Delicious, healthy fall mocktail made with real pumpkin puree, orange zest, cozy vanilla and therapeutic saffron spice to soothe seasonal depression. You’ll love this refined sugar free, vegan fall mocktail recipe for your healthy Halloween party or a mood-boosting drink for chilly weather!
Pumpkin season is here, which means that it’s also creeping into SAD (seasonal affective disorder) season. If you’ve been in our Healthier Together community for a while, you might remember that seasonal depression really affects me–especially when we lived in London and the PNW. One of the ways I combat it is by designing delicious, healthy recipes with ingredients that are proven by science to keep my gut happy and uplift my mood. Also, these 16 ways to prevent SAD are always in my tool-box!
If, like me, you’re nervous abut the days getting colder and shorter, you’re going to love this Pumpkin Orange Saffron Fall Mocktail. It features one of the most under-rated, yet science-backed mood-boosting ingredients: saffron. It’s also the latest addition to my functional mocktail series, where we not only take out the alcohol, but we add in extra health benefits for our digestion and blood sugar–and in this case, our moods! If you’re new to not drinking alcohol or are sober curious, I highly recommend listening to my latest advice episode of the Healthier Together Podcast with Olivia Noceda, where we both share our sober curious journeys and best tips!!
What makes saffron therapeutic?
The star of the show in our saffron maple simple syrup is of course saffron, which is an ancient spice that’s been used for centuries: by the Egyptians for gastrointestinal ailments, the Romans to heal wounds, and in Ayurvedic medicine for everything from colds to insomnia.
There are a ton of impressive studies on saffron, including a six-week clinical trial that showed it was significantly more effective than placebos at treating symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression, which makes it perfect for curing our fall and winter SAD. It’s also proven to help with PMS symptoms, improve memory, and have an anti-diabetic affect to lower blood sugar levels.
You can find saffron at most grocery stores—it’s a bit pricey (for good reason). You only need a pinch to add a ton of flavor and therapeutic properties, so the jar lasts forever and you can make other saffron recipes like my chicken paella with saffron rice for a high protein meal prep lunch next week!
Ingredients in pumpkin fall mocktail
Trust me when I say you won’t even miss the alcohol in this mocktail. We’ve got real pumpkin puree, hand-squeezed orange juice, cozy spice, and a hint of maple syrup to create the perfect fall mocktail that’s worthy of being served at your next holiday party or with a cozy dinner.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Saffron threads: for the therapeutic benefits, aromatic flavors, and that gorgeous golden color. This is key to our homemade saffron maple simple syrup.
- Real maple syrup: we naturally sweeten this fall mocktail with real maple syrup as the sweetener for our homemade simple syrup, which adds the perfect fall flavors.
- Pumpkin puree: organic canned pumpkin makes this fall mocktail easy to make and a great way to use up any leftover canned pumpkin.
- Real vanilla extract: adds a hint of coziness and brings out the sweet flavor of the maple syrup.
- Organic orange: we’ll use the juice from the orange as the sweet liquid base and the peels to flavor the inside of the glasses.
- Aquafaba: this is the liquid from a can of chickpeas, and to make this recipe you’ll just need one can of chickpeas! I like Eden Foods.
- Ceylon cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon is a type of cinnamon that’s packed with antioxidants and proven to stabilize blood sugar. I highly recommend investing in it (I like Simply Organics), but regular cinnamon also works!
Can I add alcohol?
You can easily turn this pumpkin mocktail into a delicious fall cocktail with digestive benefits. Just follow the instructions up until the aquafaba foam, and then add 1.5 ounces of vodka to the mocktail mixture. Then, pour in the aquafaba and shake to mix it all up and make it foamy!
The best fall mocktail in 2 easy steps
This Pumpkin Orange Saffron Fall Mocktail comes together in two easy steps. This recipe serves two, so if you’re making it for a holiday party, double up on the batches!
- Make the simple syrup. Like making tea, you’ll boil water and pour it into a mason jar or mug, add saffron, cover it and let it steep for 15 minutes. Then strain out the saffron and stir in the maple syrup. Pour this into a jar with a lid (I like to use a quart-sized mason jar which is big enough for the whole cocktail) and transfer to the freezer to quick chill. You can do this part days in advance!
- Make the mocktail: Meanwhile, use a veggie peeler to shave off 2 thick pieces of orange peel. Juice the orange, removing seeds. Stir the orange juice, pumpkin, and vanilla into the chilled saffron mixture. Add aquafaba and shake until foamy. Rub the orange peels on the inside of the drinking glasses (use it to garnish at the end). Divide the mocktail between two glasses (pour a little into one, then a little into the other, going back and forth so foam distributes evenly). Top with a pinch of cinnamon. Serve and enjoy!
More healthy drinks for fallPrint
- 1.5 cups of water
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 organic orange, scrubbed clean
- 2 tablespoons aquafaba (the liquid from a strained canned of chickpeas)
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 1.5 ounces of vodka, optional
- Make the saffron maple simple syrup. Like making tea, you’ll boil water and pour it into a mason jar or mug, add saffron, cover it and let it steep for 15 minutes. Then strain out the saffron and stir in the maple syrup. Pour this into a jar with a lid and transfer to the freezer to quick chill.
- Meanwhile, use a veggie peeler to shave off 2 thick pieces of orange peel. Juice the orange, removing seeds. Stir the orange juice, pumpkin, and vanilla into the chilled saffron mixture. Add vodka (if using) and aquafaba and shake until foamy. Rub the orange peels on the inside of the drinking glasses (use it to garnish at the end). Divide the mocktail between the two glasses by pouring a little into one, then a little into the other, going back and forth so foam distributes evenly). Top with a pinch of cinnamon and garnish with the orange peel. Serve and enjoy!
- Serving Size: 2