How to Make Fall-Inspired Drinks When It’s Still Hot Outside

Let our warmer climes inspire rather than cancel your cool weather menu.


Featured photo by Sonnie Hile

Editor’s note: The August + September 2022 issue of Barista Magazine includes an article about creating whimsical drinks for your fall menus—there’s a whole world outside of pumpkin-spice lattes and chai tea, folks. But because many regions around the world are experiencing increasingly warmer autumns, we’re exploring fall drinks that can fare better in warmer weather.

For lots of people, the concept of autumn is changing. As temperatures rise in regions around the world, autumn is beginning to feel a little less brisk and cozy, and more like an extension of summer. As a result, the idea of the “perfect autumn drink” is beginning to change, and many baristas and café owners are being prompted to reexamine their usual fall fare. If you’re looking for inspiration for traditional fall-inspired drinks that are warm weather-friendly, here are some easy ways to start:

Pumpin spice cold brew drink on display.
A pumpkin-spiced cold-brew coffee is a refreshing twist on a traditionally hot autumn beverage. Photo by Pariwat Pannium.

Offer iced options

This one goes without saying! Whether you’re making something with pumpkin, caramel, chocolate, or maple, make sure to include an iced option. Because the ice will slightly dilute the beverage, you may want to play around with ratios and come up with a recipe that will retain its flavor. Shaking up iced beverages using a cocktail shaker is an easy way to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated and consistent throughout the drink.

Incorporate Fresh Elements

Adding a fresh element, like fruit or herbs, is an easy way to make sweet and decadent fall-inspired drinks a little more refreshing. Try muddling some fresh mint or adding a little raspberry compote when making an iced mocha, or add a dash of ginger or a sprig of rosemary to your pumpkin spice latte. The key is to work with ingredients that will brighten up the beverage.

A cold brew drink on a countertop.
Consider adding unusual herbs to a cold coffee drink, and try your hand at cold foam while you’re at it. Cold foam is one of the biggest specialty-coffee trends right now, and when used in a fall drink, it can make a refreshing drink feel luxurious. Photo by Harris Vo.

Add Dimension

In making the shift from hot to iced beverages, you risk having the flavors fall a little flat. When making iced autumn drinks, try adding something unexpected to add dimension to the beverage. Los Angeles-based Constellation Coffee, for example, offers an iced salted maple latte—the dash of pink Himalayan salt on top of this beverage is a small yet thoughtful touch that makes the drink stand out.

An iced salted maple latte on a counter.
The iced salted maple latte from L.A.’s Constellation Coffee: The pink Himalayan salt is an unexpected treat. Photo by Emily Meneses.

Go Bubbly

Few things are as refreshing as a sparkling drink, so why not incorporate some bubbly beverages into your fall menu? An obvious go-to is the espresso tonic, which would taste great with single-origin espresso, citrus, and autumn spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, and more. You can also offer sparkling refreshers using your choice of tea and autumn fruits like persimmons, apples, and more.

Changing temperatures don’t mean that we have to completely abandon the seasonal traditions we grew up with. These are just a few of the ways you can make your autumn menu more applicable to warmer seasons—give it your own spin and have fun with it! 


Based in Los Angeles, Emily Joy Meneses (she/her) is a writer and musician passionate about culture and collective care. You can regularly find her at Echo Park Lake, drinking a cortado and journaling about astrology, art, Animal Crossing, and her dreams. Explore her poetry, short stories, and soundscapes on her website.

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