A sip of autumn

Nov. 27, 2023, 12:46 p.m. | By Alexander Liu | 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Get cozy with these fall-themed drinks

Drink Ingredients Photo courtesy of Alexander Liu.

Fall. A time when most of the leaves have packed up and gone, the weather is busy having its annual mid-life crisis, and Krispy Kreme is busy pumping out new flavors like there’s no tomorrow. 

That said, one good thing about fall is that it brings with it plenty of seasonal drinks. And no, I’m not just talking about the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. Rather, there are hundreds of fall-themed drinks, ranging from creamy hot chocolates to refreshing fruit punches. But are these drinks any good? Luckily for you, I’ve gone ahead and ranked three of these drinks myself so that you won’t have to. 

Avena Caliente - Rating: 4/5

Avena Caliente (left) Photo courtesy of Alexander Liu.

This drink is a weird mix between a normal hot chocolate and oatmeal sludge. Despite that, when you mix it with a bunch of calories in the form of milk, sugar, and assorted fall spices, it actually tastes quite good. The drink isn’t too sweet and there is a pleasant aftertaste thanks to the spices. Despite their blandness, the oatmeal squares contribute to the overall flavor in a nice way, rounding out the edges of the sugar and spices. 

For this warm oatmealy cinnamony delight, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal squares cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

To start, pour the water and oatmeal squares into a bowl and break the squares up to help them dissolve in the water. After about five minutes, strain the water into a saucepan or pot, along with all the other ingredients. Put your stove on high until the mixture reaches a boil, stirring the whole time. After it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and keep stirring for about five minutes. 

Pro-tip: pick a BIG pot, so that when the mixture starts to boil and expand, it doesn’t get all over your floor like it did mine. 

Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate - Rating 4.5/5

Pumpkin spice hot chocolate (right) Photo courtesy of Alexander Liu.

This white hot chocolate was my favorite of the bunch. By combining the normally rich creaminess of hot chocolate with some pumpkin and cinnamon, the drink ends up becoming a perfect fall-themed escape. Moreover, the substitution of white chocolate chips instead of normal milk chocolate chips means the aftertaste is sharper and sweeter if that’s your thing. 

For this creamy hot chocolate spinoff, you will need: 

  • 2 cups whole milk 
  • 1 cup half and half 
  • 4 oz. white chocolate chips
  • 5 oz. pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • whipped cream
  • lots of patience

Put everything except for the whipped cream inside of a medium to large pot. Whisk it all together on low heat, making sure that it does not boil until the mixture is appropriately creamy. After pouring into a cup, layer on as much whipped cream as desired and finish it off with some white chocolate chips on top. 

Sangria Punch - Rating 3/5

Sangria Punch Photo courtesy of Alexander Liu.

Why punch for a fall drink? Because it's orange and has plenty of leaves, just like fall. It also tastes a lot more like a bitter fruit juice, which along with its herby scent and orange coloring give it the look and taste of a fall drink! The hardest to make and most unique of the bunch, this fruity punch has a truly weird flavor. It feels like it’s having trouble deciding whether or not it wants to taste like kombucha or orange cider. Regardless, I wouldn’t describe the overall taste as bad, although if a mildly strong bitter aftertaste sounds unpleasant to you, I wouldn’t recommend making this drink. 

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 whole grapefruits 
  • 4 sprigs rosemary 
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 750 mL Sparkling Water 
  • 2 hands immune to cramping from too much grating 

Start with a large bowl. Pour the sugar in, and pick the leaves from the rosemary sprigs. Finally, take two of the grapefruits and finely grate the zest from the skin into the bowl so that you have equal parts sugar and orange. Take the rest of the grapefruit and cut away the peels, chopping the insides into roughly one-inch cubes. Mix everything together in the bowl, squeezing the juice out of the grapefruit chunks. Leave covered in the fridge overnight. The next day, strain out the liquid and pour it into a beaker or pitcher. Add the vinegar and sparkling water, and stir until the liquid is thoroughly mixed. 

Before fall comes to a close, make sure to make yourself a cup of pumpkin spice hot chocolate. Especially before everyone starts giving you weird looks for buying cans of pumpkin puree during the Christmas season. 

Last updated: Dec. 4, 2023, 6:32 p.m.

Alexander Liu. Hi, I'm Alex (he/him) and I'll be a staff writer for SCO this year. I'm passionate about public policy and international relations. In my free time, I enjoy drawing and watching terrible rom-coms. More »

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