If the shorter days, piles of leaves and harsher winds blowing off Lake Michigan didn’t alert you to the fact that it’s pumpkin spice season, then the arrival of the highly anticipated, autumn-inspired latte probably did. Yet, seeing as this ubiquitous spice mix has grown into a national obsession, you’ll find it in more places than just the coffee shop. In fact, many culinary delights around Milwaukee have been infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cardamom and ginger — from beer to bagels to ice cream.
1) Pumpkin Spice Crumb Cake Doughnut, Holey Moley Doughnuts
Address: 316 N. Milwaukee St.
Hours: M – Su 6:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
This well-loved doughnut spot is known for its adventurous flavors — they often feature Passion Fruit, Mexican Hot Chocolate, and Blood Orange doughnuts, for instance. Luckily, they’ve also taken on the challenge of creating a pumpkin-flavored confectionery this fall. The delicate, melt-in-your-mouth fried bread of the Pumpkin Spice Doughnut is packed full of pumpkin flavor, and then topped with streusel-like spiced crumbs and drizzles of vanilla glaze. If that (somehow) doesn’t sound insanely good to you, then consider ordering their Pumpkin Cream Cheese Doughnut instead.
2) Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream, Purple Door
Address: 205 S. 2nd St.
Hours: M – Th 12 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., F – Sa 12 p.m. – 10:30 p.m., Su 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.
The owners of the popular “artisan ice cream” spot, Purple Door, are well known for their use of locally sourced milk, cream and other ingredients, but perhaps they should also be commended for not being afraid to experiment with a trend. Their version of this seasonal favorite includes not only pumpkin spice, but also actual fresh pumpkin puree. You can check with your local purveyor of Purple Door to see if they carry the flavor, but you’re more likely to get a scoop of it if you go straight to the source in Walker’s Point.
3) Empanadas de Calabaza (Pumpkin Turnovers), Nuevo Mercado El Rey
Address: 916 S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr.
Hours: M – Su 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
This family-owned Hispanic grocery store stocks its shelves with a unique blend of foods from Central America, South America, Mexico and elsewhere, but no trip here is complete without a stop at their bakery department — especially if you’re looking for a unique, flavorful take on pumpkin spice. Stuffed with tender pumpkin and spices and then baked until golden brown, El Rey’s take on this classic Mexican dish makes for an empanada that is deeply flavorful and sweet without becoming saccharine. You could buy just one, but you’ll probably want to take home a dozen.
4) Pumpkin Lager, Lakefront Brewery
Address: 1872 N. Commerce St.
Hours: M – Th 11 – 8 p.m., F 11 – 9 p.m., Sa 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Su 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
While an abundance of six-packs of pumpkin beer grace the aisles of liquor stores everywhere come October, Lakefront Brewery is one of the only places in the world that boasts a pumpkin lager. In addition to the intense dry heat of pumpkin spice, their brewers use real pumpkin in the process, which lends itself to a lager with an almost toffee-like sweetness. Does a nicely poured pint of this make for the perfect chilly fall weather drink? Possibly, which may lead you to wonder — why bother with a whipped cream-laden latte anymore?
5) Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes, Classy Girl Cupcakes
Address: 825 N. Jefferson St.
Hours: M – Th 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., F 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sa 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
For those who enjoy their pumpkin spice best when mixed with sugar and butter, Classy Girl Cupcakes has more than a few freshly baked options. Inside this warm and colorful bakery, you’ll find a display offering pumpkin spice mini cupcakes, truffles, full-size cakes and cheesecake cupcakes (not to be confused with their pumpkin spiced cream cheese-filled cupcakes). But if you want to play it safe, consider just sticking with the more traditional-style Pumpkin Spice Cupcake, topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting and cinnamon sugar.
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October cupcake of the month club flavor: Pumpkin Spiced Latte! 🎃☕️ . A pumpkin spiced cupcake, topped with espresso buttercream, cinnamon sugar & caramel drizzle! Mmm! . Available for membership holders *only*-not for sale to the general public . Available Tuesday & Wednesday this week only. Memberships can be picked up any day of the month, in full. Quantity of cupcakes cannot be split throughout the month. Available at our downtown location only. . Want in on these delicious flavors?! Join our exclusive cupcake club today! Visit our website at http://classygirlcupcakes.com/cupcake-of-the-month-club/ for more details! 🎉🍰 . . . . . #classygirlcupcakes #classygirlcupcake #pumpkinspicemke #pumpkinspice #pumpkinspicelatte #PSL #cupcakeofthemonthclub #cupcakeofthemonth #mke #mkefood #mkeeats #mkecake #mkecupcakes #milwaukee #milwaukeeeats #milwaukeemade #milwaukeefood #milwaukeecakes #goodeatsmke #goodeatswisconsin
6) Pumpkin Seasonal Spirit, Great Lakes Distillery
Address: 616 W. Virginia St.
Hours: M – Th 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., F – Sa 11 a.m. – 12 a.m., Su 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
What happens when you take Lakefront’s Pumpkin Lager and distill it in both new and aged Bourbon barrels? Apparently, the product is Great Lakes Distillery’s new Pumpkin Seasonal Spirit, which can be enjoyed straight up, or in a spicy, warming cocktail. The Distillery’s own bartenders use it to make a very popular Pumpkin Old Fashioned — a great twist on Milwaukee’s favorite stiff drink. Or you can buy a bottle and mix the malty, whiskey-like liquor with cider, which might just beat out the original pumpkin lager in the competition to be the quintessential cool weather drink.
7) Pumpkin Spice Bagels and Shmear (Cream Cheese), Einstein Brothers
Address: Marquette University, 1441 Wisconsin Ave, AMU Bldg.
Hours: M – Th 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., F 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Bagel lovers and college students looking for a quick bite might want to take a break from their regular breakfast or lunch order and instead carb-up with this autumn-inspired duo. The pumpkin spice bagel is reminiscent of pumpkin bread — albeit denser and chewier — and can be ordered with a thick spread of sweet, cinnamon-heavy pumpkin shmear. It’s best enjoyed with a cup of coffee, although here’s a bit of advice: consider avoiding any pumpkin-flavored drinks. As it turns out, it is possible to go overboard with the fall flavors.
8) “Jack-O-Lantern” Custard, Kopp’s
Address: 5373 N. Port Washington Rd. (Multiple locations)
Hours: M – Su 10:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Frozen custard from Kopp’s — made in-store using cream, sugar and eggs — is delicious and addicting enough just as “plain” vanilla or chocolate. Yet, judging from the popularity of their array of daily specialty flavors, this Halloween-inspired flavor is sure to delight. Made from pumpkin custard, marshmallow ribbons and chocolate chunks, it’s available on October 31st only, but maybe (maybe??) if enough customers ask about it, they’ll reprise the role of pumpkin custard throughout the remainder of fall.
9) Year-round Pumpkin Spice Latte, Colectivo Coffee
Address: 1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr. (Multiple locations)
Hours: M – Su 6:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sure, every time October rolls around the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks arouses some sort of mass hysteria, but why limit your cinnamon, nutmeg and clove-spiced steamed milk and espresso intake to just the fall months? Milwaukee’s very own Colectivo churns out the pumpkin pie spices all year long, and — as a bonus — you’ll never have to utter the word “grande” again. Furthermore, you can relish your drink alongside a fresh-baked (a.k.a. not highly processed and shipped) pastry, such as a current fall favorite: their pumpkin pecan scone.