Italian Coffee Cocktail

Italian Coffee with Strega Liqueur
Brian Lestart/Photolibrary/Getty Images
  • Total: 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
97 Calories
0g Fat
13g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 cocktail (1 serving)
Amount per serving
Calories 97
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 3mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Like many hot coffee cocktails, the Italian coffee recipe is defined by a single liqueur. In this case, the spirit is Strega. It's an Italian digestif made from a proprietary blend of 70 herbs and spices and it's also known as the "witches liqueur."

Strega brings its distinct herbal blend, which is dominated by juniper, mint, and saffron, into coffee to create an intriguing and delicious drink. At its best when made with dark roasted coffee beans, it makes an excellent after-dinner cup of coffee.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Strega Liqueur
  • 5 ounces coffee (freshly brewed, black)
  • Garnish: whipped cream 
  • Garnish: nutmeg (ground)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a warm Irish coffee glass or mug, pour the Strega.

  3. Fill with hot coffee.

  4. Top with whipped cream and garnish with grated nutmeg.

  5. Serve and enjoy!

Tips

  • Brew the most flavorful cup of coffee you can. If you typically use a drip coffee maker, consider using another style of brewer like a French press or pour-over brewer to produce a richer brew for all of your hot coffee cocktails and you'll see a big improvement.
  • Another way to improve your coffee is to start with whole beans and grind them yourself. There are subtle flavors that are lost with time after grinding and you can capture those by grinding only what you need at the moment.
  • Heating your coffee glass or mug helps keep the drink warmer to the last sip. You can fill it with hot water while brewing the coffee. The alternative is to fill the glass with water and microwave it for about 10 seconds.
  • You can lightly whip cream and float it on top of the drink, just like the traditional Irish coffee. While that is amazing, the easy alternative is to simply use canned whipped cream.

Recipe Variations

  • There is no really good substitute for Strega because it is a proprietary recipe. However, many people compare the liqueur to Yellow Chartreuse and that might be a good alternative in this recipe.
  • Add a shot of Strega to espresso if you like. To increase the volume and balance out the flavors, turn your double shot of espresso into a caffé Americano by adding an equal amount of hot water, then add the Strega.
  • Rather than ground nutmeg, dust the cream with ground cinnamon or simply add a cinnamon stick (it doubles as a stir stick, too).

How Strong Is an Italian Coffee?

Strega is an 80-proof liqueur, so it's equivalent to the average rum, vodka, and similar distilled spirits. However, at just 1-ounce in this recipe, that doesn't make a big difference. The Italian coffee is a gently spiked drink with an alcohol content around 7 percent ABV (14 proof). It's like a high-point beer, only far tastier.