Coffee and Cocktails

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What is the ideal ratio of coffee to alcohol?

With the cold weather approaching, a warm cup of coffee is a must have in the mornings. But if you’re thinking about adding a little spirit to your morning coffee, it is important to know the do’s and don’t’s of mixing coffee and alcohol. The flavor of some types of alcohol pairs better with certain types of coffee. Similarly, there are certain roasts and types of coffee that will taste better when they are paired with alcohol.

coffee beans

How to choose an appropriate coffee

Choosing coffee to be paired with alcohol requires careful consideration. First, you want to choose a roast that is appropriate for your alcohol of choice. Coffee comes in a variety of roasts including dark and light roasts.

Dark or light roasts mean the color of the bean after roasting. A dark roast means that the bean is almost charred and looks dark. Longer roasting processes produce more powerful flavors. Dark roasts contain less caffeine compared to lighter roasts. Because alcohol is a depressant, some people choose the darker roast because they want to limit the amount of caffeine they combine with alcohol.

Choosing the right alcohol for your coffee

First, when choosing an alcohol to mix with coffee, you never want to mix a high-quality liquor. Instead, choose a middle range liquor that is not too bitter or overwhelming. Some good options are Kahlua, Amaretto, or Bailey’s Irish Cream.

However, if you choose a lighter roast with mild flavors, you may want to choose liquor with a little more taste and depth. Once you have chosen your coffee’s alcoholic counterpart, you should choose the amount of liquor to mix.

To begin, you should never serve more than a shot of alcohol with a cup of coffee. In fact, you should present the shot along with the coffee and let the drinker pour the amount of alcohol they desire. If the dark roast or alcohol is too bitter for your taste, you can also add sugar, vanilla, or an egg white to enhance or sweeten the flavor.

coffee cup

Considerations for pairing alcohol and coffee

The most obvious consideration to make when pairing alcohol and coffee is to make sure you consider your safety when consuming alcohol, in general. Although you may feel extra alert, your motor skills might be impaired.

Also, alcohol is a depressant and has the opposite effect on similar pathways where caffeine acts as a stimulant. Make sure you know how the combination of alcohol and caffeine will affect your body. The last thing you want is to start feeling unwell after drinking.

The overall rule to making any cocktail, including an alcohol and coffee mix, is to drink what you enjoy. There are many great recipes out there, but the best way for you to discover what you enjoy is to try different combinations and experiment with adding elements like vanilla to enhance the flavor. So the next time you are tailgating or enjoying a morning pick me up with friends try your hand at making the perfect coffee and alcohol mix.

Guest Post from Sarah Jones

Bio: Sarah is the author of We Dream of Coffee. She enjoys having a different type of mix now and again, but what she loves most is the passion and effort it takes to make a great cup of coffee.

sarah jones