10 Coffee Cocktails to Kick Off Happy Hour
Want to give that cup of joe an extra kick? Simply pour on the alcohol.
WATCH: How to Make Irish Coffee
Should the boozy brew jolt you out of sleep or is it meant to jumpstart hitting the sheets? Depending on the drink, it can do both. The concept of coffee cocktails isn’t a new one, as every winter calls for traditional Irish coffee to heat up chilly days, but mixologists are currently discovering new ways to shake things up with spiked java to brighten dreary nights and delight patrons seeking new libations.
“The coffee industry, much like the liquor industry, has gone through revolutionary growth and consumer awareness,” explains cocktail consultant and author Natalie Bovis. “Consumers seek out baristas to carefully craft a soothing, artful cup of coffee and visit bars where mixologists whip up a classic or creative cocktail with quality ingredients. The alcohol-laced coffee drink brings these two worlds together in one cup."
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When carefully shaken or stirred, the perfect coffee cocktail offers a tasty treat for taste buds. A drink can be ice cold, smooth and creamy, or piping hot with a hint of sweetness, following a faint bitter note. Some concoctions highlight rich mocha for a luscious chocolatey flavor or simply enhance a crisp spirit, like vodka or whiskey, providing a powerful kick. Either way, there’s something for everything.
If that’s not stimulating enough, experts say coffee cocktails are difficult to mess up, as long as you keep one important tip in mind.
“When making these toasty concoctions at home, follow the same rules as cooking,” says Bovis. “Choose high-quality base ingredients. Cheap booze and watery coffee are not going to yield the same results as a dark, rich espresso and a beautifully distilled spirit or liqueur.”
READ: 9 Iced Coffee Recipes to Swig
Need an excuse to host a cozy get-together or simply want to unwind after a laborious day at the office? Consider preparing any of these 11 eye-opening drinks tonight:
1 oz. pumpkin spice liqueur
1 oz. premium Irish cream liqueur
1 oz. vanilla vodka
5 oz. hot coffee
Build cocktail in a coffee mug or thick rocks glass. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg.
(Darryl Robinson, Dr. Mixologist)
8 oz. hot brewed coffee
1 ½ oz. Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
1 ½ oz. cherry brandy
2 Tbsps. whipped cream
sugar and cream to taste (optional)
Pour coffee into 12 oz. mug. Add sugar or cream to taste. Stir in liqueur and brandy. Top with whipped cream. Grate nutmeg (3-4 scratches) onto whipped cream. Shave chocolate by scraping a chef’s knife across a chocolate bar. Add a few curls of chocolate and serve immediately.
(Mixologist Heather Arndt Anderson)
The Wake Up Call
2 oz. New Amsterdam Vodka
1 oz. strong coffee
½ oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. milk
3 coffee beans
Add all ingredients, except beans, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake very well. Strain over ice into a rocks glass or up into a martini glass. Garnish with 3 coffee beans.
(Mixologist Jonathan Pogash)
Orange Coffee Liqueur
1 large ripe orange
2 cups white sugar
2 cups raw sugar
3 cups water
1 ½ cups freshly brewed espresso
4 cups vodka
½ cup brandy
1 vanilla bean
Scrub the orange with a vegetable brush so the skin is very clean. Then, zest the orange, avoiding too much pith. Discard (or eat) the rest of the orange. Place all ingredients in a large (one gallon) glass jar with a sealable lid. Let stand one week. Shake well each day. Remove orange peel and let stand alone for another week or two to your taste. Chill and serve.
(Excerpted from “Edible Cocktails: Garden to Glass” by Natalie Bovis, The Liquid Muse)
Iced Irish Coffee
2 oz. Jameson
1 oz. cold pressed coffee
1 oz. Bittermens Coffee Liqueur
.5 oz. simple syrup
Bailey’s-infused whipped cream (heavy cream with Bailey’s folded in)
Add all ingredients to a pint glass with ice. Stir thoroughly for 20 seconds. Top with Bailey’s-infused whipped cream.
(Lead bartender E Hay Apaga of Black Jack in Washington, DC)
Karl the Fog
1 oz. brandy
.5 oz. Benedictine
.5 oz. Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
.5 oz. coffee liqueur
2.5 oz. freshly brewed coffee
1 toasted marshmallow
Add all ingredients in an Irish coffee mug and stir gently. Top with a toasted marshmallow.
(Mixologist Adam Jed of Bluestem Brasserie in San Francisco)
The Rye 10 Speed
1 oz. rye whiskey
.5 oz. white crème de cacao
.5 oz. maraschino liqueur
2-3 oz. cold brewed coffee
Add all ingredients, except whipped cream, coffee, and chocolate, in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain over ice in a Collins glass. Top with coffee, whipped cream, and grated chocolate. Coffee and cream can be added to desired amounts.
(Pedalers Fork in Calabasas, California)
Pitch Dark Coffee Stout
1 ½ oz. coffee liqueur
1 ½ oz. black currant liqueur
1 shot espresso
1 stout draught beer, chilled
Mix the coffee liqueur, black currant liqueur, and espresso together in a spouted measuring cup. Divide between two 10-oz. chilled beer mugs. Then, evenly split the stout between the glasses. Stir gently to combine.
The Chocolate Soldier
1 shot chilled espresso
1 oz. premium chocolate liqueur
1 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. vodka
½ oz. milk
Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Pour drink in a chilled glass. For extra ammo, add another shot of espresso.
(Bar manager Alex Schalchlin of Stinson’s Bistro in Austin, Texas)
2 oz. Ron Zacapa
0.5 oz. Pedro Ximenez Sherry
0.5 oz. white crème de cacao
1 shot chilled espresso
4 dashes chocolate bitters
3 espresso beans
Build cocktail by combining all ingredients into shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously to create a slight foam. Strain into chilled martini glass. Add espresso beans for garnish.
(The Chester in New York City.)