My friend Natalie asked me one recent autumn day if I had ever tried to make pumpkin spice syrup for mixing into coffee. (“Pumpkin’s back!” The seasonal commercials hound us at every turn.)
She had tried a recipe for the syrup she found online, which included pumpkin purée. The mixture that she got was tasty, but very thick and sweet. When she stirred it to her coffee it quickly settled to the bottom, making for a weak pumpkin-spice taste for most of the coffee and then WAY too much sweetness and sludge at the end of the cup.
I remembered a favorite quote of mine from Garrison Keillor: “Pumpkin pie is just a vehicle for nutmeg.” To expand on that idea, I think that pumpkin spice love (pie, bars, bread, lattes, cereals, Oreos, everything), is really just about the spices. Noodling it through with that in mind, I made a sweet syrup with just the pumpkin pie spice.
Simple syrup syrup itself is pretty easy and requires only a few minutes cooking time on the stove. The spices took some adjusting, as at first the cinnamon was the only thing I could taste. (It was scrumptious, and tasted like those little cinnamon candies – but not like pumpkin pie.)
Boosting the allspice, and especially the nutmeg and ginger did the trick. Once cooled the spiced syrup is thin, which means it mixes into hot drinks very smoothly and doesn’t settle to the bottom.
Natalie tried it in her coffee and later in some hot Chai tea. She declared it to be perfect. Her precise declaration was this:
“It was so good and reminds me of Fall. I’m so excited I can have pumpkin coffee with going bankrupt at Dunkin’ Donuts!”
Aww, she’s as sweet as this syrup.
Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup
This spiced syrup is an easy way to add tantalizing fall flavor to your drinks.
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1-3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar.
Whisk in the spices. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer the mixture for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat.
Strain the syrup by pouring it through a cheesecloth-lined funnel into a glass mason jar. Allow the syrup to cool completely.
Keep the syrup covered and refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
Makes about 1-1/4 cups of simple syrup.
Create, Be Curious, Celebrate... with Food!