It's a good thing the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte exists. Let me tell you why.
Where I live, there is no real 'fall.' There aren't any trees that ignite overnight in a fiery spectrum of red and gold. There isn't a first frost or the smell of woodsmoke in the crisp air. There are no apple orchards. I resolutely don my plaids and my scarves, my tights and my boots, but by midday the temperature has climbed well into the seventies and I must sweatily admit defeat. There is almost nothing besides a date on a calendar to indicate when fall begins.
Except for the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
When it arrives - seemingly earlier and earlier every year [no complaint here] - it is officially autumn. Pumpkin! and Spices! How could it not be? Pumpkins mean Halloween is right around the corner, and then Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. Oh boy oh boy oh boy!
I've been ordering my PSLs iced lately, with just one pump of the syrup. Those lattes are pricey, so I started thinking about making my own syrup. I've made simple syrup plenty of times before, so why not just add the pumpkin and the spice?
It totally worked. The resulting syrup is not only great for coffee, but it would be great on ice cream, in hot chocolate, in cocktails, on top of pancakes, the list goes on. I put a little bourbon in mine [of course] because I love the flavor and the alcohol completely burns off, but feel free to leave it out if you aren't a big fan. This recipe makes just barely 8oz, so double and triple as needed.
I also included a recipe for a Pumpkin Spice Irish Coffee. So decadent and good and it warms you from the inside out. You can also take out the 'irish' if you want and just make a delicious and creamy non alcoholic drink.
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 c bourbon [optional]
1/2 c pumpkin puree
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla
1. Mix everything together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Cool and store in a glass jar or bottle in the fridge.
Pumpkin Spice Irish Coffee
1 cup hot coffee
2 tbsp pumpkin spice syrup
1 shot whiskey [I used bourbon, naturally]
1 tbsp half & half
1. Mix the first four ingredients in a large mug. Top with whipped cream.