The great pumpkin spice experiment

This week, a great scientific experiment was conducted. A group of five students including the writers of this article decided to answer the age-old question: what alcohol mixes best with the Starbucks classic pumpkin spice latte (PSL)?
First and foremost, what were the contenders? Obviously every alcohol couldn’t be tested so we tried to cover all the feasible bases. The final roster was Vodka, Baileys, dark spiced rum, Jameson, Fireball and brandy. We mixed about half a grande PSL with about a shot of each alcohol.
Each test participant wrote down, before tasting any of the cocktails, which they thought would be the best and which would be the worst. The predictions were as follows:

Par. 1: Best: Jameson
Worst: Brandy
Par. 2: Best: Baileys
Worst: Brandy
Par. 3: Best: Baileys
Worst: Vodka
Par. 4: Best: Fireball
Worst: Brandy
Par. 5: Best: Spiced Rum
Worst: Baileys
After tasting all the cocktails each participant ranked the concoctions. The cocktails received points based on their rankings from each participant.
After tallying up the points the results are as follows, starting with the worst and ending with the number one PSL cocktail.
Brandy came in at number six. Only one person didn’t rate this cocktail last. The sweet fruitiness of the brandy clashes way to much with the cream and pumpkin flavoring of the latte.
Second to last was dark spiced rum. The main complaint for the rum was the spices of the PSL and the spices of the rum fight against each other instead of working together.
Taking the title of “best of the worst” is Fireball, a college student staple. Some participants enjoyed this one, even give it a name: Halloristmas (a mix of Halloween and Christmas.)
Others were not as impressed, complaining that the strong cinnamon flavor of the Fireball overpowered the PSL.
The next two PSL cocktails actually tied for second place. The first of these two is vodka.
There wasn’t really anything with the vodka drink however it didn’t actually taste different than a PSL. One participant said of this cocktail “it’s a good way to get surprise drunk.”
Also in second place is the PSL and Baileys combination. While a lot of the participants felt that the creaminess of the Baileys worked really well with the latte, some felt it made the already very sweet drink a little too sugary.
Sitting very comfortably at the number one rated drink was the Jameson PSL cocktail. The whiskey wasn’t such a strong flavor that it clashed with PSL like the brandy and rum did but neither did it get overpowered like the vodka.
Ultimately the writers of this article would not recommend any of the cocktails tested in this experiment.
Even the best drink, the Jameson PSL, was best described as “better than a PSL but not as good as Jameson by itself.” There are so many better drink options. If you want something sweet and creamy try a white russian or a mudslide. If you want something with a strong coffee flavor Irish coffees are perfect.
The Collegian would like to thank everyone who courageously volunteered, putting their tastebuds on the line, to solve what was possibly the most pressing quandary of our generation.

Post Author: Adam Lux