By Alyssa Aldrete
Admit it: as soon as you hear that first crunch of a fallen leaf beneath your shoe, as soon as the temperature takes the slightest dip and you feel that first little gust of wind, your taste buds are suddenly solely controlled by the pumpkin spice gods.
No blame will go around for celebrating the spooky season with a fall-flavored beverage in hand. But before you set pumpkin spice latte to auto-order at Starbucks, allow me to present you with six different options, both classic and innovative, that are sure to make your taste buds rise from the grave.
1. Havok’s Harvest shake from Monty’s Good Burger
This shake is definitely kick-starting this list for a reason: it’s thick, decadent pumpkin flavor is blended with an oat-based vanilla soft serve and served in between two layers of delicious crumbled pie crust. It truly is like drinking pumpkin pie from a cup.
Monty’s is known for its flavor-of-the-month shakes and this particular one was created alongside AFI frontman Davey Havok, making it a must for the month of October. Head over to the Riverside Food Lab to get one while supplies last.
Monty’s Good Burger is located at 3605 Market St. in Riverside and opens at 11 a.m.
2. Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie shakes from Plant Power Fast Food:
In the spirit of flavor-of-the-month, Plant Power decided to level up and offer two creamy options: Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie. Although the pumpkin shake is undoubtedly a heavenly combination of the classic clove and nutmeg flavors, it really is the apple shake you have to come here to buy.
This shake finds the perfect balance of tart apples and the sweet bitters of cinnamon and whips them all into one drink that recalls the flavor of that after-Thanksgiving Dutch Apple ala mode.
Plant Power Fast Food is located at 3940 University Ave. in Riverside and opens at 7 a.m.
3. Maple Iced Latte from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
It seems as though this season, everyone is game for a fall flavor besides pumpkin. Enter pumpkin’s forgotten seasonal cousin: maple. Coffee Bean is featuring a maple flavor that can be made hot, iced or blended, and paired with oat milk. It will trick your senses into thinking you are having fresh pancakes on Halloween morning.
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is located at 3545 Central Ave. in Riverside and opens at 5 a.m.
4. Trader Joe’s Maple Oat Beverage and Silk Pumpkin Almond Creamer
If you are trying to start pinching those pennies for the holidays headed toward us and prefer an at-home alternative to fall-flavored coffees, then pick up these two grocery-store options.
Trader Joe’s carries a maple-flavored oat creamer that is a coffee match made in heaven, and Silk’s new Pumpkin Almond Creamer is the closest you will ever get to the pumpkin spice latte from home. Remember, no cows were harmed in the making of these lattes.
Trader Joes is located at 6225 Riverside Plaza Dr. in Riverside and opens at 8 a.m.
5. Spiced Apple Cider
Although apple cider hits the shelves at virtually every supermarket once October starts, I stand by my opinion that Trader Joe’s offers the best option to this sweet and cozy drink, short of making your own at a cider mill.
This blend of apple juice, allspice and orange peels comes in a huge 64 ounce jug and is just waiting to be served hot next to a cozy fire, or chilled as a complement to your autumn-inspired dinners.
6. Howling Gourds Pumpkin Ale
This one’s for the 21 and over crowd whose fall festivities include a good brew in hand. Another Trader Joe’s gem, this Howling Gourds Pumpkin Ale is heavier on the allspice than other seasonal craft beers on the market, but the drinkability is still there.
The spices smooth out on the palate as you get to the body of the beer and can be a great addition to your quarantine-style pumpkin carving night.
And there you have it: six more options to fill your fall cup with joy. Pick one (or all) as the month unravels and curl up in front of your favorite horror movie as a way to happily host your festivities from home.