Fall-Inspired Drinks

Leaves are falling, days are growing shorter, and it’s finally that time of year when we have an excuse to get warm with spiced, fragrant drinks! Amaan Akhtar shares three recipes of his own creation for drinks that taste like fall itself.


The Autumn season is a golden heaven for many of us. We marvel at the way nature gracefully transitions from vibrant green hues to warmer shades of copper red, gold, and orange. Although the cold weather may make us tense up during the day, in the evenings we are amicably welcomed in by the comfort of our own homes. There we can nestle in warmth under a blanket or beside a fire, and be comforted by the luxurious taste of a hot drink.

Having been inspired lately by this season, I decided to create some hot drink recipes using flavours associated with Autumn. Enjoy!

(Note: Where there is an asterisk*, feel free to substitute milk and sugar alternatives in for dietary requirements, taste preference, etc. They should work just fine!) 

Pumpkin Pie Masala Chai 

This drink combines the rich, fragrant notes of an Indian-style spiced tea (‘Masala Chai’) with the hugely popular pumpkin pie taste that is widely associated with this season. 

 Photographer: Ruxandra Chitac

Photographer: Ruxandra Chitac

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 1 ¼ cups water

  • 1 whole star anise

  • 1 stick cinnamon

  • 2 cardamom pods, cracked

  • 4 whole cloves 

  • 2 black tea bags, or 2 Tbsp loose black tea

  • 1 cup milk* (or you can use a 1:1 ratio of milk to cream)

  • 1 to 3 Tbsp granulated sugar* 

  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp (75 grams) pumpkin puree 

  • ¼ tsp nutmeg 

  • ¼ tsp allspice 

  • ¼ tsp ginger

Method

  1. In a saucepan, boil on medium heat the measured volume of water with star anise, cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves, and black tea bags. 

  2. When the black tea has brewed, and you can smell the strong fragrant aroma of the spices (roughly a few minutes after the water begins to boil), strain out the spices and tea bags.

  3. Put the saucepan back on medium-low heat and add sugar and milk to the tea mixture.

  4. Finally, add the pumpkin puree, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger to the saucepan and whisk until it is smooth. 

  5. When pouring the tea into a mug, be sure to stir gently with a spoon – this will ensure that the pumpkin puree remains mixed into the tea.

Apple Cinnamon & Maple Latte

This latte uses an inexpensive, homemade cinnamon apple syrup (that is very easy to make) and maple syrup to bring a flavourful warmth that can only be described as a soothing boost after a long day! Also, you will make a jar full of cinnamon apple syrup that can be stored and used for future recipes you make. 

 Photographer: Ruxandra Chitac

Photographer: Ruxandra Chitac

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 1 apple

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1½ tsp cinnamon

  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup instant espresso (or strongly brewed coffee)

  • 1/3 cup milk* (or you can use a 1:1 ratio of milk to cream) 

  • 1 tsp maple syrup 

Method

  1. Slice the apple and place the pieces into a saucepan with water, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.

  2. Allow the mixture to boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once it starts to boil, turn down to a medium-low heat and simmer for around 5 -10 minutes (or until the syrup has thickened up enough).

  3. Take off the heat and allow the syrup to cool down. Remove the apple pieces and put them in a separate bowl – these can be used as garnish for the latte, or simply used as a topping for something else (i.e. pancakes).

  4. Brew a cup of coffee of your choice (instant coffee powder, French press style, etc.), and only fill the mug 1/3 – 1/2 of the way (depending on how much milk you want in your latte).

  5. Add roughly 1 teaspoon of the apple cinnamon syrup you made (or adjust according to your taste), and then add the maple syrup. It is important to stir the coffee and syrup together with a spoon, before adding the milk – this provides the most flavour. 

  6. Heat the milk in a bowl in the microwave for 1 minute, and whisk it afterwards to froth it up. Pour it into your mug and enjoy! 

 

Gingerbread & Orange Hot Chocolate

While this recipe already combines the rich, dark taste of chocolate and pairs it with orange, I chose to go a step further and added the warm wintery flavour of gingerbread to give it that spicy kick. Trust me when I say it feels like a warm, fuzzy hug in a cup! 

 Photographer: Ruxandra Chitac

Photographer: Ruxandra Chitac

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 2 cups milk*

  • ¼ cup cocoa powder (or use 50g chopped dark chocolate + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder for a richer chocolate taste)

  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar (or coconut sugar) 

  • 2 Tbsp caster sugar*

  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

  • ½ tsp allspice

  • ½ tsp ground ginger

  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg 

  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

  • ½ tsp orange extract (if you don’t have this, use an extra 3/4 tsp of orange zest)

  • ½ tsp grated orange zest

  • ¼ tsp sea salt

  • (Optional: whipped cream, nutmeg, and gingerbread man for topping)

Method

  1. In a saucepan, boil gently on medium heat the measured volume of milk. (Optional: If using dark chocolate and cocoa powder, make sure to chop up the dark chocolate and place it into a microwavable bowl at this step. The chocolate pieces will need to be melted for 2 minutes in a microwave before incorporating it into the saucepan in step 3.) 

  2. In the meantime, combine the dark brown sugar (or coconut sugar), caster sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg in a small bowl and mix well.

  3. Once the milk begins to steam, add the cocoa powder (or dark chocolate pieces and cocoa powder) and gently whisk.

  4. Add the spice and sugar mixture from step 2.

  5. Add the vanilla extract, orange extract, some orange zest, and sea salt. Whisk until the hot chocolate mixture is smooth. 

  6. Pour into a mug, and feel free to add toppings such as whipped cream, nutmeg, or even a gingerbread man on top.

You will notice that a lot of spices are used in these drinks, and I hope to encourage the use of such potent flavours in cooking, as you will notice that they bring a rich, versatile taste to any type of cuisine. Also, while I have put down guidelines for each recipe, feel free to experiment: change the quantities of spices, add or remove certain ingredients, or even cultivate your own ideas – let your creative intuition flow and see what Autumn drink recipes you can come up with yourself!


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