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6 Totally Not Basic Drinks In Better Than A Pumpkin Spice Latte

Photo courtesy of Aaron Cook/AACK Studio
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People love their pumpkin-spiced everything this time of year, but that doesn't mean you're limited to the official drink of the basically-inclined. Rather than heading to Starbucks, opt for one of these seasonally-inspired drinks from around town.AOC's Three Sisters: When it comes to farmers market-driven eating and drinking, Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne are pretty much the goddesses of the scene. So it should come as no surprise that one of the most deliciously elegant cocktails on our list is AOC's Three Sisters made with rich Flor De Cana 7 year rum, pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, orange, sage and pepitas. The fall spices are really balanced when mixed with a kiss of orange and sage. You can check out the rest of their menu here.

The Firefly's California Pumpkin: This Studio City restaurant is providing Valley-dwellers with a spiked PSL alternative made with spiced rum, housemade pumpkin spice syrup, lemon and orange juice, candied ginger, a cinnamon sugar rim and garnished with a slapped sage leaf. Don't worry, it's not the bartender's aggressive tendencies; giving herbs a gentle love tap releases the aromatics much better than bruising them via muddling. More info on their menu can be found on their site.


Photo courtesy of Gracias Madre
Gracias Madre's Witch's Brew: Vegan/Mexican outpost Gracias Madre has whipped up a dark and smokey tequila-based cocktail for their fall menu. It's made with Tequila 123 Anejo, Italian sweet vermouth, housemade pumpkin spice bitters, benedictine and smoke bomb love magic—their version of liquid smoke. The spice factor on this one has much more depth than your average PSL. Consider it the official alternative for all those vegans that were protesting the Starbucks drink's dairy content last year. You can find out more about Gracias Madre here.

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Hinoki & the Bird's Thriller: Kuniko Yagi's temple to Spice Road fare is celebrating the season with a duo of fall-friendly cocktails, including the Thriller, made with rye whiskey, aged rum, cinnamon, sweet vermouth and bitters and the Howl at the Moon, consisting of mezcal, blood orange, lime and yellow chartreuse. They don't contain pumpkin, but you can always get one of the fiercely talented female chef's pumpkin toasts with miso jam and goat cheese if it's squash you're after. You can find our more info on Hinoki & the Bird here.

Salt & Straw's Maple & Walnut Shake: We are admittedly obsessed with pretty much every flavor that the Portland-based creamery has produced for their first L.A. outpost in Larchmont. When initially checking out their menu, the mention of the words "bourbon-barrel aged maple syrup" just about made us lose it. For one of their fall specials, they combine the syrup with their walnut oil ice cream to make a dreamy autumnal, locally-sourced shake. It's definitely one of the best non-boozy PSL alternatives out there. Salt & Straws vitals are listed here.

Cecconi's Pumpkin Margarita: Bar captains Luigi Capasso and Juan Martinez whipped up a fantastic cocktail for their Monster's Ball festivities to go alongside fall dishes like roasted Pumpkin, gorgonzola and speck pizza and bombollini (those are Italian donuts) with Nutella. The cocktail—simply called the Pumpkin Margarita—is made with tequila anejo, which is refreshing considering most pumpkin cocktails around town are rum-based. They mix the agave spirit with pumpkin liqueur, pumpkin puree, and fresh lemon juice to add the necessary acidity. The cocktail is available at their free Halloween party, which you can find out more about here.