NEW YORK, NY
Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSL’s to the masses) are the cliched fall beverage of choice. Every year we harp on them as a commemoration of autumn. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll drink a couple when October rolls around. But if you’re tired of pumpkin in your drink- or simply want a change of pace- here are some other delicious options.
1. Apple cider from the Union Square farmer’s market
If you want that fall vibe without resorting to pumpkin, apple cider is the way to go. Around since 1976, the market opens now every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 a.m. Along with other produce, cheeses, jams, syrups, and other artisan goodies, you can grab an apple cider for $3.
A “classic but never basic” says a fan, 19-year-old student, Genai Cavender. “I love love love going to the Green Market in Union Square and grabbing a fresh one every chance I get.”
2. Max Brenner’s hot chocolate
If you’re looking for a more luxurious drink, try Max Brenner just a block south on Broadway. Famous for everything chocolate, you can’t go wrong with any of their rich concoctions. For hot chocolate, you can pick from milk, white, and dark. Particularly delicious is the “Italian thick” variation, which the menu describes as “infused with vanilla cream.”
The drink is true to its name, thick and creamy. Though a bit pricey at $6, it’s a nice treat for a chilly evening. Pair it with the “OMG ” s’mores pizza (and temporarily forget words like “calories” and “fat”) for a cocoaverload.
3. The “Nutella Fitzgerald” at The Bean
I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like Nutella. Even if the smooth hazelnut spread isn’t your thing, you want to get it for the fun name alone. The Bean has a slew of interestingly named drinks: The Frozen Mona Lisa, The Mother TeREESEa, The Great BamBEANo. The Nutella Fitzgerald- a mix of Nutella, espresso, and milk- is a favorite if not simply for the gooey Nutella left at the bottom of the cup.
Visit The Bean at 9th St. and First Ave and treat yourself to one for around $5. Enjoy it just a couple blocks away in Tompkins Square Park!
If you’re in the mood to deviate from the usual, give horchata a whirl. The iced cinnamon-rice drink still has fall flavors, and is refreshing to boot. Try one from Tacombi Fonda Nolita on Elizabeth St. and Houston.
Featured by Refinery29 and Zagat, the place is known for its “kitschy” atmosphere inspired by the Yucatan. It’s hard not to smile at the converted VW bus parked inside from which food is served. The string lights provide a softer contrast to the “garage-like” space, making it a cool spot for either a casual family dinner or a date. Order horchata for under $4, which employee Jared K. calls “central to the menu,” and use it to wash down some crunchy shrimp tacos!
5. Herbal Tea
Though fall is a time for outdoor activities and perfectly brisk temperatures, it’s also cold and flu season. Stay above the weather with the help of some tea, courtesy of the West Village’s Tea & Sympathy.
The spot, which specializes in homey British dishes and dozens upon dozens of teas, has been featured in USA Today, CBS Local, and Zagat for its eclectic charm. They carry tea varieties like orange spice, black ginger, and apple mango. Bring a friend and share a pot for $6, and pair it with a scone or five.
6. Matcha latte
If you want to kick your tea up a notch, try it in matcha form! One of the best places to do that is at Cha Cha Matcha on Broome St. The pink and green-decorated cafe incorporates the Japanese powdered green tea not only into their beverages, but into ice cream and other desserts. A uniquely bitter yet sweet flavor, the hot matcha is perfect for a rainy fall day. Grab one for $4 and enjoy it indoors. (They also have a pumpkin spice matcha latte for those reluctant to branch out.)
You won’t find another place like this for matcha, and the decor gives off a fresh feel. A bonus? Matcha is also naturally one of the most antioxidant-dense foods on the planet.
7. The Chestnut Praline latte at Starbucks
I wouldn’t feel right about this list if this wasn’t included. Often overshadowed by pumpkin spice and other seasonal drinks, the chestnut praline latte doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The holiday cups have returned (in a new GREEN color) and the fall/winter drinks along with them.
Forgo your usual and order the chestnut praline latte, perfectly sweetened by caramelized chestnuts and spiced with praline crumbs. It’s creamy and a perfect transition into colder months and their holidays. Visit the Starbucks on Washington Square and bundle up with your drink in the park!