From Irish Coffee to the very trendy Espresso Martini, coffee-based cocktails are always popular.
National Coffee Day is celebrated on September 29 each year, and International Coffee Day is celebrated just a few days later on October 1.
What does all this tell us? There’s a lot of people out there very excited about their daily coffee. And while a morning latte is always very much appreciated, there’s a lot of exciting coffee-centric cocktails to enjoy as well.
The Queen’s Son
Found at Holiday Bar in Atlanta, this cocktail is a twist on the classic espresso martini. It’s made with Mercer + Prince, espresso, Cold Brew, house espresso syrup. “During one of our chess night activations, we came up with The Queen’s Son while looking for an elevated twist on an Espresso martini. It worked beautifully with the vanilla notes that you get in Mercer + Prince whisky and the malty, chocolate notes from our house blend espresso. It’s now become a main stay at the bar from just being featured during chess night” said Camaran Burke, General Manager Image and photo credit: Attached, credit: Mercer + Prince.
In Boston at Sonsie, this cocktail is made with Los Magos Sotol, Caffe Moka, Fantasia, and chilled espresso.
“Like many cocktails, the espresso martini has a somewhat unknown origin story and exactly who to give credit to remains a mystery. However, a few brave souls have alleged that Sonsie (on Newbury Street in Boston) is the birthplace of this modern classic. Although highly unlikely, I decided to create a tribute to that bold claim anyway and began to brainstorm about how I could reinvent an espresso cocktail. As someone who drinks their coffee black, I didn’t want something overly sweetened with artificial vanilla, a Dunkin’ iced coffee served in a coupe, I wanted something as bold as espresso itself. I opted to make this drink with Los Magos Sotol, a spirit that’s rapidly gaining popularity in the US. It’s a savory, gripping spirit with notes of spices and wood that stand up to the assertive flavors of espresso. In order to balance out those intense flavors I did equal parts of two different liqueurs from Varnelli; Caffe Moka and Fantasia, which brings sweetness and depth of flavor to the drink. It is served in a Champagne flute with the oil from an expressed lemon peel around the lip of the glass. I decided to use a flute so that when you bring it to your lips, those bright lemon notes are more concentrated around your nose, creating a little dance of sweet, bitter and citrus with every sip. Enjoy,” said Al Brown, Corporate Mixologist, Lyons Group Entertainment.
At The Parlour at InterContinental New York Barclay, Brett’s Brew includes coffee infused Tito’s, vanilla extract and Mr. Black meringue powder.
“My love for cold brew coffee is what inspired the drink. I have been steeping cold brew at home for years and thought to myself how would this work with vodka? After some experimenting with different vodkas and sizes of the coffee grinds and length of steep I found the perfect combination. I chose Mr. Black to help enhance the flavor without making the drink too sweet. I added a touch of vanilla extract because it reminded me of the first bar I worked at. We used Vanilla Vodka in the drink, and it just brought back great memories. The addition of the mirage powder gives the cocktail a great froth and a lovely mouth feel,” said Brett Bukofser, Senior Food & Beverage Manager.
At Enswell in Philadelphia, this cocktail is made with Whistle & Cuss espresso, Moscatel Cask Whiskey, house orgeat, and instant coffee cream.
The Haymaker celebrates Enswell’s coffee-forward inception (as a member of the Rival Bros. family), and its current full-blown cocktail bar status. “The Haymaker celebrates the combination of coffee and spirit by offering a whiskey-forward cocktail featuring New Liberty Moscatel Cask Bourbon, New Liberty Coffee Liquor, housemade orgeat and a shot of our Whistle & Cuss espresso. It’s served on the rocks and topped with vanilla coffee cream,” says co-founder Jonathan Adams.
La Luz Espresso
At Bar Marilou in New Orleans, this reimagining of the espresso martini has a flavor profile akin to Mexican spiced chocolate thanks to the mole bitters, chile tincture, and cinnamon. Reposado tequila stands up to the coffee’s boldness. Says Lindsey Hawes, lead bartender: “I’m looking for the coffee to be one or two notes in the song of a good cocktail. The espresso is the main focus but lets the spice and sweetness really shine through.”
Alice’s Espresso Martini
At Alice Restaurant in New York City, Alice’s Espresso Martini is prepared by combining Crystal Head Vodka and freshly brewed coffee sourced from premium espresso beans.
