Beans Meet Booze: Do This At Home

December 02, 2010

Just in time for holiday entertaining –here are three coffee-alcoholic beverages that are quite impressive. If you like your coffee and your alcohol, the combination of both together can be extra enjoyable. In a New York Times video, former restaurant critic Frank Bruni talks with a bartender at a SoHo bar who offers five coffee mixed drinks that go way beyond Irish coffee. Three of the iced offerings are demonstrated in the video.

One example is a drink called “Double Punch”. It combines chilled coffee, Pisco (brandy made from grapes), Marasco liqueur, grapefruit and ice. The “World’s Best Dad” features apple brandy, Carpano Antico (Vermouth), demerara sugar and coffee. Bruni’s favorite was the newest, nameless concoction of tequila, cointreau (orange) liqueur, orange bitters, refined sugar syrup, gynormous ice (big cube) and orange garnish (a squeeze of fresh orange). This earned the descriptive compliment: “like a Marguarita got mugged at Starbucks”. There must have been chilled coffee in this somewhere, but the bartender neglected to mention it.

With all of the talk about caffeinated high-energy drinks, which of course do not contain coffee, it’s timely to consider really cool coffee-alcoholic drinks with a little less sugar, a little less caffeine, no chemicals, but a lot more good taste. You don’t have the convenience the readymade-in-the-can offers, but you can get creative and find your own favorites.

If all these liqueurs seem a little daunting, you can experiment with more common alcoholic drinks and coffee. Besides the tried and true Irish Cream, even adding something like peppermint schnapps to hot coffee can make a very pleasant cup. Though it might seem redundant, coffee liqueurs not surprisingly mix well with coffee. Just about any liqueur will do - try almond or chocolate. For a dramatic drink, a Café Nero involves rimming a glass with sugar, coating the inside of the glass with more sugar and lime juice; fill the glass halfway with Galliano and carefully light it. Twirl the glass slowly to melt and caramelize the sugar, then fill with coffee. Maybe this is one you shouldn’t try at home alone, unless you live near the fire department or at least keep a fire extinguisher handy. But it sure would be impressive once you practice enough to pull it off.

Will these drinks give you high energy? The tension between the caffeine upper and the alcoholic downer doesn’t exactly become neutralized, but everyone is different in how they react to these two
mind-altering substances. Moderation is always a good practice.

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