Adding a little alcohol to your favorite fresh-brewed coffee is a great way to give it an extra kick. You can follow tradition and mix up an Irish coffee with whiskey or get decadent and add liqueurs like amaretto, butterscotch schnapps, or Irish cream.
Coffee cocktails are flavorful, a pleasure to sip, and, quite often, incredibly easy to mix up.
A Great Cocktail Begins With Great Coffee
While it's perfectly acceptable to make any of these coffee cocktails with the same cup you brew to get going in the morning, consider upgrading your coffee to create the best cocktails. There's no need to become a coffee snob, but a few improvements can make the difference between a decent drink and a spectacular one.
- Think about the beans. Pick up a specialty roasted coffee bean at the local café or splurge for one at a specialty shop. Whole beans that are freshly ground for each cup or pot will produce a more flavorful coffee.
- Skip the drip. Drip coffee machines are convenient, but you can get a richer cup of coffee with other brewing methods and have a more flavorful cocktail. Save the drip machine for your morning routine if you like, but think about a small investment in a drip cone, French press, AeroPress, or moka pot to create the brews for your cocktails. The difference is amazing.
- Alcohol won't make up for bad coffee. Try not to get in the habit of thinking that anything you add to your coffee will mask its less desirable aspects. Many times it will actually accentuate the impurities. Alcohol is not a cure-all for improving coffee; you need a good cup to begin with.
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The one recipe every coffee lover should taste at least once is the traditional Irish coffee. It comes straight from 1940s Ireland and has set the standard for what a great coffee cocktail should be.
The recipe is quite simple, though it's very specific and contrary to a common belief, it doesn't on its own contain dairy cream. The base is rich, strong coffee spiked with a shot of Irish whiskey and sweetened with brown sugar. To keep it authentic, top it with freshly whipped double cream.
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When you are in the mood for a creamy-textured, sweet, and delicious modern take on the Irish coffee, there's a recipe for that. The caramel Irish coffee is made in much the same way as the original, but it appeals to our fondness for tasty lattes.
This recipe pairs Irish cream with Irish whiskey. Add to that a little butterscotch schnapps and cut back on the coffee. Top it with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle for a truly indulgent drink.
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Admittedly, there will be times when you want Irish coffee but also want something a little less complicated. In that case, turn to the pour-and-drink Irish winter recipe.
For this hot cocktail, pour a shot of Jameson and accent it with equal pours of Kahlúa and your favorite Irish cream. The liqueur combination acts as a creamer while enhancing the drink with a sweeter coffee flavor.
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This maple pecan latte should be on every drinker's list when it's cold outside. The seasonal flavors are amazing, and it brings the taste of a coffee shop favorite home.
The recipe is simple and begins with a homemade maple pecan syrup, made from maple syrup, pecan butter, brown sugar, butter, and cream. Mix it with espresso and steamed milk. When you're feeling frisky, add a shot of whiskey!Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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The French connection series of cocktails are made with cognac and amaretto. Enjoy this soothing combination straight or mix it into a cup of strong, black coffee to create the French connection coffee, otherwise known as the café amore.
You can adjust the ratio of the two liquors for this recipe. The more amaretto you pour, the sweeter it will be, though many people prefer the even pour. You can even deck it out with whipped cream and shaved almonds if you like.
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Have you ever considered spiking your coffee with the Brazillian spirit cachaça? It's actually a fabulous idea, and the café Brasileiro is a great recipe to try.
This is not merely a shot of cachaça in a cup of coffee. Things get sweet with a little simple syrup and your favorite dark chocolate liqueur. Add some freshly whipped heavy cream flavored with vanilla, and your after-dinner coffee experience will never be the same.
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With a name like Café Caribbean, you know there's going to be some rum in this drink. It's one of our favorite, extremely simple coffee cocktails that you might even be able to pull off with what's already in your bar.
The recipe spikes the best cup of coffee you can brew with rum and amaretto. As with most of these, you can stop there or take it a step further and add whipped cream and almonds (or any topping you like).
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Continuing our trip of international coffee cocktails, we're off to Italy. You will need one very specific liqueur to mix up the easy Italian coffee, and it's one of the more interesting choices.
Strega is a golden-colored, herbal liqueur that has a completely unique flavor. When it's hit with piping hot coffee, those botanicals open up and fill your senses with an aromatic bouquet. It's an inviting and comforting experience.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Spanish coffee is one of the best-known spiked coffee recipes and it's an excuse to (cautiously) play with fire. There are also many variations that you can play around with, so it's quite fun.
Have your coffee and liqueur of choice ready to pour. Then light an overproof rum on fire inside your glass and let it burn and caramelize the sugar rim. Add some spices, then pour the rest of the drink. It's an adventure and a light show in one.
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You might guess that if we're talking about Kentucky coffee, we must be pouring bourbon. You would be correct, though more specifically, it's Wild Turkey 101, a whiskey that will not go unnoticed in your coffee.
The recipe is another simple two-spirit pour, pairing the bourbon with the brand's American Honey liqueur. That acts as the sweetener and tames the bold whiskey perfectly. Do be warned: This is the strongest recipe of the lot, though that's not necessarily a bad thing.
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If you're familiar with the nutty Irishman, you know that it can be made as a "martini," shooter, or lowball. Have you tried that tempting combo of Frangelico and Irish cream in a cup of hot coffee? It's as tasty as any of the others, just a whole lot warmer.
The hazelnut flavor of Frangelico against the rich cream liqueur is a perfect way to add flavor to your coffee. Also, if you prefer, it works well with a double shot of espresso, creating a cappuccino-like cocktail.