“The ingredients of our Espresso Martini are carefully blended over ice and vigorously shaken to reach the optimal level of chilliness and froth. To enhance both aroma and visual appeal, three coffee beans are elegantly added, providing a signature touch. This cocktail can only be described as an embodiment of New York and Italy in a glass,” said Waél Deek, Experience & Bar Director for Alice Restaurant.
At Husk Nashville, bar manager Adam Morgan makes Strange Brew with cold brew amaro, vanilla, and nutmeg.
“No bar or restaurant is safe from the espresso martini craze. This allows us to do it in a style that’s reflective of Husk’s ethos, while being fun and approachable for everyone. We source our coffee from a wonderful local roaster, Crema. The complex, fruity, and sometimes acid notes, bring an extra layer of character to the cocktail. It’s rich, bold, and semi-bitter from leaning on the amaro but still hits all the right notes to be a crowd-pleaser,” said Adam Morgan.
At Porch & Swing in Irvine, California, Café Negroni offers a unique riff on its classic namesake. Bittersweet and boozy, this coffee cocktail is crafted with smoky mezcal, smooth gin, coffee-infused sweet vermouth, and Meletti, an Italian bitter liqueur.
The cocktail is created by Andrew Parish, the proprietor of Porch & Swing, and a master mixologist with more than 15 years of experience. “This drink maintains the refreshingly bitter simplicity of a classic Negroni while adding a subtle smokey element. The smoky allure of mezcal and coffee-infused vermouth add an unexpected layer of aromas and flavors that become evident the moment you lift the glass to your lips,” said Andrew Parish.
Ol’ Fashioned Joe
At The Country Club in Costa Mesa, the Ol’ Fashioned Joe is a celebration of two classics — a cup of coffee and an Old Fashioned.
This stirred cocktails combines Kentucky Walker Bourbon, Liquor 43, Demerara, and coffee bitters finished with a fine espresso mist. “Coffee bitters and espresso mist offer the aroma of a fresh-brewed coffee, but the first sip delivers deeper complexities. The bourbon brings notes of charred oak and Licor 43 lends its delicate vanilla sweetness, while the rich caramel undertones of Demerara tie each element together,” said Beverage Director, Jim Valenzuela.
Salted Honey Iced Macchiato
The Salted Honey Iced Macchiato can be found at Casa Don Alfonso, an Italian restaurant located within The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis opened by renowned Italian restaurateur Mario Iaccarino.
This treat features a double shot espresso, orange-infused honey syrup, salt, honey, and oat milk, making it a dairy-free dream fit for any season. “Our espresso menu showcases coffee beans roasted in Southern Italy that house an incomparable taste,” said Isaias Bautista Parra, General Manager of Casa Don Alfonso. “The melody of citrus, orange flavor and sweet honey elevates the flavor of these beans, and the hint of salt and creaminess of oat milk ties this drink together.”
Bruce’s Bull$%!t Drink
At Junk Drawer Coffee in New Orleans, Richard’s sparkling Rainwater, chocolatey ‘spro, light cardamom syrup, and a splash of cream to keep us honest “We BS’d our way to a delicious, crisp coffee drink to keep us cool during the NOLA summer,” said Bruce Powers, barista at Junk Drawer.
Midnight in Paris
At Side Bar in San Diego, Midnight in Paris is like an iced coffee but made for the evening, with a fresh, spiked twist. It is made with Licor 43, espresso, cinnamon and garnished with coffee beans and an orange peel over a large Side Bar stamped ice cube.
“As we adjust to the fall season and the weather gets a little colder and gloomier, it takes a little more liquid courage to jumpstart the night, making the Midnight and Paris the perfect pick me up to keep you dancing all night long. This espresso martini-esque cocktail is silky smooth, subtly sweet and highly delicious,” said Julio Martinez, Lead Bartender at Side Bar.
Red Right Hand
At Chez Zou in New York City, this cocktail is made with dark rum, coffee, Campari, and Kashmiri chili.
“The Red Right hand is a sleeper hit on the Chez Zou menu. Based on the modern classic the Right Hand by Mickey McIlroy from the since closed Milk and Honey bar, our version emphasizes the natural, dark molasses flavors of black strap rum with Mr Black coffee liqueur and adds an enticing spice note with a few dashes of our house chili tincture,” said Joey Smith, Bar Director.