Drew Tries Stuff: Pumpkin Spice Everything
Earlier this season, some of you might recall I mentioned never being big on the Pumpkin Spice Latte since it competed with too many other festive flavors I was a big fan of, namely peppermint and eggnog. After my experience with Bones Coffee Jacked O’ Lantern though, I had to wonder if I’d been missing out by sticking to flavors themed more to winter than fall. In light of that, and because this fit the bill really well for October-based content, I decided to expand my culinary horizons and try a bunch of Pumpkin Spice flavored stuff, so that you won’t have to.
Pumpkin Spice Twinkie
May as well begin at the item that inspired this blog. There I was, drunkenly stumbling between the shelves of the grocery store, when suddenly it appeared. Twinkies flavored around pumpkins and spice. At the sight of that package, I immediately knew I was seeing a makeshift laxative. Also, that I could definitely make a blog out of such an abomination.
Honestly though, this one was surprisingly okay. Not great, but I don’t love Twinkies in the first place, so it would be weirder if this one did elevate past the original. The pumpkin and spice are both drowned out pretty heavily by the sponge cake, although the little that gets through adds an interesting dimension to the normally one-note flavors. While I’m not sure I can say I like this better than a normal Twinkie, meager a bar as that is to hit, it certainly isn’t worse. I’d put this one as a lateral transition, something you’ll definitely dig if you like Twinkies and pumpkin spice.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Witches running from a cauldron-moonshine explosion.
Captain Morgan Jack-O-Blast
That’s right, it’s Pumpkin Spice flavored hooch. If you didn’t see that coming, then I guess welcome to the first blog you’ve read on this site. Thanks for checking it out, hope you enjoy the backlog. This was an unexpected find during a workshop trip, when perusing a local liquor store. A chance to drink and have it count as work? Yes please!
Here, things got a little more complicated. On its own, the flavor truly surprisingly works. If you enjoy a deeply spiced rum like Kraken, it isn’t too far off, except with more fall-based spices making up the overall profile. Throw it on some ice, do low-key sipping, and I think you’ll have an enjoyable little drink. But okay, we’re not all in college anymore, some of us need a mixer for long-term boozing. No shame in that.
This is the tricky part, as you need something that pairs both with pumpkin and rum, cutting a lot of the usual options like coke. Tried it, not good, would not recommend. The best option, in my admittedly limited run of experience, was something cream based. I know it will seem like I’m playing favorites, but you shouldn’t be surprised that a champion keeps winning: Rumchata works great with this. The flavors complement one another perfectly, and it all sings as one united drink. Doubt me if you want, just don’t be shocked when you finally try it and concede defeat.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Trick-or-Treaters filling an empty “Please take one bowl” with dogshit.
Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes
I’ll be honest with you all, I usually do three of these per blog, and I already had my three when one day I was walking through the aisles, unaware of the tiger waiting to spring. Looks like Tony the Tiger has gone basic, because Frosted Flakes smashed together with a PSL. It wasn’t planned, but you don’t stumble on a find like that and turn up your nose. The gods of chance take note of those who refuse their bounties. So into the cart it went, my X factor that I truly had no idea what to expect from.
As it turns out, I should have expected normal Frosted Flakes. Seriously. If this one weren’t so recognizable as a brand and interesting as a concept, I’d have left it out on criteria alone. Hand to god, if you put this and a regular bowl of Frosted Flakes in front of me, I might be able to tell the difference. Without that direct comparison? Forget it, they bleed so close together its crazy. You might get a dash of extra cinnamon off these, but if you’ve tried the Cinnamon Frosted Flakes it’s a huge step down. Either go for the originals, or grab the actual cinnamon ones, because they’re the better version of this.
Rating: 1 out of 5 Ghosts trapped haunting a chili restaurant’s bathroom.
Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Roll
Let’s clear something up real quick. The “spice” in Pumpkin Spice is most likely meant to replicate the spice arrangement of a classic pumpkin pie, since that’s what the flavor is mimicking. That means when done with care, it would include things like allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger, in addition to the obvious cinnamon. But when corporations try to condense a concept down into the barest form, corners are cut, so when you see “Pumpkin Spice” slapped casually on a package, what you’re really seeing is most likely “Pumpkin Cinnamon” instead. Knowing that, I opted for cinnamon rolls, since that seemed like a natural marriage. Cinnamon is a key part of both, ideally the flavors would cross over well.
Here’s the thing, this one is something of a split decision. Some of my friends loved it. Some were not fans. Nobody outright thought it was disgusting though, the flavors do have harmony. It’s not about who likes pumpkin either, we had PSL lovers on both sides of the divide. With that in mind, I can’t say I recommend it whole-heartedly, despite being my favorite of the blog, because apparently it is one of those foods that you either dig or you don’t. If you’re a big cinnamon fan, that might be the tipping point, since these things had a shitload of cinnamon in them. Maybe buy a batch for just you before busting them out at a party.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Vampires biting right into the sides of a keg.