Coffee: It’s Time to Perk Up Your Cocktails

by November 14, 2012 at 10:00 am 2,359 0

From Jonathan Riethmaier @DistrictBean or email him at jonathan[AT]

Whether you’re looking to impress a date, dazzle friends or merely survive the holidays with your family, it’s always a good idea to keep a few solid cocktail recipes in your back pocket. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not liven up your drink repertoire with these two simple coffee cocktails that put a new twist on old favorites, the Old Fashioned and Brandy Alexander.

These recipes are as easy as can be, but you’ll need to have fresh (and good) iced coffee on hand. If you have reservations about making iced coffee at home, just head over to your neighborhood coffee shop and order an iced coffee, sans ice, and use it the same day.


Old Fashioned. (Jonathan Riethmaier)

Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a timeless American classic that blends whiskey with just a touch of sugar, bitters and a twist of fruit. It’s one of the simplest cocktails to produce, and is perfectly suited for afternoon sipping or cocktail hour. For this recipe, we’re using rye whiskey, which has a grainy, spicy edge that blends well with sweet and bright iced coffee. Use to exercise your inner Don Draper and add a touch of class to the occasion.

The Old Fashioned can be garnished as you please with a Maraschino cherry, lemon and orange or with or without club soda. Just know that any further modification to the Old Fashioned is sure to draw the ire of the drink’s purists, but insist your guests loosen up and give this drink the opportunity it deserves.

You’ll need: Whiskey (preferably Rye), Iced Coffee, Sugar, Angostura Bitters, Club Soda, Lemon, Maraschino Cherry (optional), Orange (optional)

  • In a rocks glass, add 3/4 teaspoon of sugar, 3-4 dashes of Angostura bitters and a splash of club soda.
  • Muddle the sugar and swirl the glass so that the bitters and sugar coat the walls.
  • Add 2 oz of rye whiskey and one 1.5 oz of coffee and stir.
  • Twist a lemon rind and drop it into the glass, along with a large ice cube and optional Maraschino cherry. Garnish with a wedge of orange if you like.

Brandy Alexander. (Jonathan Riethmaier)

Brandy Alexander

Brandy Alexander is a sweet cocktail that’s luxuriously smooth, creamy and chocolatey. It blends well with coffee to bring about a nice, roasty character. If you have the opportunity, find a coffee that mirrors the flavor profile of the original cocktail, like a Bourbon varietal with deep, sweet chocolate flavor. This particular Brandy Alexander calls for Cherry-infused brandy (inspired by another coffee cocktail from the folks at MadCap), though any brandy will do.

Modify the Brandy Alexander to suit your taste. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on top, or remove the creme de cacao if you prefer it without. This is a fantastic drink to serve after dinner with any variety of chocolate desserts. Serve it in a rocks, cocktail, wine or any kind of glass you have on hand.

You’ll need: Brandy (this recipe uses Cherry-infused, but regular brandy is fine), Iced Coffee, Creme de Cacao, Cream, Chocolate (85%+ cacao).

  • Using a shaker, add 2 oz of brandy, 2 oz coffee and 2 oz of cream, 1.0 oz creme de cacao with a few cubes of ice.
  • Shake contents, then strain into a glass.
  • Top the finished drink with grated chocolate.


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