There’s something about pumpkin spice that makes people cringe or jump with joy. It’s a love/hate relationship that has been going on for many fall seasons now.
Or so it seems. If you happen to be on the side of love and find yourself jumping for joy because pumpkin spice season is finally here, keep on reading.
We’ve got some of the best pumpkin spice drinks right here, along with a few of the worst. We can’t like ‘em all…or can we?
What Is a Pumpkin Spice Drink?
If you’re a fan of all things pumpkin, then you’ve probably had a pumpkin spice drink at some point. But what exactly is in a pumpkin spice drink?
The most essential ingredient, of course, is pumpkin puree. This gives the drink its characteristic orange color and rich flavor.
However, many pumpkin drinks don’t actually have pumpkin in them at all. It’s the spices that make you think of pumpkin. And those spices are often cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. These give the drink its characteristic autumnal flavor.
Some recipes also call for ginger, white pepper, and allspice. Sweeteners such as honey or sugar are often added to balance out the spices. And, of course, milk is essential for creating a creamy texture.
Whether you choose cow’s milk or non-dairy alternatives such as almond milk, your pumpkin spice drink will be deliciously creamy. So next time you’re in the mood for something cozy and comforting, reach for a pumpkin spice drink.
What Does Pumpkin Spice Do to Your Body?
You may think that consuming pumpkin drinks, desserts, and soups is healthy because a pumpkin is a fruit. (Yes, a fruit, not a vegetable.) You’re correct in that thinking, at least before your barista adds a bunch of sugar. But minus the sugar and fats in the milk or milk alternatives, pumpkin and the spices used to further enhance pumpkin are quite healthy for you.
According to Cedars Sinai, the pumpkin spices of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg offer a good combination of antioxidants and antimicrobial agents. Pumpkin also has many health benefits, including vitamin A, potassium, and other antioxidants. These promote brain and heart health and a healthy immune system, to name just a few benefits.
The spices themselves act as an anti-inflammatory to your body. Specifically, ginger contributes to a healthier gut, while cinnamon can help decrease bad cholesterol and increase good. So go ahead, treat yourself to a pumpkin spice drink.
Pro Tip: Do you prefer your pumpkin carved instead of in a cocktail? Check out these 11 Awesome Jack-O-Lantern Design Ideas.
The Best Pumpkin Spice Drinks
For many people, fall means pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pies, and all things pumpkin-flavored. The spices used to create pumpkin drinks offer warm, comforting flavors that evoke the fall season and flavor everything from waffles to ice cream.
Let us help you find your favorite pumpkin spice drink, from coffee shop drinks to homemade recipes.
Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks
The pumpkin spice latte is one of the most popular seasonal drinks at Starbucks, and for good reason. The perfect blend of sweetness and spice, the latte has just the right amount of flavor to satisfy your fall cravings. But what really sets this pumpkin spice latte apart from other pumpkin spice drinks is the quality of the ingredients.
Starbucks uses real pumpkin puree in their lattes, giving them a richer flavor than drinks made with artificial flavoring. In addition, the latte uses freshly ground spices — cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove — which means they’re always perfectly balanced. As a result, it’s no wonder that Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte is one of the most popular pumpkin drinks around.
Iced Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks
There are times when an iced drink trumps a hot drink. And when it comes time for a chai, ice wins! It’s finally time for an iced pumpkin spice chai tea latte from Starbucks. But what makes this drink so special?
First, combining the spices from the chai tea and the pumpkin spice is simply unbeatable. The rich, spicy flavors of the chai tea are perfectly complemented by the sweet, creamy pumpkin puree and spices.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be an actual latte without a generous helping of milk and ice. This makes for a refreshing and flavorful drink perfect for sipping on a vibrantly colored autumn day. It’s the perfect pairing.
Spiked Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate
Rather make a drink at home and skip the prices at Starbucks? Try crafting your very own spiced pumpkin white hot chocolate for a decadent pumpkin treat. Plus, you’re home, so you can add an extra kick to it with alcohol if you desire.
