Coffee Cocktails

Coffee cocktails rouse visions of soft whipped cream melting into piping hot glasses of dark brew, caramelized sugar rims and the dazzle of tableside fireworks. They're the classic warm-up on a winter's day. But, with summer right around the corner, I set my sights on cold and dry libations, truly showcasing the flavor of good coffee. Creating an original drink that would come across as rich and sumptuous while steering away from the sweeter-style of traditional coffee cocktails was my guide.

Coffee cocktails make perfect use of leftover brew. If you don’t have coffee on hand, try making Japanese style iced coffee for the occasion. The method is fundamentally pour over, using twice the strength coffee grounds and brewing atop a carafe or jar filled with ice. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it doesn’t water the coffee down one bit, and you’re left with a deliciously strong coffee that really stands up to the rest of the ingredients in the drink. If you want to make coffee cocktails and don’t want the caffeine, good decaf will suffice.

Bad Dog
Pictured above 

White dog is a distiller’s term for un-aged whiskey. I use House Spirits White Dog, a distillery located in Portland, Oregon. House Spirits makes their White Dog with 100% Oregon Barley. White Dog is more commonly known as Moonshine, traditionally distilled from corn. You can use any White Dog you’d like for this recipe, just make sure it’s of good quality. Coal-Miners use to drink “Coffee-lace” to get through their day – a shot of moonshine in a cup of coffee – how’s that for an eye-opener!

2-ounce French press coffee, cold brew or Japanese style iced coffee.
1-ounce House Spirits White Dog            
1-ounce Galliano
1/2-ounce Cherry Herring
Orange twist

Shake, strain and serve.

Nuit de Neige

Nuit de Neige

 Nocino is sweet and nutty walnut liquor. In this recipe I used a homemade version (see below), but any Nocino will work. If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and make you own come June, when green walnuts abound. Nocino is a wonderful addition to many cocktails and delicious on its own.

2-ounce French press coffee, cold brew or Japanese style iced coffee
1-ounce bourbon
1/2-ounce nocino
Splash of cream
Grated nutmeg

Shake coffee, bourbon and nocino, then strain. Serve with a splash of cream and freshly grated nutmeg.

Recipe by Martha Holmberg

30 fresh walnuts, quartered (pod and all)
1 liter vodka or grain alcohol
1 liter white wine
1 kilo (2.2 pounds) granulated sugar
Pared zest of one lemon
3 cinnamon sticks
40 whole cloves

Combine ingredients in a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Let sit in the sun for about 5 months, shaking it every day.

Strain the nocino through a colander first to remove the large pieces, then strain again through a coffee filter or other super-fine mesh several times, until most of the sediment is gone. Let the strained nocino sit indoors in a clean bottle for any more sediment to settle to the bottom, then carefully pour it off into glass jars.

Elizabeth McElligott is a naturopathic physician living in Portland, Oregon. As a New York City native, she was exposed to a wide array of international cuisine, her favorite being eggplant parmesan on a hoagie role. Her passion for food, nutrition and open spaces prompted her pilgrimage to the west coast. She loves drinking French press every morning and enjoying a cocktail every evening.


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