Forget the cool, crisp weather, the trips to the apple orchard, or the breathtaking foliage. Come autumn, it's the amazing fall beverages that everyone really looks forward to (I'm talking to you, PSL fans). You know what I mean. Steaming cups of apple cider, cozy mugs of hot cocoa, basically anything pumpkin spice... nothing tastes more wonderful than these seasonal staples just waiting to be consumed as the days get shorter and the nights get colder.
Oh wait, something does. There's only one thing in the world that could make these beautiful beverages even tastier: alcohol. Apple cider, hot cocoa, anything pumpkin spice and then some? Now we're talking. But let's not get too crazy — you can't just add a splash of vodka to any old drink and assume it will taste amazing. There's a science to spiking your favorite beverages, and I'm here to show you just how to do it.
Ready to get creative? As a boozy toast to fall, here are eight beloved seasonal beverages paired perfectly with their alcoholic counterparts. Whip up one of these babies, and get ready to have some fun. Cheers!
1. Apple Cinnamon Cider
A warm glass of freshly made apple cinnamon cider. Mmmm. Does it get any better? Why yes, it most certainly does. Try adding in a dash of a dark rum and a quick spritz of whipped cream. Pure bliss. This spiced apple cider recipe by A Beautiful Mess is a good base to get you started before bringing on the booze.
2. Pumpkin Spice Latte
It's hard to imagine that the PSL can be improved, but start imagining anyway. I have one word for you, and that word is whiskey. Actually, I have two words for you, and those words are rye whiskey. If you're not making your PSL at home, order to-go and sneak some under the lid once you get home.
3. Hot Cocoa
Hot cocoa is the perfect drink for a chilly night in front of the fire. Hot cocoa with a shot of peppermint schnapps is even more perfect. I'm telling you, it's like drinking an Andes Chocolate Mint. Even the thought of that is enough to send chocolate lovers over the moon.
You either like eggnog or you don't. There really is no middle ground. For all you eggnog-haters out there, I have nothing to say to you. As for the rest of us normal folk, bring on the brandy! Eggnog, brandy, and a couple dashes of simple syrup will get you stoked about the holidays in no time.
5. Chai Latte
Chai lattes are seriously the best any time of year, but if you only drink them during the fall, here's a quick trick to turn them into a delicious after-dinner cocktail. Though you might not think it at first, adding some port wine to this beverage makes it taste even sweeter without overpowering its unique flavor. Liquid desserts are the way to go, people. (Hint: Start off with Mom on Timeout's vanilla chai latte recipe if your sweet tooth is on the rise, because this is delicious even if you don't add alcohol.)
6. Spiced Tea
As we tea-lovers know, spiced tea isn't only for when you're feeling sick. It's for all the time. Having trouble convincing your friends? Mix in some orange liqueur. Get fancy with it and add a slice of fresh orange to the cup's rim, and you've got yourself one special little treat.
7. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
To be honest, I didn't even know that this was a thing. But it's definitely a thing. It's a really big thing, apparently. So, you've figured out how to make a pumpkin pie smoothie thanks to Oh She Glows' amazing vegan recipe (or you've picked one up from Jack in the Box, whatever, I don't judge). Your next step is to add a little bourbon to the mix to give it a sweet, molasses kick. A corn-based liquor and pumpkin-based drink? It's perfection.
8. Cranberry Punch
A punch isn't a punch unless it's spiked, right? Right. Cranberry punch is pretty forgiving when it comes to incorporating alcohols. While there are a couple different ways to get going with your "spiking," I recommend keeping it classic with some vodka. The Russians know what they're doing.