All you need are white chocolate chips, milk, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spices. Cooking these up together makes for a delectable treat homemade by you. You can then add in a shot of Kahlua or bourbon and a generous dollop of whip cream with a drizzle of caramel on top.
Pumpkin Spice White Russian
If you’re looking for a cocktail with a hint of fall, look no further than this pumpkin spice white Russian recipe. It’s a take on the traditional white Russian recipe with pumpkin and spices.
A traditional white Russian recipe includes vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream. This white Russian recipe uses classic ingredients but replaces the cream with pumpkin spice creamer. That’s it!
If you want to get fancy, you can even rim the glass with crushed graham crackers and spices for a beautiful presentation. When all mixed, add a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice, and you’ll taste the fall flavors by nightfall.
Pumpkin Spice Whipped Coffee
Using just a hint of vanilla and pumpkin pie spice will make this coffee drink worth remembering. Never had whipped coffee before? You’re missing out, but no worries, it’s easy to make and even better when you turn it into a fall-worthy treat.
Whipped coffee is simply instant coffee, sugar, and hot water, all whipped up into frothy peaks. Add milk for creaminess.
To turn it into a pumpkin spice whipped coffee, you’ll add pumpkin spices and vanilla to the milk, and you’ll have a treat that works for both hot and iced coffee.
Pro Tip: Camping during spooky season can sure be scary! Are you brave enough to spend the night at one of these 5 Spooky Sleepy Hollow Campgrounds?
The Worst Pumpkin Spice Drinks
Not all pumpkin spice drinks are created equal. Some coffee shops and restaurants have taken the flavor a step too far, crafting overly sweet and sickeningly rich beverages. Here are a few of the worst pumpkin spice drinks out there.
Pumpkin Spice Latte at Dunkin’ Donuts
First up is the pumpkin spice latte from Dunkin’ Donuts. This pumpkin drink contains sugar and calories from Dunkin’ Donuts’ signature “swirl” of pumpkin-flavored syrup. The coffee can be diluted and weak, and the pumpkin spice flavoring is overpowering.
If you’re looking for a decent pumpkin spice latte, you’re better off going to Starbucks, where at least the pumpkin flavor is from real pumpkin puree.
Coffee Mate Pumpkin Spice Creamer
Pumpkin spice lattes are a popular choice for fall beverages, but when it comes to coffee creamer, pumpkin spice is one of the worst flavors of the season. First of all, it’s artificial. This creamer doesn’t actually contain any dairy or pumpkin. In fact, the main ingredients are water, sugar, and vegetable oil.
Secondly, it’s overly sweet. The flavor of the pumpkin is naturally quite mild, so manufacturers load up on the sugar to make it stand out.
And lastly, it can be really cloying. A little pumpkin flavor goes a long way, so your coffee can quickly become too sweet and sickly if you’re not careful. If you’re looking for a delicious fall-flavored coffee creamer, you’d be better off making your own pumpkin spice creamer.
Southern Tier Imperial Pumpkin
Pumpkin drinks aren’t meant just for coffee. There are plenty of pumpkin beers out there, too. Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, N.Y., has been brewing one of the more well-known pumpkin ales since 2007.
While the brewery itself brews quality beers and is well-loved among tourists and locals alike, their pumpkin ale, Pumpking, is one beer that may not be up to par with everyone’s expectations of a beer.
At 8.6%, this imperial ale has a higher alcohol content. That, along with pumpkin, is generally not what traditional beer drinkers look for in a beer.
However, it is brewed with real pumpkin and pumpkin spices, so for those who might be feeling a bit adventurous when trying out new beer flavors, this might not be the worst pumpkin drink you’ve ever tried. At least it’s not full of artificial flavors and sugar.
Is a Pumpkin Spice Drink Worth It?
Pumpkin spice drinks are all the rage right now, but are they worth it? If you’re looking for a drink that will transport you straight to autumnal bliss, we think these pumpkin drinks and recipes might be just what you need. From pumpkin spice coffee to pumpkin spice cocktails, there’s something for everyone in this roundup of delicious fall flavors.
Are you a pumpkin spice super fan? Tell us your favorite drink in the comments
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