Though summer isn’t even over yet, whispers of pumpkin-flavored beverages and cooler weather have started to sneak into our thoughts. The coffee shops are already advertising their pumpkin spice lattes and bartenders are pouring pumpkin ales into frosty glasses. But with this staple flavor of the fall season often comes a hefty dose of calories, sugar and fat. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry as much about breaking your diet or exceeding your daily sugar allotment this year, and you can save some money while you’re at it. Whether you’re craving hot coffee, a creamy smoothie or a fancy cocktail, making your own pumpkin-flavored beverages gives you complete control over the ingredients.
Pumpkin spice latte
For many people, there is no substitute for a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, but did you know that a Grande (just 16 ounces) with 2 percent milk and whipped cream has 380 calories and 13 grams of fat? This is due to the sugar-based pumpkin syrup used to make the drink. Try this recipe, adapted from the blog Eating Birdfood, for a much healthier variation that uses real pumpkin!
- 1-2 shots of espresso (or 8 ounces brewed coffee)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Cinnamon for sprinkling on top
Grab a small sauce pan and stir together your pumpkin puree and almond milk over medium heat for about 30-45 seconds. Then, remove from heat and add in the vanilla, spices and any sweetener you may want. If you have a frother, you can use it to get that foamy consistency. Otherwise, a blender will do the trick. Then, just pour your pumpkiny, creamy foam on top of your coffee – French vanilla can be the perfect complement to the pumpkin flavor – dust with cinnamon and start sipping!
Pumpkin pie smoothie
Since it’s not quite fall, there are bound to be a few warm days left, and this super healthy smoothie recipe from Whole Foods Market can be a great way to cool off. The recipe is for two servings, so share this treat with your favorite pumpkin-loving friend.
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 large, ripe banana
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 5 ice cubes
Simply blend all the ingredients together until smooth, pour and enjoy. You can also chop up and freeze the banana for an even creamier variation.
After a long day at the office or during a night off from watching your kids, there are few things more satisfying than a tasty cocktail. What could be better than one that delivers a pumpkin punch? This unique martini adapted from Shape magazine does use a little pumpkin syrup, but far less than you’d find the baristas at Starbucks pumping into their lattes. For this drink, pour 2 ounces of sake, 1 ounce of vanilla rum and 1/2 ounce of pumpkin pie syrup into a shaker or pint glass. Stir, don’t shake, the ingredients a few times to blend them well, and then pour into a martini glass. For added flair, garnish your drink with a cinnamon stick or coat the rim in cinnamon powder.
Make your own pumpkin spice
You may be able to find pumpkin spice already blended in one convenient container, but if not, you can make your own. The mixture includes cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger, according to Food.com. For three teaspoons of the sweet stuff, stir together 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Use what you need and save the rest in an air-tight container.