If you’re looking for a cocktail that packs a bit of a punch, add a shot of cold brew coffee or espresso into the mix.
Coffee and alcohol. These two vices sit at either end of the drinking spectrum. At least, they sit at either end of the day. A bracing, energizing cup of coffee to start the day, and a nip of something stronger to end it. The origins of the relationship between coffee and alcohol are tough to pin down. However, the first real concrete examples of coffee and booze cooperating start to appear around the early 20th century.
Made in Italy
One of the earliest examples of coffee cocktails would be the Caffé Corretto of Italy – a shot of espresso and a splash of grappa or sambuca. Simple to make, certainly. However, the complexity offered by the combination is tremendous. Who hasn’t felt the need for their pick-me-up to have just a little more heft? But, in North America, coffee cocktails often seemed to substitute coffee liqueurs for the real thing, giving us drinks like Black (and White) Russians and Mudslides. To be fair, we have the various national coffees (Irish, Spanish, etc.) that do use espresso, but these have often been relegated to dessert-only cocktail lists.
A Match Made in Heaven
Today, coffee and alcohol are getting to know each other all over again. As coffee culture has built up the same following as craft beer and fine wines, it only makes sense that it’s become as important an element in drinking culture. In cocktail bars all over the world, bartenders are reintroducing coffee to alcohol. Take, for example, events like Double Buzz at New York’s Amor y Amargo – a weekly crossover effort between barista Natalie Czech and bartender Sother Teague – that combines artisanal coffee with the stirred, bitter cocktails Teague’s bar is known for.
Locally, bartenders are working coffee in all manner of expressions, from espresso to cold brew. Edmonton’s cocktail bars are also enjoying a wealth of artisanal coffee liqueurs from brands like Lucano and Wayward Distillation House. Where before the best you could hope for was a coffee and Baileys, now you can sip on something a bit more intricate (not that there’s anything wrong with coffee and Baileys). Try, for example, the included recipe for one of the city’s best coffee cocktails – the Brewvardier, courtesy of the team at Three Boars. The addition of cold brew coffee extract creates a new twist on the class Boulevardier cocktail, and proves that sometimes a shot of caffeine is much needed – even in the evening.
Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass. Stir to dilute and strain into an ice-filled coffee cup. Garnish with a twist of orange zest.
Cold Brew Coffee Extract
In a large container, combine 0.5 lbs. of coffee (ground finest grind) with 0.65 L of room temperature water. Stir to combine and set in a refrigerator for 48 hours. Strain through a cheesecloth, then bottle. Will last for several weeks.
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