the best coffee cocktails
It is no secret that the most grown-up of cocktail ingredients is coffee. From the classic Espresso Martini to the lesser-known Patriora, there are dozens of coffee-infused and inspired cocktails on bar menus all over the world. Counteracting the sedative effect of alcohol with the adrenaline spike of caffeine; including fresh coffee made from high quality beans, or coffee liqueur in a cocktail gives the drink a creamier taste and can help deepen other flavours, like chocolate and cream.
If you’re looking for some coffee cocktail inspiration, look no further than our favourite recipes – from some classic cocktail menu choices to some lesser-known favourites from across the world.
The Classic Espresso Martini
The espresso martini is simply the classic. Standing as one of the most iconic coffee-based cocktails on the menu, the cocktail’s origins are unknown, but it’s thought to date back to the 1980s in London. Though not technically a martini due to its lack of gin or vermouth, this drink requires a little more effort on your part, but certainly provides a kick that is worth it!
Espresso Martini Ingredients
75ml espresso coffee, freshly brewed
75ml coffee liqueur
Fresh coffee beans to garnish
How To Make An Espresso Martini
To make the classic espresso martini, first you must make the simple syrup. You’ll need around 100g of golden or ordinary caster sugar. Heat with 50ml of water and stir it until it comes to a boil.
Add all the ingredients, except the coffee beans, and ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake well, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish the froth with three or four individual coffee beans and here you will become a mixologist for the espresso martini!
Reignited in popularity by the 1998 film ‘The Big Lebowski’, a white Russian is named for the Russian people’s favourite tipple – vodka. The star ingredient gives the coffee cocktail an alcoholic kick while still maintaining a distinctive creaminess.
White Russian Ingredients
4tbsp coffee liqueur
2 tbsp double cream
How To Make A White Russian
Simply mix together the vodka, coffee liqueur and cream until settled in a cocktail shaker. Shake well, then strain over a handful of ice cubes in an Old Fashioned glass to enjoy this creamy cocktail.
Irish Coffee Affogato
Part cocktail, part dessert, this drink combines the Italian dessert affogato with the delicious kick of Irish coffee for a creamy, smooth and ice cold after-dinner nightcap. This Irish inspired cocktail is perfect for the whiskey lovers who are looking for a cocktail that provides a kick!
Irish Coffee Affogato Ingredients
Strong coffee in a freshly brewed small pot
2 tbsp Irish whiskey
2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
Chocolate covered coffee beans to finish off and serve.
How To Make An Irish Coffee Affogato
First make the coffee as you normally would. In the meantime, scoop out the ice cream and place it onto a baking sheet in the freezer until you’re ready to use. When the coffee is ready, place one scoop of ice cream into each glass. Pour over the whiskey, then a shot of coffee to each glass. Scatter over the chocolate covered coffee beans and serve - this one is certainly a crowd pleaser.
Chai White Russian
A spin on the classical white Russian, this cocktail uses chai – a mixture of whole spices and milk – in place of cream for a brand-new flavour profile to a familiar favourite. This cocktail is perfect for the colder autumn months if you’re looking for a seasonal yet alcoholic mixture.
Chai White Russian Ingredients
25ml coffee liqueur
75ml chai-infused milk- use spices like ginger, cardamom, clove, allspice, fennel or star anise
How To Make A Chai White Russian
To make the seasonal cocktail, mix the vodka and the chai infused milk together until combined. In a separate glass, pour the coffee liqueur over ice, then pour the milk mixture over the top and serve. This drink serves the perfect winter alcoholic drink for those longing for the warming spices of Chai.
A non-alcoholic alternative can also be created by combining chai drinks with coffee and milk, for a delicious spiced coffee that can be enjoyed any time of day.
Iced Irish Coffee
An Irish coffee is another iconic coffee-based cocktail – this recipe just elevates it to legendary status. The frosty, creamy cocktail is a classical favourite that provides you with the best of both worlds; waking up your taste buds and delivering the perfect Irish inspired kick.
Iced Irish Coffee Ingredients
60ml Irish whiskey
1 tsp ground espresso
2 tsp brown sugar
100ml cold brew coffee
30ml heavy cream
How To Make An Iced Irish Coffee
Combine the espresso and whiskey, then leave to sit for around 15 minutes. Strain it into a cocktail shaker. In another bowl, stir together the hot water and sugar until fully dissolved. Add this to the shaker, alongside the cold brew and some ice. Shake well, then strain and serve in a chilled glass topped with a dollop of cream.
A relative of the white Russian, this after-dinner special leaves out the cream that gives its cousin its name and pairs two simple ingredients together to make a spicy, pungent drink that’ll perk you right up. The Black Russian supposedly first appeared in Brussels in 1949, and has ever since been a firm favourite of many.
Black Russian Ingredients
25ml coffee liqueur
Orange slices to garnish
How To Make A Black Russian
To create the cocktail yourself, simply pour one part vodka over the ice in a rocks glass, then add two parts coffee liqueur. Stir gently to combine the ingredients, then garnish with an orange slice. This serves a delicious mix for any coffee lover to enjoy.
