Photo Contributed by Tohm Brigitte, Stock Snap

By Grace Stafford, Assistant Features Editor —

Time for an unpopular opinion, but I seriously despise pumpkin spice-flavored drinks and, yes, I am prepared for the potential hate mail I’ll get for that. Actual foods with pumpkin are fine – pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins- even the pumpkin pie PopTarts. I just draw the line at the famed PSL. Instead, here are 10 warm, sort of seasonal drinks that are actually good:

  1. Apple Cider – While lacking in the caffeine department, apple cider is the true taste of fall. Apple cider is essentially warm, spiced apple juice, and it’s all you could ever want. Not to mention you can spike it which just makes everything better.
  2. Mulled wine – Do you want to feel like you’re celebrating the holidays in Europe where there’s probably snow already instead of the rainy, 50 degree weather of the South? Then just drink mulled wine which is served warm with cozy spices.
  3. Honey cinnamon latte – No matter what it’s in, cinnamon just makes anything more festive. A latte sweetened with honey and cinnamon is no different. Revelator in North Shore does this one quite well.
  4. Cubano – This is really just a more concentrated version of a honey cinnamon latte as a Cubano is made with honey, espresso, cinnamon and steamed cream. Stone Cup has this on their menu, and, really, it is just a sweet version of a classic Cuban coffee.
  5. Peppermint mocha – You can never go wrong with the Christmas-time classic of a peppermint mocha. This one is always perfect for a caffeine pick-me-up from Starbucks when you’re hitting a wall in finals week.
  6. Dirty chai/chai – My all-time favorite, in all honesty, is a dirty chai or chai latte depending on the amount of caffeine I’m needing. Nothing quite compares to a heavily spiced tea, frothed milk and/or a few shots of espresso.
  7. London fog – This is really just like a chai latte but with a different tea. Earl Grey tea and milk is a good substitute if you really can’t shake the tingly tongue feeling that sometimes comes from chai tea.
  8. Mate – While it’s possible to make mate tea at home, it’s definitely a task in itself. The Yellow Deli serves plain green mate and several flavor variations, so give the green tea-esque drink a shot the next time you’re there pulling an all-nighter.   
  9. Hot Chocolate – Throw it back to the times as a kid coming in from playing out in the snow with a cup of hot chocolate. It’s definitely not a daily drink, but it never fails.
  10. Plain ol’ black coffee – It’s pretty obvious how far my hatred goes for pumpkin spice when I would suggest black coffee to be a better drink. Of course, it’s great for that caffeine boost as finals approach, but add a sprinkle of cinnamon to your coffee grounds and the classic will be more festive in no time.

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