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trader joe's pumpkin spice liqueur
About trader joe's pumpkin spice liqueur
If you have a Trader Joe’s supermarket in your area, you know that their specialty and seasonal products often have a bit of a cult following. I must admit, I’m often guilty of popping cutesy Trader Joe’s brand products into my cart “just to try it”. On other days, I have better self-control – which is why I actually haven’t tried Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Cream Liqueur until now, despite it being available each Fall for a few years now.
This liqueur is produced and bottled by Universal Brands, though the exact production and ingredient details aren’t made public. The bottle does state that there is caramel color added. Whether or not this liqueur contains natural flavors is not specified, although I suspect it does not. If it did, they would probably make a point to advertise it that way. This Pumpkin Spice liqueur has pumpkin flavor as well as caramel and seasonal spices.
❖ ABV: 12.5%
❖ Distillery: Universal Brands
❖ Aging: N/A
❖ Price Point: Low priced
Here are the tasting notes of this Pumpkin Spice Cream Liqueur according to the bottle and the Trader Joe’s website.
My Tasting notes
As I began to sniff out the nose notes of this liqueur, I found that it was very sweet. There was a creamy note that felt oddly familiar – almost like vanilla pudding. After several whiffs, the pudding note remained prominent. I couldn’t pick out any of the spice notes through my nose.
I took my first sip, and it felt very complex. There was a sweetness in the front that was part vanilla and part vague autumn flavors. There was a bit of a vodka aftertaste, though this was not overly strong. By my third sip, I began to taste some of the spices, which were surprisingly subtle. The flavors were blended in such a way that I couldn’t pick out any of the individual spices. In this sense, the liqueur was beautifully smooth. I eventually found a bit of pumpkin flavor in the finish, and found it to be delightfully smooth and subtle.
Overall, my straight tasting was pretty enjoyable, although there was a bit too much vodka flavor for my taste.
For my cocktail, I originally wanted to invent my own drink recipe. But in the end, I kept thinking about simply putting this liqueur to the test with a coffee or espresso. After all, Trader Joe’s suggests putting it in our “after-dinner” cup of coffee right on the description. For some reason, this sounded so good that I couldn’t get it out of my head! My very own spiked PSL!
- 2 oz pumpkin spice cream liqueur
- 1 shot freshly brewed espresso
- steamed milk to taste
- garnish: pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon stick
- Brew 1 shot of fresh espresso, and pour into a mug or heat-resistant cup.
- Add in the Pumpkin Spice Cream Liqueur.
- Steam desired amount of milk, and pour into the center of the spiked espresso.
- Garnish with pumpkin pie spice and/or a cinnamon stick if desired.
Drinking this espresso cocktail was very enjoyable, although the pumpkin spice flavors were much more subtle than I had anticipated when planning my recipe. For a true spiked PSL, I would probably need to add pumpkin spice syrup in addition to the liqueur to really create that classic flavor. That said – I did feel that the liqueur added a wonderful dimension to the coffee flavors. For a regular spiked coffee, I think I would prefer Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Cream Liqueur over other choices such as whiskey or whiskey-based Irish Creams. It was very smooth, to the point that my cocktail tasted just like a regular latte. I coudn’t taste the vodka flavor at all. Even though the spices were very subtle, they seemed to enhance the flavor of the coffee and make it taste more expensive.
Overall, I think this Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Cream Liqueur is a fun option that serves it’s intended purpose. Though it’s not at the top of my list of favorite liqueurs, I think it’s actually pretty nice for an inexpensive novelty spirit. I can definitely see myself picking up another bottle of this next year and bringing it to Thanksgiving for everyone to enjoy in their coffee.
That said, I would be quicker to recommend this liqueur if it had a bit more pumpkin spice flavor. I was hoping the flavor would go a bit farther in coffee and cocktails. The subtle spice was enjoyable, but not exactly what we’ve come to expect in a market saturated with pumpkin spice everything.
I think the low price of this liqueur is very fair, and reflects the drawbacks that I discussed above. At the end of the day, Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Cream Liqueur is worth picking up if you’re looking for something cute and festive that makes a great spiked coffee.
As always, drink responsibly.
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