Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Coffee Based Cocktails

Since the weekend was a little slow at work, I decided to play around with making some coffee based cocktails. I've never really entertained making any type of coffee cocktails in the past since I'm not a fan of cold coffee. I can't quite say what it is, but I really don't like the flavor of cold coffee. Even in the hottest of hot weather here in NYC, I'll have a hot cup of coffee. Even coffee ice cream is hard for me to enjoy. But for this post, I decided to try and put my aversion to cold coffee aside and experiment with two different coffees: Harmony Bay and Cafe Bustelo.

I picked up a can of Harmony Bay French Vanilla Creme coffee for the bar. Since Pete and I are the java fiends of the bar, there wasn't much left in the pot when I decided to use it for a cocktail. Since the flavor profile was based in Vanilla like my non de plume, I decided to add my shot of choice to the coffee. I also decided to experiment with some White Creme de Cacao for a little chocolate flavor and some butterscotch schnapps for additional body. Here is the approximate recipe I used:
French Vanilla Coffee Martini
2oz. French Vanilla Coffee
2oz. Stoli Vanilla
.5oz. White Creme de Cacao
.5oz. Butterscotch Schnapps

Build all over ice. Shake vigorously an strain into chilled cocktail glass.

I immediately take a whiff and the vanilla from the coffee and butterscotch jump out at me. The cocktail has a very light amber color to it. Upon tasting it the cocktail is very has a hint of sweetness and an airy quality to it. It is a very simple and basic cocktail.

For the second one I decided to use a stronger coffee. Cafe Bustelo's signature yellow can is something that many of us 1st and 2nd generation children of Latino immigrants grew up with in our kitchens. It has a strong espresso profile that can be made in a regular coffee maker or with a colador as my mom would use. For those of you who don't know what a colador is, it is often referred to as a "Coffee Sock". Here is an article entitled How to use a coffee sock: A cheap way to make coffee for more information on how to use one.

I used the Bustelo right after brewing to make the following cocktail. I decided to change the cordials used for flavoring with the coffee. This time I used Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur, Bénédictine D.O.M. and Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur.

For those of you not familiar with these cordials, Frangelico is made from an infusion of Tonda Gentile Hazelnuts, water, alcohol and other natural flavors. The hazelnuts come from the Piedmont section of Northern Italy and is a creation of some local monks who have been making what we now call Frangelico for the last 300 years. Bénédictine D.O.M. (the D.O.M. stands for Deo Optimo Maximo which means - To God most good, most great). is made from a secret recipe of 27 different herbs and spices. Originally Bénédictine began in 1510 in the Abbey of Fécamp, in Normandy, France, when the Benedictine monk, Dom Bernardo Vincelli, created a secret elixir that was lost to history. In 1863, Alexandre Le Grand, a merchant and collector of religious art, discovered the lost recipe for this elixir in his collection and after a series of attempts, recreated the elixir we now know as Bénédictine D.O.M. I profiled Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur in a prior post Dawn's Metropolitan Cocktail so to avoid repeating myself, I'd recommend you click on the provided link. BTW, you should click on it anyway. I can use all the clicks I can get. But I digress.

Since the cocktail contains two liqueurs created by monks, I've decided on the following name for the recipe:
The Energized Monk
3oz Cafe Bustelo
.5oz Frangelico
.5oz Bénédictine D.O.M.
.5oz Chambord

Build all over ice. Shake vigorously an strain into chilled cocktail glass.
This cocktail had a darker color with a more bitter profile than the earlier cocktail (I tried adding .5oz of Kahlua in the mix but found that it did nothing but make the cocktail sweeter). I found that the cocktail wasn't as strong as I thought it would be. I made a couple for Marta and one of her friends and they enjoyed the taste of the cocktail. Perhaps I thought using a stronger blend of coffee would have resulted in a stronger flavored cocktail.

Another thing that I'm not sure of is whether to use the coffee while hot or having it sit and cool down to room temperature. I'm not certain whether using it hot from the pot would create a more diluted cocktail since I need to use more ice to chill it. I guess I would have to try to make it with room temperature Bustelo and see if there is any difference. Also, as per Johnny's suggestion, a few coffee beans in the bottom of the cocktail would also add another level of flavor and an interesting garnish to the mix.

All in all I would say that these two cocktails were an interesting attempt by someone who doesn't enjoy cold coffee. I guess I'll continue to play around with flavors when I get my hands on some other types of flavored coffees.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla