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Make pumpkin drinks at home

Once upon a time, in a land before Starbucks, there existed this stuff we call coffee. Not half-fat mocha latte skinny with frappo organic raw sugar and a twist of Madagascar kumquat syrup.

No. We all drank coffee and were just glad it had enough caffeine in it to get us through the morning, finals or keep us on deadline.

So it was with a great deal of amusement and a bit of shock that I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a national crisis brewing (sorry couldn’t resist that one). Starbucks was having problems fulfilling the demand for their seasonal specialty drink, the Pumpkin Latte.

Excuse me? Customers frothing at the mouth because they can’t spend over $4 for a cup of pumpkin latte? Yes, I know this is a seasonal beverage of choice for millions, but let’s get real here, you can make pumpkin lattes at home for a fraction of the cost and they are just as tasty.

The article got me thinking about other pumpkin-flavored drinks I’ve had over the years. So here are a few that everyone can enjoy while pumpkins are in season.

Almost the Same Pumpkin Spiced Latte

1/2 cup milk (whole, or 2 percent)

1 tablespoon canned pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 teaspoon packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup hot brewed, strong coffee

2 tablespoons half and half cream

1 teaspoon white sugar, or more to taste

Sweetened whipped cream (from a can is fine)

Ground nutmeg

In a glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl, whisk together milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes; watch closely and remove it from the microwave when the milk is hot and frothy. Pour the pumpkin milk into a tall mug or glass. Add hot coffee. Pour in the cream. Add a teaspoon of sugar. Stir, and taste. Add more sugar, if desired. Top with sweetened whipped cream on top and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (chilled)

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk (chilled)

8 ounces vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Sweetened whipped cream, to taste (optional)

Combine pumpkin, milk, yogurt, sugar and spice in a blender; cover. Blend until mixture is smooth. Pour into glasses; top with whipped cream (if desired) and an additional sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Serves four.

Apple Pumpkin-Tini

Crushed ice

1 1/2 ounces pumpkin purée

1 1/2 ounces vanilla vodka

2 ounces apple cider

1 1/2 ounces ginger ale

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the pumpkin purée, vodka and apple cider. Shake for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with ginger ale.

Ice Cream Pumpkin Cocktail

2 scoops vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup ice (crushed)

1 tablespoon canned pumpkin

1 ounce half and half

1 ounce spiced rum

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping

1 pinch pumpkin pie spice

In a blender or food processor combine the ice cream, ice, pumpkin, half-and-half, rum and pumpkin pie spice. Process until smooth. Pour into a serving glass and top with whipped topping. Sprinkle with pinch of pumpkin pie spice. Serves 1. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

– Modified from – Modified from a recipe by Kelly Carámbula, founder and publisher of Remedy Quarterly, an independent food magazine Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.