Top 10 coffee-flavoured spiritsBy Michael J Ritchie
Coffee in hand, The Spirits Business explores the growing world of the caffeinated spirit, from vodkas and mezcals to Tequilas and liqueurs.
There aren’t many of us who can manage to get out of bed, onto a train and into work without at least a sip of coffee. It dates back to the 15th century and has changed the way we do things ever since.
However, humans are not a species content with leaving things as they are, and over time we’ve done all manner of things to coffee, not least combine it with our other favourite product – alcohol.
While we don’t suggest you use these drinks to get you to work on time in the morning, they’re definitely worth a look if you enjoy a coffee a little later in the day.
Click through the following pages to discover our pick of the top caffeinated spirits.
Chase Espresso Vodka
Our first entrant hails from Chase Distillery, and combines the producer’s original potato vodka with Ethiopian (but locally roasted) coffee beans. The coffee is slowly distilled through the distillery’s pure copper still Ginny, then cold-brewed, chill-filtered and carefully blended with the distillate.
On the nose, the liquid offers milk chocolate, vanilla, and honey “with the unmistakeable scent of dark roast coffee”, giving way to “an intense bitterness reminiscent of dark chocolate”, with hints of apricot, honey and muscovado sugar.
Currently available as a limited edition at John Lewis, it is bottled at 40% abv and 700ml has an RRP of £40.00.
Conker Spirit Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
Containing just four ingredients, this liqueur from Conker Spirit claims that it lacks all the “usual additives, flavourings and thickeners” that appear in other coffee liqueurs.
The brand has partnered with Beanpress Coffee Co. who provide speciality coffee beans from Brazil and Ethiopia. Conker said upon the drink’s release that: “by brewing the liqueur cold, [we] do not extract any of the acidic, bitter elements of the bean, thereby honouring the subtle fruity chocolate notes of each bean variety”.
Conker Spirit Cold Brew Coffee Liequeur is bottled at 25% abv and can be found online and through certain independent stockists at an RRP of £30.00.
New to the UK this month is Dangerous Don, twice-distilled before being steeped in Mexican Noam Quiem Organic Coffee beans. And then, to round it off, it gets distilled again.
The mastermind behind this expression is London-based Thea Cumming, former manager for Pitt Cue’s Southbank pop-up, and part of the launch team for Coombeshead Farm.
Offering a caramel and chocolate flavour with a sweet and smoky finish, this mezcal is bottled at 48% abv and is priced at £59.99.
Sierra Gran Café
Made from Sierra Tequila Blanco, Sierra Gran Café aims to deliver a balance between fruitiness and natural roasted Mexican coffee.
On the nose, the expression boasts toasted coffee, nutty nougat, and herbs and spices, with notes of tropical fruit and lightly peppery” agave on the palate. The finish is balanced out with “toasted coffee and chocolate brownies”, making it ideal for sipping straight up or enjoying in a cocktail.
Bottled at 25% abv and available in 700ml (£25) or 500ml (£18), it promises “an exquisite and entirely different taste experience to other coffee liqueurs”.
Company founder Tem Mellesse has proudly utilised his Ethiopian roots with the creation of this coffee liqueur. Described as a “balanced medium-strength brew”, Cold&Blac is produced in London’s Hackney using a combination of traditional and modern techniques. The resulting liquid is “incredibly smooth”, with “hints of citrusy zest” and “expansive, earthy warmth”.
For the eco-conscious out there, all ingredients are locally sourced, organic, Fairtrade, and free of GMO and chemical additives.
It is available online for £32.99, at 21% abv.
Supposedly invented “out of necessity” – because pouring whisky into coffee wasn’t enough – Fliquor Bean takes whisky made from 100% corn and mixes it with coffee from CoNaProMex, Mexico’s largest farmer confederation. The coffee is custom-roasted in Los Angeles by a local micro-roaster.
Founded in 2013, Fliquor Bean is available online with an RRP of $37.99.
Mr Black Cold Press Coffee
The brainchild of designer Tom Baker and distiller Philip Moore, this liqueur is produced on the coast of Australia, and combines an in-house blend of Arabica coffee beans from Papua New Guinea, Brazil and Ethiopia with pure Australian grain spirit.
The team behind Mr Black suggest serving up a Flat White Russian, which combines the liqueur with vodka, espresso and steamed milk; or adding it to gin, Campari and sweet vermouth to create a Black Negroni.
The drink is bottled in batches of 300 in a 700ml format at 25% abv.
Another coffee-Tequila hybrid next, this time from Cabo Wabo Tequila – the brand founded by Van Halen lead singer Sammy Hagar.
A blend of Arabica beans and 100% blue weber agave Cabo Wabo Blanco Tequila, the liquid has notes of roasted coffee, vanilla and chocolate, balanced with blue agave and honey.
Cabo Diablo is designed to capture Hagar’s “no-holds-barred, fun-loving attitude” and promises to shake up the coffee liqueur category with something unique.
It is bottled at 35% abv with an RRP of US$22.99, and features a ghostly label that reveals a spooky image when chilled.
Patrón XO Café
Aiming for dry rather than sweet, this blend of Patrón Silver Tequila and fine coffee certainly brought something new to the table.
With aromas of fresh coffee, chocolate and vanilla, and a “smooth but dry” finish, Patrón XO Café is perfect for both sipping and adding to cocktails and desserts for a little extra buzz.
It is widely available and bottled at 35% abv.
Fair Café Liqueur
Billed as the world’s first Fairtrade certified organic coffee liqueur, Fair Café Liqueur combines Fair Trade Certified Arabica coffee beans from Mexico’s volcanic mountain regions with Fairtrade sugar cane from Malawi and Paraguay.
Though it has bitter notes on the finish, the liqueur is said to offer more of a “mocha” flavour thanks to the presence of fudge and hazelnut flavours.
It is bottled at 22% abv and available online.