Coffee cocktails: alive and kicking!

Coffee cocktails: alive and kicking!
  • Espresso Martinin, Irish Coffee, Black Russian or White Russian

  • Coffee's caffeine counteracts the effect of the alcohol

  • Our favourite coffee flavoured liqueur is Galliano Ristretto

Life is better when you can combine your favourite things. So why not mix coffee and cocktails? Coffee liqueur, cold coffee, espresso.. all are amazing to use in coffee cocktails. The Espresso Martini is probably one of the most famous coffee cocktails but it doesn't stop there! There's a whole world of coffee cocktails out there that will have you buzzing all night.

History of coffee cocktails

From the age-old image of a grumbled detective pouring some unidentifiable booze into his morning coffee to the first Irish coffees being prepared in the 1940's, coffee and cocktails have a long history as drinking companions. Mixology is all about finding the sweet spot of balance in a cocktail and coffee offers complexity and an incredibly wide range of flavours ideal to use in cocktails. Depending on the origin of coffee, how it was processed, roasted and prepared, it can be a powerful component of a mixed drink.

The Espresso Martini is perhaps the best and most popular coffee cocktail to emerge from the 1990s. It was created by Dick Bradsell in 1983 at the Soho brasserie in London. The story goes that a young supermodel asked for a drink to 'wake me up and f*ck me up'. The Espresso Martini, consisting of vodka, coffee liqueur and espresso did just that. It quickly became an icon and to this day remains the most popular coffee cocktail and a staple of after-dinner drinks worldwide. 

Espresso Martini recipe

30 ml Bols Vodka
30 ml Galliano Ristretto or Bols Coffee
30 ml espresso
10 ml sugar syrup

How to make an Espresso Martini

  1. Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker add ice cubes and shake hard for at least 45 seconds. 

  2. Strain into a prechilled Martini glass or coupe. 

  3. Garnish with 3 coffee beans. 

For a nutty variation on this recipe, why not switch the Galliano Ristretto or Bols Coffee for Bols Amaretto

Coffee mocktails:Caffė Shakerato & Spritzy Americano

If you prefer a coffee mocktail, you can try a very simple variation on the Espresso Martini: The Caffė Shakerato. In its simplest form, a Shakerato is made by combining freshly made espresso, simple syrup and shaking it vigorously with ice until a froth forms when poured. Usually served in a Martini glass or another stemmed glass. 

To stay in the coffee mocktail category, why not try a Spritzy Americano? This coffee cocktail is straightforward, refreshing, lively with a bittersweet finish. Simply mix equal parts espresso and fresh orange juice with double the amount of soda water. 

Irish Coffee

The Irish Coffee was first created in the 1940's by Joe Sheridan who worked in the harbor of the Irish village of Foynes. He prepared a round of drinks with hot coffee, a dash of Irish whiskey, sugar and lightly whipped cream for a group of chilly Americans who just stepped off a Pan AM flying boat. On a cold, miserable rainy day, there are few things as comforting as an Irish coffee. This coffee cocktail remains an all-time favourite and has given us many variations of the original recipe. Two chilled variations of the Irish coffee include:

  • The Dublin Iced Coffee: equal amounts of strong cold brew coffee and stout are mixed with Irish whiskey and simple syrup in a long drink glass with ice. Lightly whipped cream are gently poured in and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon. 

  • The Blind Abbot: mix Irish whiskey, chilled freshly brewed coffee, Galliano Ristretto, cinnamon syrup and a few dashes Angostura bitters with ice. Strain into an Irish coffee glass and top with whipped cream and cinnamon. 

Vintage coffee cocktails: Black & White Russian

Another true vintage coffee cocktail is the Black (or White) Russian. The Black Russian was created in 1949 by Gustave Tops, a bartender at the Metropolitan hotel in Brussels. The drink, consisting of equal parts vodka and coffee liqueur was prepared for Perle Mesta, a rich American socialite famous for her lavish parties. 

Around the 1960's the White Russian was born, simply by adding lightly whipped cream or milk to the Black Russian recipe. The White Russian was immortalized in 1998 when Jeff Bridges, playing the Dude in The Big Lebowski, gulped down 8 of them during the course of the movie. (He dropped a ninth on the floor). 

So whether you're in the mood for summer coffee cocktails, a coffee mocktail or a boozy caffeine hit coffee cocktails are here to stay! 

Reading next

How to shake a cocktail
Cocktail Chronicles: The Story of the Amaretto Sour