There is no getting past the fact that these drinks are sweet. But they would be great as a dirty chai made with a shot of espresso, which would at least help to cut some of that sugary experience. However, gingerbread is a sweet dessert, so Starbucks can almost get away with it.
What was especially striking was the difference in taste between the iced version and the hot version. The iced latte we received was far creamier due to the oat milk froth but it was also far less spiced. Between the froth and the cold nature of the drink, the gingerbread flavor began to fade away. The hot version, on the other hand, had more robust notes of black tea and gingerbread. Weirdly, the oat milk added to the gingerbread experience, as oat milk has a unique texture that helps to create the illusion of eating a cookie while drinking a cup of chai.
Additionally, the oat froth was sweet and creamy, offering a consistency closer to whipped cream than cold foam. It was also lighter than foam and fell into the drink a little faster. As a dairy-free option, it was great, but it would have been nice if Starbucks had incorporated some gingerbread flavor into the oat milk instead of letting it take over the iced drink.