It’s September, which means it’s pumpkin spice season. You may have overlooked the transition because it’s hot enough to melt vinyl siding. Or you are adrift in the choppy waters of news — welcome! — and don’t have the mental capacity to ponder warming spice blends.
Well, wake up, because the harvest is nigh. I put 120 miles on my car to create this list of knockout seasonal beverages that will aid in maladaptive avoidance. My heart is still racing. Too much latte? Is it normal to sweat this much? I’m sure it’s fine.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Spaddy’s Coffee Co., 5206 N Florida Ave. and 6102 S MacDill Ave., Tampa
This is the “gourd standard.” Haha, doesn’t it feel good to laugh? The creamy, comforting pumpkin pie in a cup, above, will transport you to a time before you said things like “comorbidities,” “ivermectin,” “pre-pandemic baseline” and “we’ll check the numbers in a few weeks and then decide.”
Cookie Butter Latte
Dunedin Coffee Company and Bakery, 730 Broadway #3, Dunedin
One way to numb troubles is to put cookie butter in your coffee. If you do this at home, it is called “a new low.” Instead, go to the Dunedin Coffee Company and Bakery for this winner off the September menu. This sweet drink will perk you up while also making you sluggish and detached, a high you have been chasing since March 2020.
Freddo with Pumpkin Syrup
Grindhouse Coffee, 432 Cleveland St., Clearwater
Is the climate crisis making hurricanes worse? How is Louisiana? Are we next? While spiraling, try a Freddo, a Greek treat that combines espresso with ice and sweetener. This is cozy season, so tell them to add a good ol’ pumpkin swizzle. It never hurt anybody. Or did it? Is there an article?
Cappuccino with Honey and Chai Spice
Bandit Coffee Co., 2662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg
Talking helps, so open up to your barista. Say you need a festive fall refreshment, stat. Let a professional envelop you in a hug of a cappuccino laced with honey and topped with cuddly chai spice. Get it with oat milk for cholesterol, then remember how some guy claimed salads can fight COVID-19. Choke back tears of the season.
King State, 520 E Floribraska Ave., Tampa
It’s good to have options. Milk or milk substitute? Hot or iced? Giant felt hat or over-the-knee boots? Speak up or hold back to keep peace because you’ve been down this road before? Chunky blanket or fuzzy socks?
Fall Spice Latte
Mountaineer Coffee, 6322 Bank St., New Port Richey
Many autumnal drinks fall into the trap of tasting like candy. This one, with cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg, offers a chic take on a classic. It’s sophisticated, unlike the time you tried to weigh in on the complexities of the war in Afghanistan, or what expanding the Supreme Court would entail. It is topped with a beautiful heart!
Maple Fig Fog
Starkey Market, 3460 Starkey Blvd., Trinity
Starkey Market is a fountainhead of fall drinks, with a menu including White Mocha Pumpkin Spice, Sea Salt Caramel Pumpkin Pie and Caramel Apple Butter Chai. This is plaid season, and they are not messing around! But the Maple Fig Fog, a hot tea made with steamed milk, best captures the essence of brain fog you wake up with on a daily basis.
Pumpkin Spice Martini
Jack Pallino’s Napoletano Pizza and Pub, 718 Broadway, Dunedin
Oops! How did this get in here? Um... this is coffee, right? No? Hic, well, anyway. Haha! What problems? There are no problems. There is only pie spice, vodka and creem. Wait, crume. Crreeemwwdwe. Leave me here with my feelings.
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