Coffee Mixology 101

One of my favorite ways to finish off a rich meal is with a steamy, creamy Irish Coffee. Not a whiskey drinker by nature, I hadn’t expected to savor the delicious treat quite the way that I came to appreciate it. I do, however, appreciate a fine cup of coffee and the variations one can make on it with the judicious addition of a few choice ingredients. I come by a love of coffee and the finer spirits naturally. It’s a part of my Italian heritage. Holiday and company meals when I was growing up often ended with coffee kissed with Galleano, anisette or Sambuca, each of which add a kiss and a kick to the smooth, rich, dark Italian roast coffee. Coffee and drink recipes abound and are part of every good mixologist’s repertoire. Here are a few of my favorites.

Classic Irish Coffee

Irish Whiskey combines with dark coffee and velvety whipped cream for one of the classics of coffee mixology. Here’s how to make it the way it was originally made.

35 ml Irish whiskey
2 tsp demerara sugar
Fresh brewed coffee
Fresh cold whipping cream
An Irish Coffee Glass

1. Preheat the glass with hot water.
2. Brew the coffee – use the best you can get, and brew it dark and strong
3. Whip the cream till it is just short of stiff, but just pourable.
4. Empty the hot water from the glass and add the whiskey shot.
5. Pour the coffee into the glass.
6. Stir in the sugar.
7. Pour the cream over the back of a metal spoon and float it on top of the coffee.
8. Enjoy!

Coffee Corretto
Sambuca is an Italian liqueur made from anise seeds, giving it a strong licorice flavor that blends well with coffee. In Italy, it’s common to serve a shot of Sambuca with three coffee beans floating in the glass, chewing the beans to enjoy the blending of flavor. When Sambuca is added to coffee, it is known as ‘Coffee Coretto” – coffee done the right way. Coffee corretto can also be made with anisette.

1 shot of Sambuca
6 ounces of freshly brewed Italian roast coffee
Freshly whipped cream
Powdered nutmeg
Coarsely ground coffee beans

Pour the Sambuca into the bottom of a thick-walled coffee cup. Carefully pour the coffee over the Sambuca, and layer the cream on top. Dust the whipped cream with powdered nutmeg and sprinkle with espresso beans.


Galliano Hotshot

Galliano is an Italian liqueur created in the late 1890s. It’s a blend of vanilla, anise and a number of other herbs. Thick, golden and sweet, it’s the perfect foil for strong, dark coffee. The Galliano Hotshot is a classic mixologist’s concoction.

1 part Galliano
1 part strong, hot, freshly brewed coffee
Freshly whipped cream

Pour Galliano into shot glass. Carefully pour in coffee to float it on top of the Galliano, then layer the cream on top.

Mexican Coffee

Viva tequila! Mexican coffee takes a hit from the spicy hot south of the border treat in this recipe for coffee and…

1 oz tequila
6 ounces freshly brewed hot coffee
1/2 ounce Kahlua
Whipped cream to top

Pour the coffee into a heat proof goblet. Add Kahlua and tequila. Float whipped cream on top. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Other Coffee and… liqueurs to try

Stoli Vanil
Creme de Cacao
Creme de Menthe
Grand Marnier
Tia Maria
Flavored Brandies

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