Nothing is better than starting an autumn day with a nice Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbucks — it’s one of our favorite ways to enjoy the beautifully crisp fall season. And chains all over America seem to be catching onto the trend by creating their own holiday and seasonal favorites. This time of year we are blown away by some of the innovative concoctions fast-food restaurants come up with. Depending on whether you’re an avid pumpkin spice syrup lover or if you like to keep it natural with an authentic caramel apple, these drinks may inspire you or totally gross you out.
We definitely think some drinks are winners — how else can you get a hot mulled apple cider without heading to the local apple orchard? Dunkin' Donuts has pulled it off with style. Not to mention the idea of a red apple sangria from Applebee’s, a drink we recently created in our own test kitchen not so long ago. But we just can’t seem to get on board with Red Robin's idea of a beer-flavored milkshake with caramel drizzle. Or the creation of an Italian ice that is flavored like pumpkin cheesecake — we’re scared to ask how that one is even made.
There’s no stopping these chains from expanding on their holiday drink recipe repertoire. We think they may need to put the brakes on when we’re starting to get wind of items like pumpkin white chocolate mochas — but then again, you never know what might put you in the holiday spirit.
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1. Jamba Juice Pumpkin Smash Smoothie
Jamba Juice is all about health and natural ingredients, so intrigued by their Pumpkin Smash smoothie that's loaded with real pumpkin blended with frozen yogurt. Perhaps the smoothie is a great kick-starter and nutritional boost during the somewhat dreary fall months.
2. Steak 'n Shake Caramel Apple Shake
Caramel apples are a staple for the fall season, and we’re loving the idea of this milkshake from Steak 'n Shake. It might not warm you up, but it will definitely get you in a mood to go apple-picking.
3. Chick-fil-A Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake
This milkshake hit stores a little early in the season, but we think it’s close enough to Christmas to put it on the list. There’s nothing as delicious as matching a peppermint and chocolate shake with your fried chicken, right?
4. Rita’s Italian Ice Pumpkin Cheesecake Cream
Italian ice and pumpkin may not seem like a natural combination, but this might actually work because it’s pumpkin cheesecake. They claim the cream has a velvety consistency similar to that of actual pumpkin cheesecake, so it might a good alternative to a warm pumpkin spiced latte on a warmer fall day.
5. Red Robin O’Fest Beer Shake
Red Robin had an interesting idea to ring in Oktoberfest and infuse its flavors into a milkshake. The drink has Sam Adams Oktoberfest, vanilla soft-serve, and caramel. The idea is like a creative take on a root beer float — but with real beer!
6. Applebee’s Red Apple Sangria
Applebee’s has come up with a great idea to harp on the season’s lush apples and use them in sangria. They mix Sutter Home Cabernet with DeKuyper Red Apple liqueur, tropical fruit juices, and lemon-lime soda to create this seasonal cocktail. Doesn’t sound half bad to us!
7. Caribou Coffee's Pumpkin White Chocolate Mocha
We don’t necessarily see the appeal of mixing white chocolate with pumpkin, but it seems to be popping up in more than one place lately. We might give it a try, but beware of all these flavors in one cup — it might be too sweet for traditional mocha lovers.
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