Now that Thanksgiving is over and Starbucks red cup season is in full swing, it’s time to swap our beloved pumpkin spice for a flavor that’s a little more minty and a lot more festive — peppermint.

From Oreos to body wash, the invigorating scent of peppermint is popping up everywhere these days, but everyone knows that a good ol’ fashioned candy cane is the best way to get your peppermint on.

candy cane

GIF courtesy of

However, a trip to Target’s candy aisle reveals that the classic red and white striped candy cane has got some fierce competition. Horrified, yet kinda intrigued, the Spoon FAU team tried out five of these weird candy cane flavors, and here’s what we thought of them:

candy cane

Photo by Angela Pizzimenti

Gingerbread: 2/10

candy cane

Photo by Angela Pizzimenti

Replacing one classic holiday flavor with another doesn’t sound so bad in theory, but the makers of this candy cane seriously missed the mark. This one was grossly sweet and lacked gingerbread’s characteristic gingery spice. YOU HAD ONE JOB. If you’re craving gingerbread after eating this candy cane, make these gingerbread truffles.

Here’s what we thought:

“Weirdly not spicy at all.”

“Tastes like candy your grandma would give you.”

“You’re really not missing out by not eating it.” 

Birthday Cake: 3/10

candy cane

Photo by Angela Pizzimenti

We all had high expectations for this one, but it ended up tasting less like the rainbow sprinkle-topped cakes of our youth and more like, well, shit. Save for the fact that it was “disturbingly sticky,” this candy cane was really pretty on the outside, but had a gross inner core that was the color of straight up mold. Yum. These were our initial reactions:

“This one is disturbingly sticky.” 

“Bad coloring. The middle looks like mold.”

“The middle part tastes kind of like funfetti.” 

“Mmm. That’s terrible. Tastes like shit.”  

“This isn’t horribly awful, and I kind of can’t stop eating it.” 

Bubble Gum: 4/10

candy cane

Photo by Angela Pizzimenti

This one was a major tease. The outside was a bright highlighter-pink color reminiscent of a piece of Dubble Bubble, and the inside looked like it was real gum. Needless to say, we were psyched to give it a try. Unfortunately, the inside was definitely not chewable and, while it tasted like bubblegum, you’d be better off just eating a gumball. This is what we thought:

“That’s a very intense color.”

“It DOES taste like bubble gum.” 

“It’s in my mouth and I’m still not sure if it’s going to turn into gum.”


Root Beer: 6/10

candy cane

Photo by Angela Pizzimenti

The initial flavor of this one was pretty good — sweet and spicy root beer with a little creamy vanilla to round it all out, just like a root beer float. But (because there’s always gotta be a “but”), then came the strange chemical aftertaste. Totally not worth having the taste of soap in your mouth for the rest of the day. If you’re about to eat this whole candy cane, then you deserve a boozy root beer float. Here were our thoughts:

“Tastes like root beer.”

“Missing the ‘kick’ of root beer”

“I’m getting a really weird aftertaste here.”

SweeTarts: 9/10

candy cane

Photo by Angela Pizzimenti

If a candy cane, a SweeTart, and a Pixie Stick walked into a bar, got really drunk, had a three-way, and somehow had a kid, this candy cane would be that kid. We tried the sour watermelon-flavored candy cane with a powdered SweeTart center, and we all had a little too much fun sucking out the powder. This one was the definite fan favorite:

“I can dig it.”

“It’s like there’s an actual SweeTart in the middle.”

“I don’t like watermelon, but I can totally do this.”

“In the end, I’d rather just eat a SweeTart. I feel like it’s teasing me.” 

All in all, these nontraditional candy cane flavors were fun to try, but the classic peppermint flavor will always hold a special place in our hearts (and on our Christmas trees). If you’re a peppermint-lover like us, be sure to check out these recipes.