Coffee Inspired Cocktails

It’s a match made in beverage heaven: When coffee meets cocktail.

Cocktails aren’t just vodka martinis and gin and tonics anymore; nor is coffee just a variation of cream and sugar. Both get creatively stocked with everything from espresso to the coffee-flavored boozy creams that spruce up any after-dinner digestif—or early-morning belly warmer. Below are just a few creative coffee cocktails out there to inspire your inner bartender or barista.

Coffee Vodka Cocktail

Look, it’s not always the most obvious idea to pair a clear liquor like vodka with the bold, earthy, and sometimes creamy taste of coffee. But, lo and behold, vodka mixed with just the right ingredients—and right amount of them—welcomes some of the finest coffee-cocktail-taste-tests out there.

A classic: the Espresso Martini. Combine an ounce of your choice of vodka—top shelf is best here, of course—and an ounce of espresso, plus a heaping ounce of Kahlua. Ideally, shake with a cold shaker or freezable cocktail stones instead of ice, as this is a cocktail that should be as concentrated as possible. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

The other classic vodka coffee cocktail to know about: the White Russian. This is another drink that’s based around the rich, milky-with-a-kick flavor of Kahlua. Chill an Old Fashioned glass, add ice, an ounce of Kahlua, and two ounces of vodka. Splash heavy cream on top and stir. The result is like an adult version of a bedtime cup of cocoa. The Dude abides!

Coffee-Flavored Cocktail

While Kahlua is a mainstay of coffee and cocktails, there are other recipes that aim for a more coffee-forward approach—featuring actual coffee.

A favorite hot coffee cocktail is the Irish Coffee, typically consumed in a footed glass mug that’s pre-warmed with hot water. A traditional recipe calls for approximately 8 ounces of coffee, a tablespoon of brown sugar, and Irish whisky (think: Jameson) to taste—or, a standard of about two ounces. The finishing touch is the addition of heavy cream slightly whipped and poured over a spoon. What comes of the mixture will look a bit like a frothy root beer float. For a sweeter twist, add a small amount of maple syrup.

Another to try is the Keoki Coffee Cocktail, served in an Irish coffee glass and containing a tablespoon of coffee liqueur, as well as a tablespoon of brandy on top of a cup of brewed coffee—a perfect morning kick. Top it with whipped cream.

Other Coffee Cocktail Drinks

While so many of the standards for coffee cocktails are made with vodka or whisky, there are intriguing coffee cocktail recipes that involve other liquors. So, fear not, lovers of rum and, yes, tequila.

South of No North, a new-age cocktail crafted by a mixologist in Tacoma, combines an ounce of cold brew, mezcal (ideally), half an ounce of Cynar, half an ounce of simple syrup, and an egg white. Though, note that the egg white is optional and should be consumed with caution. It does, however, add a frothiness to the cold coffee cocktail that rounds out the earthy and slightly sweet taste of the drink.

Another delightful coffee cocktail—a “craft” coffee cocktail that’s a gem among coffee-flavored cocktails—Is The Beccacino, concocted by a Seattle mixologist. In it: an ounce of brandy, half an ounce of Benedictine, half an ounce of amaretto, half an ounce of Dublin-originated whisky liqueur Irish Mist, and two-and-a-half ounces of cold brew coffee. Serve in a rounded martini glass.

For an extra simple and refreshing coffee drink, try a Rum and Cold Brew Cocktail. The base ingredients are two ounces of cold brew concentrate and two ounces of dark rum. Add an ounce of simple syrup or agave, a dash of bitters and lime juice, and finish it with tonic and a wedge of lime. Add ice as desired.

Whether you prefer some coffee-flavored classics when it comes to mixing the bean and the booze, or you want to shake it up with some of the newer additions to the scene, you can’t go wrong with a coffee-inspired cocktail. Take it from your friends at Victor Allen’s Coffee!