Food & Drink

The Best Coffee Flavored Booze (Beyond Kahlúa)

Courtesy of Crater Lake Spirits

A coffee cocktail will never (and certainly should never) replace your morning cup of joe. But sometimes you want a hint of that delicious, warming, toasty, nutty flavor mixed into your afternoon refresher or nightcap. When that craving hits, turn to one of these coffee-influenced spirits. There’s something for everyone here, from the drinker who wants just a touch of flavor to the coffee addict who wants to be sucked into a java tsunami.

J. Rieger Caffé Amaro ($30)

Somewhere between a traditional coffee liqueur and classic Italian amaro, this unique spirit is flavored with Sumatran coffee along with botanicals like juniper berries, cardamom, orange peel, vanilla beans and gentian. At 31-percent ABV, it’s strong enough and bittersweet enough to sip alone as an after dinner digestif. While the spirit does contain caffeine, it’s the equivalent of about five cups of coffee in the entire bottle, so you don’t have to worry about it keeping you up. All you have to worry about is what happens when the bottle runs dry.

Crater Lake Hazelnut Espresso Vodka ($25)

Infused with real espresso and hazelnuts, and sweetened with brown cane sugar, this Oregon vodka is sweet, nutty and easy to guzzle. You can (and should) certainly drink this coffee spirit solo—either chilled in the freezer or poured over ice—but you can also use it in an ultra-coffee-forward White Russian, a vodka-based Irish Coffee (would that be called a Russian Coffee?) or stirred into a souped-up Espresso Martini.

Stillhouse Black Bourbon ($29)

Though Stillhouse usually deals in out-there flavored whiskeys like coconut or mint chip, their Black Bourbon is much more restrained and traditional. Sold in the company’s signature stainless steel can (though this one is matte black rather than shiny red), the whiskey is first aged in charred new American oak barrels and then rested on roasted coffee beans. The result is a mellow, round bourbon with a coffee backbone. It doesn’t hit you over the head with any java flavors but simply suggests them on the finish.

Durham Distillery Damn Fine Mocha Liqueur ($20)

This extremely creamy liqueur is made with local cold brew coffee, dark chocolate, cream and the distillery’s vodka. It’s so creamy that it actually comes topped with a naturally-formed ganache mocha truffle. Go ahead and eat it, then pour and sip away. It is ultra-decadent liquid dessert or fantastic mixed with iced coffee and cream.

Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur ($40)

The U.S. is finally able to buy this global cult-favorite in stateside stores. Made with high-grade coffee at the Distillery Botanica outside of Sydney in Australia, it is a coffee lover’s liqueur with a lightly bittersweet flavor. At 25-percent ABV, it’s higher proof than many liqueurs and easy to drink without any mixers, simply in a glass over ice.

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