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Coffee liqueurs make a splash in cocktails

Here's my new story in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, June 30.

Coffee liqueurs make a splash in cocktails

by Camper English

The craze for organic, shade-grown, micro-roasted slow-drip coffee has percolated into the cocktail world. Bartenders are improving classic coffee drinks, finding ways to harness the beans' bitter, aromatic qualities rather than just the caffeine kick.

Most cold coffee cocktails served in the past 20 or so years have been variations of the vodka espresso (better known as the espresso martini) credited to British bartender Dick Bradsell and made with vodka, espresso and Kahlua and Tia Maria coffee liqueurs. Nopa bar manager Neyah White updated this drink about three years ago, creating the Blue Bottle martini with Blue Bottle espresso, vodka and Araku coffee liqueur. It was, and is, "a ridiculously big seller," White says.

Coffee liqueur got a good bit more serious with the April release of Firelit Spirits Coffee Liqueur, made with coffee from Oakland's Blue Bottle coffee roasters and brandy from distiller Dave Smith of St. George Spirits in Alameda.

Continue reading the story here

Coffee liqueurs by Camper English in the San Francisco Chronicle

Mike Kepka / The Chronicle

Reza Esmaili at Smuggler's Cove makes a Rear Admiral's Swizzle with Firelit coffee liqueur.