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Make Autumn's Most Popular Drink at Home

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The return of fall means a lot of things: Leaves are changing color, the weather is getting brisker and, perhaps most importantly, everything is starting to taste like pumpkin. From pie to beer, a frenzy of pumpkin-flavored foods and drinks come out each fall, and the king of all of them is the pumpkin spice latte.

However, those who get the coveted drink at their local coffeehouse may not be drinking what they think they are. Most pumpkin drinks served at national chains are made with prepared syrups that sometimes contain artificial colorings and staggering amounts of sugar, according to Business Insider. Instead of shelling out $4 or more every morning for the liquid equivalent of a candy bar, coffee drinkers can make their own healthier pumpkin concoctions for a fraction of the price.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice 
Most of the classic pumpkin taste of these drinks comes not from any actual pumpkin, but from spices. A certain spice mix has become so associated with the autumnal favorite that it's come to be known as pumpkin pie spice. A fresh supply of pumpkin pie spice is quick and easy to make. It's a simple mixture of five ingredients: ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. The proper proportions are about twice as much cinnamon as ginger, and twice as much ginger as the rest of the ingredients. So a recipe using 2 tablespoons of cinnamon would call for about 1 tablespoon of ginger and half a tablespoon of nutmeg, allspice and cloves.

Spice up the Morning 
The mixture can be used for a variety of recipes, the most important of course being coffee. About 1/4 tablespoon of the spice can be added straight to the cup of coffee or added to the grounds in the coffee maker. To make a latte with the spice, just add it to the bottom of a cup and pour the shots in directly from the espresso maker before adding milk. Since the spice contains no sugar, it can make a much healthier drink than those made with premade mixes. However, anyone who finds it a little too strong for their taste can add sweeteners as they wish. A little brown sugar will help the drink stay true to its pumpkin pie origins.