Monday, October 28, 2013

5 Favorite Fall Sippers

Nothing pairs better with a book on an autumn evening or Sunday afternoon than a mug of something warm, spiced, and sweet.  Today I'm sharing five drinks I reach for when I'm turning pages in the fall.

1. Pumpkin Spice Latte
Of course, you can't have a list of hot fall drinks and exclude the Pumpkin Spice Latte!  I make my own syrup following this recipe and add it to strong coffee and warmed milk or half & half.  I adjust this recipe slightly by substituting the ground ginger for ground allspice and really overdoing it on the pumpkin puree (which isn't possible but amounts to about 1/3 cup).

2. Maple Spice Latte
I had a Maple Spice Latte a few weeks ago at a French cafe in Brookside (Kansas City).  It is reminiscent of a Pumpkin Spice version, but much subtler and more delicate.  Maple and cinnamon just go together so well.  Here's my version of the syrup.
1 cup water
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine everything in a saucepan, let simmer for 20 minutes, strain in a fine mesh strainer, and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  Add with warmed milk to strong coffee or espresso.

3. Red Tea Latte
The last latte on the list is a simple Red Tea Latte.  My mom tried one at the cafe in the beautiful Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.  Simply steep a red tea bag (Celestial Seasonings Madagascar Vanilla Red Tea is divine) in boiling water for about twice as long as recommended, warm a little milk or half & half in a saucepan, whisk to create foam, and add to the tea.  You can stir in sugar if you like, but I think it's wonderful without any sweetener at all. Try it with your favorite novel.

4. Spiced Apple Cider
Heat some local apple cider on the stove.  Maybe add a cinnamon stick, maybe a clove or two.  Put the cider in a thermos.  Take it and someone special to a park and marvel at the leaves.

5. Trader Joe's Harvest Blend Herbal Tea
This tea is just The Essence of Autumn, dried out, bagged up, and presented to you in a little golden box with a tea-sipping fox.  If you have the means, I highly recommend picking some up.

Enjoy these drinks and the fall weather!

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