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Coffee & Spirits

As summer approaches and with it the heat and humidity starts climbing, everyone looks for ways to stay cool and still enjoy the increased entertainment and festivities that warmer temperatures bring.

Cocktails have become more and more creative, and I thought I could introduce coffee to some summertime libations. Before undertaking this project, I knew that I would need a “cocktail expert” to guide me through the various levels of cocktails that could be introduced. I could think of no one more qualified than my good friend and fellow columnist, Tim Laird, the CEO (that’s the “Chief Entertainment Officer”) for Brown-Forman, who knows his way around the cocktail realm. We both have a true passion, Tim for creating imaginative cocktails and me for fantastic coffee.

So on a warm and rainy Sunday afternoon, we met at his house in his “libation lab” and started creating caffeine concoctions. One thing that is very important when using coffee in a cocktail that is going to be added to, or shaken with, ice is to make sure that is brewed correctly. My suggestion is to double brew, or in other words, when brewing, use double the amount of coffee that you normally would use. Then allow it to cool before placing it in an airtight container and storing it in your refrigerator. Coffee can be stored this way for up to 2 weeks, for a constant supply of coffee base for your coffee cocktails.

So what were some of the ideas that Tim and I came up with? We started with the basic coffee martini, which has many variations. But starting with this basic drink, you can add or subtract to meet your personal choice.

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4 ounces cold coffee
1 ounce Crème de Cocoa
1 ounce Vodka
½ ounce half & half

Place all of the above ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Rim a martini glass with cocoa powder and strain the cocktail into the glass. Garnish with shaved chocolate.

On a warm summer evening, there can can few things more refreshing than coffee blended with cordials to make a refreshing after dinner cocktail like our Chocolate Raspberry Torte.

DSC_7175CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TORTE

3-4 ounces cold coffee
1 ounce Crème de Cocoa liqueur
1 ounce Chambord black raspberry liqueur

Place all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 20 seconds. Rim a martini glass with sugar and strain the cocktail into the glass. Garnish with fresh raspberries if desired.

For those super-muggy summer evenings, we decided we needed a cocktail that could refresh and cool you down with south of the border flavor. This cocktail promises to do just that.

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3 ounces cold coffee
1 ½ ounce Herradura Reposado tequila
1 ounce Cointreau
½ ounce simple syrup

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake for 30 seconds and pour into a tall glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Another variation on a coffee martini adds a little elegance to the finish product as shown in the Tennessee-Tini.

DSC_7162TENNESSEE-TINI

3 ounces cold coffee
1 ½ ounce Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey
1 ounce hazelnut liqueur

Place all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 20 seconds. Rim a martini glass with honey and dip into crushed nuts. Strain the cocktail into the glass.

As a tribute to New Orleans, one of the great cities for cocktails and also rich, dark coffee, we created our Caffe Naw’lins to meld liquids from this great city to a Mardi Gras celebration drink.

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3 ounces chicory-laced cold coffee
1 ½ ounce Southern Comfort
½ ounce Cointreau
2 drops of orange bitters

Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds and stain into a tall highball glass filled with ice.

Everyone is aware of how hot coffee added to cocktails can produce a warming elixir that can eliminate the chill from the coldest winters.  But now we see how that iced coffee added to summer cocktails can refresh as well as cool down the hottest summer event.  If you do not imbibe alcoholic cocktails, then be sure to try straight iced coffee. Coffee that is double brewed poured and poured into a glass filled with ice is the perfect answer to Louisville’s sweltering summers. Whether you drink it black or with cream and sweetener, you will be amazed how refreshing this drink can be. Whether it be served hot or cold, alone or in a cocktail, “coffee when well prepared is beyond question, one of the ambrosial luxuries of modern life.”