Fall is here, and with the new season’s arrival comes the barrage of advertisements for pumpkin-spice everything. Our favorite way to indulge in this treat is, of course, a creamy, fragrant (and vegan!) pumpkin spice latte, but that doesn’t mean the beloved orange squash is the only seasonal flavor we’ll be devouring this fall. In fact, after trying these five pumpkin-free beverages, we just might forget all about those delicious orange drinks.
This gem is sweet, aromatic, and so simple you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making this at home for years. Best made with fresh-squeezed, but storebought will do in a pinch. All you need is 1 large peeled and juiced orange (or approximately ⅓ cup orange juice), ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 pinch nutmeg, ½ tablespoon maple syrup (optional), and 1 cup boiling water. Or, you can add all the ingredients to a mug, and pour over boiling water to fill. Mix and enjoy!
Vanilla spice horchata
Horchata is poised to become this fall’s star beverage, and why not? A deliciously creamy favorite traditionally made from rice and almond milk, horchata is my full-flavored vegan go-to. Even Starbucks has one that is vegan (if you skip the toppings), but these drinks are often better when made at home. For a do-it-yourself version, lightly cook 1 cup of long grain rice placed in 4 cups boiling water, and then reduce immediately to simmer for 10 minutes, covered. Let the rice stand for five minutes, then drain. Into a blender, add 4 cups almond milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 3 tablespoons turbinado, demerara, or organic brown sugar (or more to taste). Blend until smooth, strain into small saucepan, and heat on medium-low heat until the first small bubble forms (approximately 3 minutes). Serve and enjoy.
Quick-mulled apple spice
This classic fall drink has been overshadowed by the pumpkin-spice phenomenon, but classics never go out of style. A true mulled cider starts with apple cider and slowly simmers with a fall spice blend before heating and eventually developing a pungent aroma. To hack apple cider, into a small saucepan, combine 3 large juiced apples (approximately 1 cup apple juice), ¼ teaspoon allspice, a pinch of clove, a pinch of nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and maple syrup (to taste) in 1 cup boiling water. Whisk until mixture is hot (approximately 2 minutes), and serve. Pro tip: this recipe is best for those with juicers but can also be made in a blender if you’re prepared to peel and core your apples first.
Golden milk latte
As increased interest in turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties increases, golden milk lattes are quickly becoming staples in cafés and health-food bars around the globe. In this recipe, we add fresh black pepper, which aids in the absorption of the curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. With a strong color and unmistakable flavor, golden milk lattes are easy to make and have a calming, soothing effect, perfect for a cold day (or after a good leaf-raking). For the best results, whisk together 2 cups hemp milk, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, 2 black peppercorns, a pinch of cardamom, and maple syrup (to taste) until the mixture is light and airy. On medium heat, whisk for 5 minutes and then serve.
Chicory root hot chocolate
Did you save any chicory root from your late-summer walks? If not, depending on where you live, you have up to two months to go gathering. If you live in a part of the world that already looks like fall, purchase some chicory root powder (which will supply you with all liver detox goodness you need to build your immune system for the upcoming cold season). To make this delicious hot chocolate, combine 2 tablespoons chicory root powder with 1 cup boiling water and whisk vigorously over low heat. Next, add an additional 1 cup boiling water, 1 cup hot vegan milk, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave, increasing to medium heat when all ingredients are combined. Stir, heat an additional 2 minutes, and serve.
Suzannah Gerber is vegan executive chef who teaches classes on plant-based nutrition and urban farming and also works with plant-based diets in medical studies.
Photo courtesy of melissasenduk.com