Gingerbread Espresso Martini
A twist on a classic, the gingerbread espresso martini gives a distinctly festive feel to this famous cocktail. If you’re throwing a Christmas party this year and want a signature cocktail to put on the menu, look no further than this naughty but nice concoction that incorporates delicious flavoured coffee syrups.
Gingerbread Espresso Martini Ingredients
25ml espresso coffee, chilled
15ml gingerbread syrup
Coffee beans, to garnish
How To Make A Gingerbread Espresso Martini
Take a chilled martini glass and coat the rim with powdered cinnamon and sugar. In a cocktail shaker, add the vodka, espresso and gingerbread syrup. Shake well. Strain into the prepared martini glasses, garnish with three or four individual coffee beans and serve.
Turkish Coffee Sour
Featuring a base of Turkish coffee and packed with festive spices like cinnamon and cloves, this cocktail is a little trickier to make, but it’s well worth it. The classic and delicious recipe is perfect for those who are fond of warming flavours with a caffeine kick.
Turkish Coffee Sour Ingredients
2tbsp coffee grounds
20g egg whites
75ml spiced rum
25ml lemon juice
How To Make A Turkish Coffee Sour
To create this cocktail, just add the coffee grounds to water, then bring to a boil. Add the cardamom, lemon, cloves and cinnamon. Once boiled, strain through a sieve and leave to cool. Once cooled, add the spiced coffee mix to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, then add the egg whites, rum and lemon juice. Shake well then strain into a coupe or martini glass and serve.
Ramune Iced Coffee
A Japanese inspired cocktail with a caffeine kick, you’ll need to prepare some of the ingredients of this deceptively simple drink the night before so it has time to cool properly before use. The simple whiskey concoction has that perfect kick of coffee along with a great level of sweetness for your sweet taste buds.
Lemon peel, to garnish
How To Make A Ramune
First, you must boil a kettle, and in a heatproof bowl, add the honey into around 100ml of boiling water until combined. Leave this overnight in the fridge to cool completely. It should have a syrupy consistency when you come to use it.
To make the cocktail, pour the whisky and around 15ml of the honey syrup into a pint glass. Add the bitters to your preferred taste, then add ice. Stir together – the longer you stir, the less pungent the taste of the alcohol. Strain the liquid into a fresh glass, then garnish with lemon peel. For iced coffee drinks without the strong alcoholic mix, PureGusto’s range of iced coffee and frappe mixes are the perfect alternatives for an iced coffee mix without the whiskey kick.
Dark and stormy
A caffeinated twist on the famous Caribbean cocktail, there’s a tropical and spicy flavour profile to this little-known drink – perfect if you’re looking for a slice of summer while still celebrating the colder months. This delicious and easy to make cocktail is the perfect refreshment for those who favour a true kick to their drinks.
Dark and Stormy Ingredients
50ml Dark rum
4tbsp Freshly brewed espresso
How To Make A Dark and Stormy
In a highball glass, pour the rum and tequila over plenty of ice and stir. Top with the ginger beer, then slowly pour the espresso into the glass. Stir gently to combine and serve for a real, rich mixture.
Not dissimilar to the white Russian, consider the Colorado bulldog as its American cousin thanks to one of its key ingredients – Coca Cola. Coffee and Coke are often paired together and give this creamy cocktail a fizzy, deep flavour.
Colorado Bulldog Ingredients
30ml coffee liqueur
60ml Coca Cola
How To Make A Colorado Bulldog
Fill an Old-Fashioned glass with ice. Pour over equal parts vodka to coffee liqueur. Pour in the cream and allow it to settle briefly before adding the cola. You can add as much or as little of this as you prefer. Stir well and serve.
If you want to have both dessert and cocktails, look no further than the affogato martini. Affogato has already made one appearance with an Irish twist but, with this drink, we’re returning to the dessert’s more classical, humble origins. Don’t forget to bring out the good vanilla ice cream for this sweet, caffeinated treat.
Affogato Martini Ingredients
60ml Vanilla vodka
30ml Crème de cacao – or chocolate liqueur
60ml Coffee liqueur
Vanilla ice cream
How To Make An Affogato Martini
Add the vodka, crème de cacao and the coffee liqueur to a cocktail shaker. Add in a handful of ice cubes to the shaker, close and shake well – at least until the mixture has chilled fully. Pour the mixture into a chilled martini glass and top with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream. Make sure to serve with a spoon so you can get all of the last drops of the ice cream after you finish your cocktail.
The perfect cocktail to serve once dinner and dessert have been whisked away from the table, the Siciliano brings a taste of Italy to your coffee cocktail. With sweeter, citrus flavours running through, it’s a great cocktail for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Ingredients include 4oz sweet vermouth – Italian is preferred, 3oz amaro, 3oz strong cold-brew coffee, 2oz simple syrup, and either sparkling water or tonic water depending on your taste bud’s preferences.
How To Make A Siciliano
To create this mixture, place the simple syrup, vermouth, amaro and coffee into a tumbler glass. Add ice liberally, then top off with your soft drink of choice – sparkling water, tonic water, lemonade or club soda all work well. Stir, then garnish with a wheel or wedge of fresh orange.
