mustard. It’s available until Jan. 17. At select locations, customers can also take advantage of $2 beer specials.
Frisch's Big Boy
Frisch’s Big Boy is serving big breakfast biscuit sandwiches all day long through the holidays and beyond. The “BIGscuit” sandwiches include a number of variations made with eggs, bacon, cheese, ham, goetta (meat-and-grain sausage), pork or turkey sausage; plant-based sausage patties are also an option. Along with the all-day breakfast sandwiches, Frisch’s is offering a holiday-themed Frozen Hot Chocolate Frappe.
Soups are the star of the winter menu at Farmer Boys. For a limited time, the fast casual is bringing back Boston Clam Chowder and Scratch-Made Chili. The chowder is an authentic version, made with diced potatoes, chopped sea clams and traditional seasonings simmered in a creamy broth. The chili starts with beef cooked with proprietary spices and topped with diced onions and melted cheddar.
Cheesy Bread is the newest offering on Blaze Pizza’s menu. Inspired by Mediterranean flatbreads, the item is designed to be a shareable accompaniment to Blaze’s core pizzas. Cheesy Bread has a base of scratch-made dough that is topped with whole-milk mozzarella, oregano and a drizzle of extra virgin Spanish olive oil, then baked. It comes with a side of housemade red sauce for dipping.
Firebirds Wood-Fired Grill
The winter menu has debuted at Firebirds Wood-Fired Grill, featuring several new seasonally-driven lunch and dinner dishes. The casual-dining concept is tapping the chicken sandwich trend with its own Kickin’ Chicken Sandwich—a build of crispy chicken tenders topped with crunchy slaw, pickles and candied jalapeno mayo on a brioche bun. Customers seeking a healthier option can order up the Seared Tuna Superfoods Salad, a toss of fresh tuna, ancient grains, spinach, avocado, grilled corn, edamame and radishes. New entrees on the dinner menu include Grilled Striped Bass, Grilled NY Strip and Filet and Shrimp.