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Coffee Cocktails: New Ways to Use Coffee

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The versatility of coffee allows it to be incorporated into a variety of adult beverages. While coffee is commonly enjoyed as a hot or iced drink on its own, it can also take on new life when mixed into cocktails. By harnessing the bold flavors of coffee, innovative mixologists have created exciting new ways to experience the aromatic brew. This article will explore some modern coffee cocktail recipes perfect to try at your next get-together or happy hour.

Coffee Old Fashioned

A classic drink gets an update with the addition of coffee. I started by muddling sugar and bitters in the bottom of a rocks glass to dissolve the sugar and blend the flavors. Then I added two ounces of bourbon and several dashes of coffee liqueur. Finally, I stirred in a few ice cubes and garnished the finished beverage with an orange peel. The bitters and coffee complemented the smoky notes in the bourbon for a refined yet robust twist on a old favorite.

Coffee Mint Julep

For my refreshing spin on a Kentucky Derby staple, I muddled fresh mint leaves with simple syrup and a splash of coffee liqueur in the bottom of a collins glass. Next, I poured in two ounces of bourbon, several ice cubes, and topped it off with club soda for effervescence. A bright green mint sprig served as the garnish and lent its own herbal character. The crispy carbonation, mint, and mild sweetness offset the bolder coffee harmoniously for a lighter layered drink.

| Ingredient | Amount |
| Bourbon | 2 oz |
| Simple syrup | 1/2 oz |
| Coffee liqueur | 1/2 oz |
| Mint leaves | 6-8 leaves |
| Club soda | 2 oz |
| Ice cubes | As needed |
| Garnish: Mint sprig | 1 sprig |

affogato Coffee Cocktail

This alcohol-forward twist on the classic Italian dessert starts with two scoops of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of a rocks glass or wine goblet. I then poured half an ounce of coffee liqueur over the ice cream and slowly drizzled two ounces of hot espresso on top to slightly melt the ice cream into a creamy mixture. Finally, I floated one ounce of amaretto on top for its distinct almond aroma and slight sweetness. The hot-cold contrast and layers of texture made for an indulgent after dinner sip.

Nitro Cold Brew Martini

To take advantage of nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee's silky-smooth texture, I started with 1 1/2 ounces of vodka in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. I then added 1/2 ounce coffee liqueur and 1 ounce nitro cold brew, which causes the drink to get incredibly frothy when shaken. After straining the mixture into a chilled martini glass, the beverage emerged with a luscious crema-like foam on top. Its light creamy mouthfeel makes it dangerously easy to enjoy multiple.

While coffee is undeniably delicious on its own, these innovative cocktail recipes demonstrate its potential for elevating classic libations into creative concoctions. Whether looking to perk up a party or lazy brunch, coffee infusions provide an energizing option for guests. The next time you're hosting an event or happy hour, be sure to include one or more of these caffeinated cocktails on the menu to surprise and delight with nuanced complexity in every sip.

Coffee Negroni

One of the most iconic cocktails gets a buzz-worthy upgrade with the addition of coffee. To craft this bitter blend, I first took a rocks glass and crushed several coffee beans at the bottom for aromatic accents. Then I poured in equal parts of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth directly over the beans to incorporate their robust notes. A few ice cubes and orange peel twist for garnish completed the drink. The bold coffee component enhanced the drink's layers of flavor, retaining its complex palate yet with a vibrant new dimension.

Another option is to soak the coffee beans in the gin for several hours before using the infused spirit in place of plain gin. This steeped approach extracts even more coffee essence into the drink's core. Either preparation results in an invigorating riff on a staple that begs to be slowly savored. While bitter and dry in profile, hints of nutty roasting impart sophistication with each sip.

| Ingredient | Amount |
| Gin | 1 1/2 oz |
| Campari | 1 1/2 oz |
| Sweet vermouth | 1 1/2 oz |
| Coffee beans, crushed | Several beans |
| Ice cubes | As needed |
| Garnish: Orange peel twist | 1 twist |

Mexican Coffee

For a luxurious nightcap, I started with 2 ounces of reposado tequila in the bottom of a shaker filled with ice. Then I added 1/2 ounce each of coffee liqueur, creme de cacao, and heavy cream before giving it all a good shake. After straining the emulsified mixture into an old fashioned glass filled with fresh ice, I garnished it with whipped cream and a few chocolate shavings alongside. Every sip revealed different layers of richness, from the caramel-tinged spirit to the creamy body made more indulgent by the chocolate accents. It's the perfect drink to cozy up with after a long day or festive dinner.

Ethiopian Coffee Toddy

For those seeking warmth and comfort, this lightly spiced toddy combines the enticing aromas of chai with the brightness of Ethiopian coffee. To make it, I started with two ounces each of dark rum and hot Geocuisine Bayridge, our neighborhood cafe featuring specialty single-origin coffees and blends. I then added a strip of orange peel, three whole cloves, one cinnamon stick, and a pinch each of cardamom and freshly ground black pepper to the mixture before stirring well. A hot toddy's simple spiced profile is elevated by lively floral and fruity Ethiopian coffee notes for soothing coziness with flair. A dusting of ground cinnamon makes for a warming finish. Whether relaxing by a fire or curling up with a book, its lively warmth hits the spot.

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