Because blending a pumpkin pie into coffee doesn't appeal to everyone
For those of you who didn't get the memo, today marks the first day of fall. It's finally time to break out the sweaters, switch from stone fruits to gourds and gear up for an onslaught of Holidays so relentless, we need a full nine months to recover from them. Move over summer - it's about to get really autumnal up in here.
Some of you may, however, be confused by this. Hadn't fall already started? Well, technically, yes. Even though September 22nd makes the change in seasons official, according to the calendar and the humorously christened weather men and women of the world, most Americans are well aware that fall actually starts when Starbucks tells us it does. Not a day before, and certainly not a day after.
When the iced, milky Frappuccinos of summer give way to 14 pumps of an orangey liquid dubbed 'pumpkin spice', you know you've worn your last tank top of the season. The Pumpkin Spice Latte, affectionately referred to and tagged as a PSL, is a sure sign that, no matter how much you'll be sweating in your woolen scarf and knee-high boots, it's time to cozy up to a fire and instantly become far more sentimental than you have been all year. (Oh those Holiday feels!)
It's truly amazing how the crowds go wild when this one little cup of dessert (because who are we kidding, that's exactly what it is) struts its cinnamoney-sweet legs out from behind the curtain. I'm pretty sure it actually started an entire pumpkin movement - I mean, have you been to Trader Joe's lately? From potato chips to Pop Tarts, it's all pumpkin, all day, and if you're going to make it through the next three months without starving to death, you'd better have a serious affinity for it.
But what if you don't? What if you really only like pumpkin in pie form, and really only on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day? Are you doomed to spend the next few months feeling like you've fundamentally missed the boat and like there must be something decidedly wrong with you for not acknowledging this orange gourd as flavoring suitable for a seasonal beverage?
Nah. You'll be alright. You've got options.
In fact, this time of year offers so many wonderful ways to fill our cups, it's almost overwhelming. The cooler months have us craving our drinks hot, and with heat comes possibility. Think beyond pumpkin. Think infusions. Think toddies. Think brews. Think steaming mugs of warmth, depth and flavor. From non-alcoholic and nourishing to belly-warming with a kick, I encourage you to gulp down everything this last quarter has to offer.
For a start, I'd give this one a whirl.
(You may have noticed that every ingredient in this helps boost your immune system, and is therefore perfect for this transitional time of year.)
In a sauce pot, combine all ingredients, except for the honey, and bring to a boil.
Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to a very soft simmer and keep it that way for 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add in your honey, to taste. Turmeric has a bitter quality and ginger is quite spicy, so the amount of honey you use depends entirely on how sweet you need it.
Sip on this and not only will you feel like you should be sat next to the fire with a scrabble board, blasting Wham's 'Last Christmas' and staring out at the leaves falling from the trees, you'll also feel like you're taking care of yourself. Like you're building up a defense for the brutal months ahead.
Oh, and in case you're worried about when we switch from fall to winter, rest assured, your favorite coffee house will keep you well abreast of when it's time to break out your mittens and deck the halls - Eggnog Latte season's just around the corner, people. Phew.
(As a side note, my father just asked me what 'joy juice' you could throw in here to kick it up a level. Bourbon, dad, definitely bourbon.)
*Note: For this recipe I use Manuka honey. This honey, which is harvested in New Zealand, is really high in antibacterial properties, making it the perfect immunity booster for flu season. Manuka honey is, however, on the pricier side, so if you're not interested in spending the money on it, you can certainly use whatever honey tickles your fancy.