Somewhere between the proliferation of the pumpkin spice latte and the assault of scented candles of the same name, pumpkin spice got a bad rap. But pumpkin spice didn’t install itself in our lives without our assent and occasional enjoyment. Done well, it can make for a warming, welcoming holiday-adjacent treat.
That’s the category the Pumpkin Spice Spiked Coffee at the newly restored Hotel Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles falls. It’s dessert in a glass – a potent mix of espresso, vodka, cinnamon simple syrup and pumpkin spice cream liqueur – that will knock your Uggs off if you sip it a little too quickly.
This is pumpkin spice the way it was meant to be enjoyed – in an alcohol-forward drink that tastes like the cocktail equivalent of the movie “Love, Actually.” Make it for your next holiday party using the recipe below.
Pumpkin Spice Spiked Coffee
1 1/2 ounces vodka
2 ounces brewed espresso
1/2 ounce Cinnamon Simple Syrup (see below)
1 ounce pumpkin spice liqueur such as Bailey’s
Whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg to garnish
Combine the espresso, vodka and syrup in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice, and shake until well chilled, 15 seconds. Strain into a tumbler filled with ice.
Float the pumpkin spice liqueur on top and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a grating of fresh nutmeg to serve.
Yield: 1 cocktail
Cinnamon Simple Syrup
3 cinnamon sticks
2 cups granulated sugar
Combine 3 cinnamon sticks and 2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a bare simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 2 cups granulated sugar until it dissolves. Let the syrup cool completely, then pick out the cinnamon sticks and transfer the syrup to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for as long as 1 month.
Yield: 2 cups
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