Wine Importing and Marketing Services

The Right Coffee for Every Java-Spiked Cocktail


Interest in caffeinated concoctions continues to rise due to timeless cocktails like the creamy, hot-cold Irish coffee and invigorating espresso martini. But not all these drinks benefit from the same type of coffee application, roast or tasting notes.  

The array of specialty coffee beans on the market is staggering, each flaunting a distinctive set of characteristics. Selecting which variety to incorporate into a cocktail is just as overwhelming (and important) as deciding what goes into the morning French press.  

Here, experts break down exactly what kind of coffee to use for all of your java cocktails. 

What Is the Best Coffee to Use in Your Cocktail?    

Cocktail recipes most often call for either freshly brewed coffee or espresso, says Gabe Sanchez, general manager at Midnight Rambler in Dallas and the type of coffee you choose is vital to the success of the finished product.  

“While the flavor profiles aren’t going to come through like they would if you are drinking a fresh pour-over, they are still going to add to the cocktail or muddle the flavor you are working toward,” explains Sanchez. 

No two brews are alike, so Sanchez advises seeking out a trusty local roaster with staff that has the expertise to differentiate between filter and espresso roasts or explain the qualities of a brew hailing from regions like Guatemala and Yemen. Sanchez personally turns to Dallas-based coffee roaster, Full City Rooster, for advice. The team has helped him discover a penchant for clove and nutty layers in darker roasts and floral ones in softer iterations.  

Lindsey Hawes, the lead bartender at Bar Marilou in New Orleans, takes a similar route. She uses robust coffee blends that won’t succumb to strong spirits like bourbon or tequila and will round out the sweetness of syrups or cordials.  

“I look for lighter and more floral coffees when I want to incorporate a more delicate spirit like Japanese whisky or gin,” she elaborates. “No matter what spirit you’re using, you want to be extra sure to avoid burnt or overly acidic flavors.”   

Of course— always use a fresh brew. “You want to get coffee as close to it being harvested as possible to get the best flavor from the coffee bean,” recommends Aidan Bowie, beverage director at The Dead Rabbit in New York City.