Intense, aromatic and deliciously creamy, the café amore is a lesser-known coffee cocktail. Blending components of France and Ireland, this simple cocktail has a distinctive taste to it and is otherwise known as the ‘French Connection’ cocktail. This is a great cocktail to enjoy during the winter months – you can still get a delicious cocktail without having to sacrifice any warmth!
Café Amore Ingredients
How To Make A Café Amore
Dust the rim of a coffee cup with sugar and lemon juice, and brew the coffee with some cinnamon sticks for a boost of flavour. Pour the amaretto and cognac into a tall glass – as you would use if you were drinking an Irish Coffee – then add the hot coffee. Stir, then top with generous amounts of whipped cream. Sprinkle shaved almonds on top to garnish.
A cocktail native to Southern Spain, the carajillo is one that you can drink at any time of the day without getting strange looks from the people around you. At its core, it only has two ingredients in it – coffee and the famous Andalusian liquor, Licor 43. If you don’t happen to have Andalusian liquor nearby, there are plenty of alternatives you can use.
Spanish Carajillo Ingredients
1 shot Espresso coffee
20ml Licor 43, or vodka or whiskey if you can’t find Licor 43
Sugar, to sweeten and taste
1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder
How To Make A Spanish Carajillo
Brew a shot of espresso – and make sure not to fill it all the way to the top. Add one small shot of Licor 43 into the coffee, then add some sugar to sweeten it to your taste. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon for a hint of spice and enjoy this Andalusian classic.
Built around the popular Italian shakerato, which is essentially an iced espresso, this alcoholic relative of the Shakerato has an extra twist. Perfect for the summertime, this iced coffee spin-off gained popularity from a recipe by barista and coffee consultant James Hoffman.
Caffe Shakerato Ingredients
45ml Fresh espresso
30ml Coffee liqueur
60ml Amaro Averna
How To Make A Caffe Shakerato
Add all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker alongside a generous amount of ice. Shake well – for at least fifteen to twenty seconds. Double strain the liquid into a chilled coupe glass. For an extra twist, put a few droplets of lemon juice on top of the drink as well as a peel of lemon to garnish.
A spiked version of a traditional black coffee, there’s a particular showmanship that you can bring when serving the café royale. Simple in its making, it makes use of just one type of alcohol to enhance the flavour of the black coffee and is a great tipple for after a good meal.
Café Royale Ingredients
Freshly brewed espresso coffee
A sugar cube
How To Make A Café Royale
Brew the coffee and pour it into a cup – larger than an espresso size, but not so large that you’ll need a lot of coffee. Once poured, rest a spoon over the rim of the cup and place a sugar cube and a small amount of brandy on it. Grab a match and set the brandy alight – it’s quite spectacular! Once the flames have died down, pour the sugar and brandy mix into the coffee, stir and enjoy.
Another way to enhance the classic espresso martini, this one isn’t for the faint-hearted. What gives this cocktail its name is the presence of Absinthe – a drink traditionally associated with the bars and bistros of Paris.
Flying Frenchman Ingredients
30ml Coffee liqueur
30ml Fresh espresso
How To Make A Flying Frenchman
In a cocktail shaker, combine a handful of crushed ice with the coffee, liqueur and absinthe. Shake well until combined, then strain into a coupe glass. If desired, garnish your Flying Frenchman with some Star Anise to bring out the flavour of the absinthe.
This Cuban inspired cocktail brings the Cuban love of good coffee into the cocktail bar. Featuring the flavours of mint, chocolate and the sweetness of famous Cuban coffee, the cocktail originated in 1862 at the Bacardi Distillery.
2tbsp Caster sugar
Strong espresso coffee
45ml White rum (Barcadi is traditional)
10ml Mint Liqueur
10ml Chocolate cream liqueur
Mint sprigs, to garnish
How To Make A Patriota
First, make the coffee. Whip the sugar a spoonful at a time with a few drops of the hot coffee until you have a smooth paste. Then add the rest of the coffee and stir until the sugar has fully dissolved and the top is a little foamy.
For the cocktail, combine the coffee mixture with the rum and liqueurs in a shaker with plenty of ice. Shake well until the shaker is cold to the touch. Strain into a pre-chilled glass – either an old sour or martini glass. Serve with a sprig of mint for garnishings and you will quickly be named the master of creating a cocktail.
Coffee Old Fashioned
The old fashioned is an iconic cocktail – in fact, it’s believed to be the first drink ever to have actually been called a ‘cocktail’. The drink of choice for Mad Men’s Don Draper; coffee is added to this version to give it a caffeinated kick, deepening the flavour of the bitters that feature in the original recipe.
Coffee Old Fashioned Ingredients
45ml Rye whiskey
25ml Coffee liqueur
Orange peel, to garnish
How To Make A Coffee Old Fashioned
Fill a glass with as much ice as is preferred. Then, add the whiskey, liqueur and orange bitters. Stir gently until combined, with the glass just getting frosty. Squeeze a little of the orange oil from the peel, then add it as a garnish to the glass.