News you can trust since 1817

What is pumpkin spice? Origin of autumn flavour and where to try it - including pumpkin spice latte, gin and chicken wings

With autumn in full swing (and the end of the heatwave), it's time for pumpkin spice season.

Published: September 12, 2023

It's a flavour that has become synonymous with autumn, but where and when did pumpkin spice originate?

From sweet coffees and biscuits to gin and chicken wings, there's many ways to enjoy pumpkin spice. Here we take a look at when the flavour first went mainstream, and the different ways you can try it this autumn.

Origins of pumpkin spice

Pumpkin spice is a combination of seasonal spices, usually ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, mixed with a pumpkin syrup or puree.

These spices date back to the 18th century and, as mixed spice, were first seen in British cook books around 1795.

The more recent trend for pumpkin spice comes from America and is tied to the Thanksgiving tradition of making pumpkin pie, which uses these spices and, of course, pumpkin.

Starbucks popularised the flavour with the launch of their pumpkin spice latte in the USA and Canada 20 years ago. Yes, 20 years ago.

Pumpkin Spice
Starbucks has made the pumpkin spice latte since 2003 Picture: Shutterstock

The coffee is made using a combination of Starbucks Espresso Roast, pumpkin spice flavoured sauce and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

Pumpkin Spice lattes really took off in the UK a few years after the US launch and, since 2015, the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice blend has included real pumpkin.

Winners of The Gin Cooperative Awards 2023 revealed - including Scotland's smallest distillery

Where to try pumpkin spice

pumpkin spice pumpkin pie
Picture: Eteaket

Most high street coffee chains (excluding Costa) have their own version of the pumpkin spice latte, due to how popular the drink has become.

You can now also get iced pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice frappes, pumpkin spice cold brew and hot chocolate versions of the drink.

Some independent coffee shops also make their own pumpkin spice lattes, so check out your favourite spots to see if they're offering the trendy coffee.

The flavour is also available in a huge number of other food and drink items, usually sold from September until November.

One of the world's largest whisky collections may be moving to Fife

In 2021, Pickering's launched a pumpkin spice latte gin, which was a sell out success and currently available via their website.

Last year, Bloc in Glasgow were serving up pumpkin spice chicken wings - a new savoury take on the seasonal spice.

Also in Glasgow, Tantrum Doughnuts usually have a pumpkin spice sweet treat as part of their seasonal range, and Bird and Blend have a pumpkin spice tea.

Monin and Simple Syrup both have a pumpkin spice syrup, ideal for making your own coffee or drinks at home.

Plans approved for Dál Riata Distillery in Campbeltown

If you'd rather make your own pumpkin spice latte, biscuits, cocktails or pumpkin pie at home, we've got you covered.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

Let us know what you think


Copyright ©2023 National World Publishing Ltd
Cookie SettingsTerms and ConditionsPrivacy Policy
crossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram