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Alcoholic Coffee Drinks: 8 Recipes to Knock Your Socks off With Your Slippers On!

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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Have you ever gazed at the sunset, pensively yearning for your morning caffeine, yet it’s evening? "Ah me, I can hardly wait for my morning coffee!" Well, I’m here to encourage you in this fantasy. Yes, your evening cocktail hour deserves an upgrade to an alcoholic coffee drinks hour!

Have you ever gazed at the sunset, pensively yearning for your morning caffeine, yet it’s evening? “Ah me, I can hardly wait for my morning coffee!” Well, I’m here to encourage you in this fantasy. Yes, your evening cocktail hour deserves an upgrade to an alcoholic coffee drinks hour!

To follow is not only a fascinating tour of the origins of coffee cocktails. I will also invite you to try several of my amazing coffee cocktail recipes. Believe me, they are sure to put a buzz in your tumbler!

Alcoholic Coffee Drinks: The Origin

Astonishingly, coffee liqueurs were first produced in 16th century France. It is no coincidence that the Kingdom of France, from the Renaissance to the Revolution, was a monarchy ruled by the House of Bourbon. In this divine epoch, the original coffee cocktail made its delicious debut. Sporting a rum base with coffee and vanilla flavorings, it was irresistible to the nobility.

Over the centuries, coffee liqueur has been concocted with a variety of additives and types of alcohol. Ingredients include roasted coffee beans, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla syrup, espresso and alcohol. On the whole, roasted coffee is steeped with sugar in alcohol to produce coffee liqueurs. A popular example is Kahlúa, produced in Mexico since 1936.

I’ll take you on a world tour as I elaborate below, with my favorite recipes for exotic alcoholic coffee drinks. Some use specific pre-made coffee liqueur and others create their own coffee liqueur. Which is to say, we’ll mix coffee with alcohol and sweeteners to produce our very own coffee liqueur.

Coffee Cocktails: The Desired Effect

Coffee and alcohol combine to present a poetic paradox – a stimulant paired with a depressant, offering a mellow buzz. Unsurprisingly, caffeine can mask any sleepy and subduing effects of alcohol. Even so, a coffee cocktail is not so much a recipe for alertness as it is a comforting evening beverage.

For me, as for most, this cozy and ingenious pairing is suited as an after-dinner treat. Please join me as I swap out my barista attire for a robe and slippers. I’ll show you what to do to perk up your traditional evening beverage, by making it into an amazing coffee cocktail!

To follow are a variety of amazing hot and cold alcoholic coffee drinks hailing from Mexico, Russia and beyond.. Each of these begins with brewed coffee, whether from a drip coffee maker or a home espresso machine. You’ll find it convenient to have tequila, vodka, whiskey, bourbon and rum on hand. We’ll also add some indulgent flavors, including chocolate liqueur, amaretto and Irish cream.

Alcoholic Coffee Recipes

Coffee liqueur cocktails originated in France. They may be classified as a coffee cocktail as well as a digestif. As one may rightly assume, a digestif aids in the digestive process after a meal.

As I already mentioned, you should always begin with freshly brewed coffee. Often, I love to borrow spice combinations from my favorite fall coffee drinks. Have fun and be bold!

Bergeron (Mexican Coffee)

Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves; we need oxygen and a candle to help.” – Laura Esquivel, “Like Water for Chocolate”

Not to be confused with Spanish coffee, the Mexican coffee cocktail made its debut in the 1980s. A restaurateur named Victor Bergeron is credited with creating this Mexican spin on Irish coffee. Adding a spicy kick of ground cloves and cinnamon is key!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 5 ounces (148 milliliters) hot coffee

  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) tequila

  • Half an ounce of Kahlúa

  • 2 ounces (60 milliliters) vanilla ice cream

Here’s how to make Mexican coffee:

  1. Preheat a tall glass.

  2. Combine spices, tequila and Kahlúa.

  3. Pour freshly brewed coffee over liqueur.

  4. Top with vanilla ice cream and a dusting of more cinnamon.

Don Quixote (Spanish Coffee)

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness.” – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, “Don Quixote”

The Spanish coffee cocktail originated when Cuba was a Spanish province. Soldiers combined coffee with rum in an effort to feel more courageous. The result was what we now know as Spanish coffee. In Spanish, courage is coraje, and its diminutive form is corajillo.

Here are the ingredients for Spanish coffee:

  • 1 cup hot coffee

  • Half an ounce (15 milliliters) Tia Maria sweet liqueur

  • Half an ounce (15 milliliters) rum

  • Whipped cream

  • Maraschino cherry

Here’s what you’ll need to do to prepare this classic coffee cocktail:

  1. Preheat a tall glass.

  2. Combine Tia Maria liqueur and freshly brewed coffee. 

  3. Top with whipped cream and garnish with a cherry. 

Variation: The Carajillo is a small strong espresso to which you can add a dash of Licor 43 (a sweet Spanish liqueur), whiskey, cognac, Baileys or sweet liqueur of your choice. Carajillo is served over ice, as a digestif after meals. 

Dumas (Grand French Coffee)

Never fear quarrels, but seek hazardous adventures.” – Alexandre Dumas, “The Three Musketeers”

As I mentioned, the alcoholic coffee drink first known as coffee liqueur originated with the French bourgeoisie. To follow was the French Revolution and more decadent rulers. Imagine Marie Antoinette and Louis XIX in their Rococo wigs and silk pumps, sipping on coffee cocktails. Believe me, I feel just as fancy sipping this cocktail in my robe and slippers!

Here’s what you’ll need to get fancy with yourself:

  • 1 cup hot coffee

  • 1 ounce (30 milliliters) cognac

  • 1 ounce (30 milliliters) amaretto

  • Shaved almonds

  • Whipped cream

Here’s how to make this decadent alcoholic coffee drink:

  1. Preheat a tall glass.

  2. Fill the glass with an ounce of cognac and an ounce of amaretto.

  3. Pour freshly brewed black coffee over liquor.

  4. Top with whipped cream and shaved almonds.

Variation: Grand French Coffee is a drink made from Grand Marnier in lieu of cognac. It is typically prepared in a coffee mug with whipped cream and is commonly referred to as a cocktail.

Ulysses (Classic Irish Coffee)

The movements which work revolutions in the world are born out of the dreams and visions in a peasant’s heart on the hillside.” – James Joyce, “Ulysses”

It goes without saying that a whiskey coffee cocktail is popularly known as Classic Irish Coffee. Old world aficionados sometimes referred to this as Gaelic coffee. In the modern age, you and I know Irish Coffee as the brand Baileys Irish Cream or Sultan Special Coffee.

Rightfully, the Irish are prone to believing they first discovered Irish coffee. (Even if they were unassumingly riffing off of Spanish coffee.) The lucky Irishman Joe Sheridan created this delightful coffee cocktail in the winter of 1943.

Here’s what you’ll need to whip up a Classic Irish Coffee:

  • 1 cup hot coffee

  • 2 ounces (60 milliliters) Irish whiskey

  • 1 ounce (30 milliliters) spiced stout syrup

  • Lightly whipped cream

  • Nutmeg

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Preheat an Irish coffee glass.

  2. Pour black coffee into glass until three-quarters of the way full.

  3. Add Irish whiskey and spiced stout syrup.

  4. Top with lightly whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg.

Variation: Traditionally, Irish coffee is prepared with a teaspoon of brown sugar, 4 ounces (118 milliliters) of rich, hot coffee and whipped cream. Now, aren’t we the lucky ones?

Espresso Martini

Remember tonight … for it is the beginning of always.” – Dante Alighieri

I would be remiss not to mention my forays into the refreshing world of iced coffee. As you might already know, Italians are famous for their flavored ice and espresso. These traditions combine with Kahlúa to produce a pure delight: iced coffee cocktails. Look no further than your martini glass for a perfect iced coffee drink with alcohol!

This coffee cocktail includes espresso, but there’s nothing to say you can’t use a moka pot or an AeroPress to brew the shot. Still, if you’ve got an espresso machine or super automatic, all the better.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 espresso shot

  • Vodka

  • Kahlúa

  • SImple syrup

  • Cocktail shaker

  • Martini glass

  • Ice cubes

Here’s how to create this sophisticated cocktail:

  1. Brew espresso and then pour into a bowl to cool swiftly.

  2. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice cubes.

  3. Make sure the espresso is completely cooled. If needed, put it in the freezer for a few minutes, so as not to melt the ice.

