Every winter there are two drinks I look forward to at Starbucks: the Gingerbread Latte and the Caramel Brûlée Latte. Back in our Brooklyn days I could grab these without even going out of my way and only a month ago we had a Starbucks across the street. But now we’ve gone all suburban and lets face it, there’s no way I’m bundling a toddler into the car in 3F weather just so I can drink my favorite coffee. The solution? Homemade!
The last time I created a homemade version of a Starbucks drink was in my graduate school days, when I made a Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe. But I had a lot more time on my hands then, so this time I had to do my tinkering in the wee hours of the morning while it was still dark outside and not a creature was stirring (except our puppy). The Gingerbread Latte was a bit more work up front because you have to make a gingerbread syrup, but there’s enough for many cups of coffee and the syrup can be stored in the fridge for a couple months so the initial time investment is worth it. The Caramel Brûlée Latte was much easier and I’ll be sharing that recipe later this week.
Though there are few merits to getting up before the sun here’s one of them: not only did I have time to tinker with recipes, but I enjoyed my coffee at a leisurely pace (no reheating!) and knew that I’d get an entire slice of cinnamon swirl bundt cake to myself. When the munchkin woke up and started running around the house with his puppy I felt ready to deal with the chaos. It’s amazing what an unhurried cup of coffee and a piece of cake can do for a mama’s soul.
- 2 cups water
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup milk
- 8 oz coffee*
- 3-4 tablespoons gingerbread syrup (according to taste)
- Whipped cream
- Ground cinnamon
- Combine the water, sugar, ginger and cinnamon in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when the syrup has thickened somewhat. Stir in vanilla extract and allow to cool slightly before using.
- Once cooled you can store the syrup in a tupperware or bottle in the fridge for about 2 months. Shake well before using after the syrup has been refrigerated.
- Pour milk into your coffee mug. Stir the syrup and add desired amount to mug. Heat milk-syrup mixture in the microwave until hot, about 1 minute. Pour in brewed coffee (I just stick my coffee mug under my Keurig at this point and hit the 8oz setting). Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Update 12/9/14: Several folks have emailed me asking how thick the gingerbread syrup should get. It doesn't need to be very thick since you are essentially make a flavored simple syrup. You want it to be a thin, but pourable syrup that is not as liquid as plain water. Hope this helps!