Pumpkin spice lattes are more than a temporary menu item. They have fervent adherents who post pictures to Instagram with the hashtag #PSL, which has been used more than 1.7 million times to date. A search for the related hashtag #pumpkinspice provides more than 2.4 million results.
Whether you’re a diehard PSL drinker, or had never heard this acronym before, the combination of coffee with baking spices like cinnamon has potential for an excellent cool-weather cocktail.
The key to this recipe is homemade simple syrup, flavored with spices you’d find in pumpkin pie plus a few black peppercorns to keep the sweetness in check. Extra syrup keeps well in the refrigerator and could also be drizzled onto Greek yogurt, rice pudding or coffee ice cream.
The rest of the cocktail is fairly flexible. Use two shots of espresso instead of coffee if you like, or frothed milk in place of whipped cream. Cognac, dark rum and Bourbon are all lovely complements to the spiced syrup. You can make this non-alcoholic by swapping the spirit for a tablespoon of vanilla extract.
- ½ cup brewed coffee
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin spiced simple syrup (recipe follows)
- 1.5 ounces Cognac, rum, Bourbon or vanilla extract
- ¼ cup heavy cream, whipped into soft peaks
- Ground nutmeg, for garnish
Pour coffee into a mug and stir in spiced simple syrup, followed by your spirit of choice. Spoon homemade whipped cream on top, and then garnish with ground nutmeg.
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 3-inch cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves
- 10 black peppercorns
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar dissolves.
Reduce heat and add cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns. Simmer for five minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool. Pour through sieve into a heat-safe bowl or jar. Discard solids.
Syrup can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one month.