  4. Add cooled espresso, vodka and simple syrup to the shaker. Then add Kahlúa.

  5. Vigorously shake your cocktail. Shake it hard to create a lovely foam!

  6. Swiftly strain your espresso martini into a martini glass, to ensure the lovely foam stays on top.

Coffee Negroni

L’amore non è bello se non è litigarello.” (Love is not beautiful if it is not a quarrel) – Italian Proverb

Cocktail aficionados have traced the origin of this iced delight to the Caffe Casoni in 1919 Florence. Purportedly, Count Camillo Negroni ordered his usual americano. Yet, in place of soda water, he requested gin. To follow, the Count’s family founded the Negroni DIstillery. Their featured product was a ready-made version of this novel cocktail, Antico Negroni 1919.

Here’s what you’ll need to prepare your own Coffee Negroni:

  • 1 espresso shot

  • 1 part gin

  • 1 part sweet vermouth

  • 1 part Campari

  • Orange peel

  • Microplane

  • Ice cubes

  • 3 coffee glasses

Here’s how to make a delicious Coffee Negroni:

  1. Brew espresso.

  2. Fill two glasses with ice.

  3. In one glass, mix equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Stir to chill!

  4. Pour one shot of espresso over the other glass of ice. Stir to chill; place in the freezer for a few minutes!

  5. Strain liquor into your third, empty glass. Add strained, chilled, espresso to taste.

  6. Using a microplane, grate the orange peel over your coffee cocktail.

Variation:Italian coffee bars serve “caffè freddo,” a straight espresso kept in a freezer and served as icy slush. Affogato (espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream) is also traditionally served, typically as a dessert.

Wolfgang (RüdesheimerKaffee)

If you’ve never eaten while crying you don’t know what life tastes like.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Rudesheimer Kaffee is a classic cocktail developed in 1957 by a famous German TV chef.. Prepared with sugar cubes and brandy, it is topped with whipped cream and chocolate!

Here’s what you’ll need for this outrageous treat:

  • 1 cup hot coffee

  • 1.3 ounces (40 milliliters) Asbach Uralt brandy

  • 3 sugar cubes

  • Whipped cream

  • Chocolate shavings or chocolate syrup

  • Tall mug

  • Long spoon

Once you’ve got all your ingredients at the ready, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Place 3 sugar cubes in your tall mug.

  2. Warm the Asbach Uralt brandy, placing glass in another glass of hot water.

  3. Pour brandy over sugar cubes, then light it on fire

  4. Break up the sugar cubes with your long spoon while the flame burns for one minute.

  5. Pour hot coffee over the crystallized brandy until the mug is three-quarters of the way full.

  6. Top with whipped cream and shaved chocolate or chocolate syrup.

War and Peace (White Russian)

We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.” – Leo Tolstoy, “War and Peace”

Surprisingly, this Russian cocktail was actually conceived of in Belgium. A barman by the name of Gustave Tops concocted the White Russian, honoring the ambassador to Luxembourg, Perle Mesta. And in case you were wondering, the Black Russian is a White Russian without the cream.

Here’s what you’ll need to take a sip back in time:

  • 1 ounce (30 milliliters) cold brew coffee concentrate

  • 2 ounces (60 milliliters) Smirnoff vodka

  • 1 ounce (30 milliliters) heavy cream

  • Whipped cream

  • Rocks glass

Here are the instructions for preparing the perfect White Russian:

  1. For this cold brew, fill a rocks glass with ice.

  2. Add the Smirnoff vodka, heavy cream and cold brew coffee concentrate.

  3. Stir vigorously until you have a white cold brew beverage.

  4. Sip slowly – this one goes down all too easy!

Variation: Create a hot beverage by adding the vodka and milk to a cup of hot, black coffee!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it matters not to whom you credit the discovery of alcoholic coffee drinks. First discovered by the French bourgeoisie, alcoholic coffee drinks were taken to the limit by courageous Spanish soldiers in Cuba. And last, but perhaps the best-known, there’s a lucky concoction by an Irishman called Joe Sheridan.

Coffee cocktails are guaranteed to deliver equal parts of mellow comfort with a caffeine kick! Just remember not to overdo it, but if you have one too many, a strong cup of joe will help with the next morning’s hangover!

I will happily indulge any departures or additions you recommend in creating these coffee cocktails. Please share your creative and bold coffee drink details in the comments section below!

Alcoholic Coffee Drinks FAQ

Tequila, whiskey, brandy and rum are all popular complements to brewed coffee.

Coffee liqueur, chocolate liqueur, amaretto and Irish cream all go well with hot coffee.

A coffee and rum cocktail is famously known as Spanish coffee.

An Espresso Martini contains vodka and Kahlúa.

Your coffee expert
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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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