Oh, autumn. Leaves turning red and orange and gold, back-to-school season, the time of year when we break out the boots and scarves, and at last, a reprieve from the hottest days of the year (and the sweatiness that came with them). It’s also the time of year when people start getting excited about seasonal beverages, so here’s a lineup of the seven best autumnal beverages to keep you feeling cozy as the weather gets chillier.
1. Hot Apple Cider
This is one of the absolute best autumnal drinks; it’s warm, it’s sweet, and it tastes like apples. What more could you possibly ask for? In order to make this, just pop whatever amount of apple cider you want into the microwave or in a pot on the stove to heat it up, or if you have a slow cooker, pouring it in there to warm it. If you’re feeling a bit fancy, try adding a cinnamon stick and some nutmeg and allspice for some spice (and aesthetic).
For those of you who are 21, using dark rum, bourbon, or brandy adds an additional kick to the drink, and it’s a great way to warm up before going out on a chilly night. Just be sure not to drive wherever you’re going!
2. Pumpkin Spice Latte
No list of autumnal beverages could neglect this drink since it’s everywhere during the season. Of course, you could buy this at most (chain) coffee shops, but it’s also fairly easy to make at home. To DIY a PSL, heat milk and some sugar in a saucepan but don’t let it boil.
You can also add pumpkin purée to this mixture, but you don’t need to for the recipe. Once hot, take the saucepan from the stove and whisk in vanilla extract, coffee, and pumpkin spice (essentially just cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice), and that’s it! Your very own PSL in the comfort of your home.
3. Mexican Hot Chocolate
Don’t worry, chocolate lovers, there’s a drink to match fall aesthetics for you, too, and it’s super simple to make! Essentially, you add cinnamon, vanilla extract, and ground cayenne pepper or chili powder to basic hot chocolate and, if you’re feeling it, whipped cream and/or marshmallows and a cinnamon stick for stirring!
Did you know that “chai” translates from some languages to tea in English? In essence, when you ask for chai tea, you’re asking for tea, but in two languages! Chai lattes have become very popular in the US mainstream drink culture, and all of the spices that go into them make them a perfect fall drink.
To make chai, bring black tea, ginger, cinnamon, and crushed star anise, cloves, peppercorns, and cardamon all to boil in a pot on the stove, then turn off the heat and let it seep until it’s as strong as you like. You then add milk and turn on the heat until it’s simmering, then add sugar, strain the mixture, and pour into a mug or glass, and enjoy!
5. Mulled Wine
Again, only for the 21+ crowd, but mulled wine or, if you’re in Denmark, gløgg is a delicious drink for autumn. In a pot on the stove, add round orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and star anise to red wine, and let it simmer for 10 minutes or so. You can also add honey and brandy if you want, but the recipe is delicious on its own. Serve it warm in a mug with an orange slice floating on top and a cinnamon stick.
6. Caramel Latte
For this drink, you need vanilla syrup (a combination of sugar, water, and vanilla extract), frothed milk (you can make this by heating milk on the stove and blending or whisking it), coffee, and caramel sauce. Pour it all into your drink container and stir, then add whipped cream and caramel sauce on top for a fancy aesthetic.
7. Salted Caramel Mocha
Sure, you could go out and buy a salted caramel mocha latte, but would that really be as much fun as making one yourself? Probably not (and it would likely be more expensive, too). To make one of these at home, put caramel sauce, (sweet) cocoa powder, and sea salt into a mug and pour coffee over it, stirring to combine it. Add frothed or heated milk and stir, then drop a dollop of whipped cream on top with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a pinch of sea salt, and you’re done!