Football season is in full force, and it’s a great excuse for cocktails. But being a part of the Pacific Standard Time zone makes for gathering with friends over a good number of morning games. Bloody Marys and mimosas are fine and good, of course, but are they going to wake you up on a gray Sunday morning?
Enter the coffee cocktail, darling of the Northwest craft bartending world but made much less frequently at home. Don’t be intimidated by the coffee cocktail: you don’t need an espresso machine to make coffee that will stand up to the intensity of spices, bitters and spirits. It’s easy to cold-brew your own coffee at home, in concentrated batches that won’t be watered down by add-ins. For hot coffee, use an Aeropress to brew espresso-strength shots, or double the amount of coffee grounds you use in a French press. Here are three coffee cocktails to try this football season.
Pumpkin Spiked Latte
2 shots’ worth of hot Aeropressed coffee
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie sauce (try Seattle-based Da Vinci, available online or at Cash & Carry)
1 ounce smoky tequila (try Sparkle Donkey Reposado) or mezcal (try El Zacatecano Añejo)
Cream to taste
Look for a caramelly medium-dark roast coffee for this recipe: 49th Parallel’s Old School Espresso, Landgrove Coffee’s French Roast and Heart Roasters’ Stereo Blend are all great choices. Press coffee directly into mug. Add pumpkin pie sauce and tequila or mezcal and stir. Finish with cream and top with nutmeg.
The nutmeg and the spices in the sauce co-mingle with the liquor to combat the pumpkin sweetness, and it’s all set against the hearty background of rich roasted coffee. Pumpkin spice latte season just got fun.
3 ounces concentrated cold-brewed coffee
3 ounces extra-dry sparkling wine
Orange twist for garnish
Sounds like it wouldn’t work, but the right coffee can be offset nicely with the right sparkling wine. If you’re making your own cold-brew, use a bright, fruity Ethiopian or Rwandan coffee—Bellingham Bay Coffee Roasters’ Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a sparkling example. Use the driest bubbles you can find to keep the sweetness from overriding the coffee’s characteristics, and you’ll be surprised how refreshing your morning coffee can be.
Shake cold-brew, whiskey, and bitters with ice in a cocktail shaker: strain into tumbler. Add cream as desired. Warming whiskey, double-strength Stumptown and the intensity of concentrated chocolate are guaranteed to help you power through just about anything Sunday throws at you.