We are finally seeing a taste of cooler weather in West Texas with a high in the 80s rather than the 100s. Although we know this pleasantry won’t be sticking around for long, it has us ready for what’s to come this fall.

One of my favorite parts of fall is enjoying some delicious warm drinks. So, let’s take a look at a couple of recipes you can make to get you in the fall mood.

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Homemade Apple Cider 

  • 10–12 medium apples (assorted types), quartered
  • 2 oranges, quartered (also peeled, if you would like your cider less tart*)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • optional extra seasonings: 1 teaspoon whole allspice, 1 whole nutmeg, and/or 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 16 cups water, more or less
  • 1/2 cup sweetener (brown sugar or maple syrup)
  • Combine ingredients (excluding sweetener) into a large crock pot and cover with water, leaving one to two inches of space from the top of the pot. Set the crock pot to high heat until the mixture simmers, reduce heat to medium-low and cover to simmer for 2 hours or until the apples are soft. Mash the apples and oranges, cover, and let simmer for another hour. Strain out the solids with a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth and serve while warm.

Chai 

  • 2 1/4 cups filtered water
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 4 green cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, optional
  • 1/2- inch fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 black tea bags or sub 3 tsp loose leaf black tea
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 tsp cane sugar
  • Heat a medium saucepan over high heat. Add water, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom pods, black peppercorns, fennel seeds (if using), and ginger. Bring to a boil then add tea bags. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 7-10 minutes before adding milk and sugar. Bring the mixture back up to a boil then reduce to medium heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Bring back to a boil for another 1-2 minutes and then serve, straining into a mug and adding more sweetener if needed.

Pumpkin Spice Latte 

  • 2 shots espresso (or sub 1/2 cup hot freshly brewed coffee)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, to sweeten
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream for topping
  • Heat milk in a pot until almost simmering, or heat using a steam wand. Make your espresso then add pumpkin puree, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla and stir until well combined. Combine milk and pumpkin spice espresso into a mug, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Cozy Cocktail

If you want to make any of these drinks more adult, you can add your choice of alcohol to them for a cozy cocktail. I suggest adding some whiskey to the apple cider, RumChata to the chai, and Bailey‘s to the latte.

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