It’s hard to think of a time when coffee cocktails were as popular as they are now. Espresso martinis, iced coffees, and white Russians are all well-known examples that are drunk throughout the year.
Coffee cocktails can range from rich and strong to fruity and sweet. There’s bound to be a coffee cocktail for everyone, even those that don’t like drinking coffee!
You’ll find our pick of 20 of the best coffee cocktails in this article. Whether you prefer something warm and comforting or light and refreshing, keep reading to find your perfect coffee cocktail below!
1. Irish Coffee
We’ll kick our list off with the ever-classic Irish coffee. If you are a coffee enthusiast, you need to give this simple drink a try.
As the name suggests, the cocktail was first made in Ireland and quickly distinguished itself as the mother of all coffee-based cocktails.
The recipe is so simple, as it only needs a few ingredients. Add a shot of Irish whiskey (see also ‘30 Must-Try Whiskey Cocktails‘) into some strong coffee, then sweeten with some brown sugar. Irish coffee’s traditionally a whipped cream topping, but you can leave this out if you prefer.
Every cocktail enthusiast knows how strong a Long Island Iced Tea is, and the same goes for the coffee version!
Just like the original, you will need an array of alcoholic drinks, which are tequila, rum, vodka, Kahlua (see also ‘13 Delicious Kahlua Recipes‘), and Baileys.
It might not sound like these drinks go together, but trust us, when they are shaken up, they turn into an intense and creamy delight.
Serve over ice for a relaxed pick-me-up to start your evening.
If you’re looking for a coffee cocktail to cool you down, give the Bushwacker a try! This fun cocktail is like a mix of a piña colada and a chocolate milkshake. It is velvety smooth and gives off strong chocolate, vanilla, and of course, coffee notes.
Other than the coffee liqueur, another important ingredient in the recipe is cream of coconut, but don’t mix this up with coconut cream! Cream of coconut is a sweet syrup designed for drinks, but coconut cream is a thick cream.
If you’re struggling to tell the difference, cream of coconut will be found in bottles, but coconut cream is usually sold in cans.
4. Irish Winter
This recipe is like an updated version of an Irish coffee. It has a stronger coffee flavor as coffee liqueur is added alongside the coffee.
The liqueur will give the coffee a nice sweet flavor, while the Irish cream and whiskey balance the drink out nicely.
A good tip is to warm up your mug or glass before serving, as this will make sure the cocktail stays warm while you drink it.
Just fill your glass with hot water and leave for a few minutes, or if you’re short on time, microwave the glass for under ten seconds.
This cocktail is an update from the Jungle Bird, a cocktail filled with dark rum, pineapple, and Campari. The Roman Holiday substitutes the rum from the original recipe for Amaro Meletti.
This Italian liqueur has herbal notes including clove, orange peel, and saffron. It delivers a delicious foundation for the other substances to work with. Campari is kept in, giving the cocktail signature orange notes.
Fresh lime, pineapple juice, and demerara syrup keep the drink fruity and sweet, but this is where the coffee comes in. Cold brew coffee gives the cocktail a pleasant bitter base, infusing the whole drink with a rich quality.
Finish off the Roman Holiday with cinnamon and sea salt, as this will make all of the ingredients pop as you drink it.
This next cocktail is a little different from your standard Irish coffees, as it uses Kahlúa Midnight instead of the original liqueur.
Kahlúa Midnight contains a mix of rum and black coffee, which gives the cocktail slightly warmer notes. If you’re not a fan of very sweet Irish coffees, you’ll like this one, as Kahlúa Midnight isn’t as sweet compared to your usual liqueur.
Top your cocktail off with some more Irish cream, or if you’re feeling indulgent, one or two marshmallows.
Cold brew has become even more popular over the past few years. It allows coffee lovers to get their caffeine fix in the hot summer months. Cold brew isn’t just great to start your day, you can mix it with liquor to make a fantastic refreshing cocktail!
This cocktail uses cold brew and bourbon as a base. The bourbon has sweet caramel and vanilla notes that balance out the coffee’s intense flavors.
Triple sec (see also ‘5 Triple Sec Substitutes‘), maple syrup, and heavy cream are then added, giving the drink interesting sweet orange notes that pair well with the bourbon.
Top your cold brew cocktail off with cream for a traditional latte feel!
The mocha is the ultimate indulgent coffee drink, but when you combine it with liquor, it’s even better!
Mocha’s are a mix of coffee and chocolate, so they’re perfect for drinking after a long day. They are also a nice compromise for those who don’t like coffee that much.
This cocktail mixes the same chocolate syrup and espresso that’s used in a mocha, but also uses coffee liqueur for a boozy feel. It’s also poured over ice, so depending on your preference, you can drink it on both hot and cold days.
To give your cocktail that classic mocha look, top yours with a swirl of whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.
You’ve heard of the margarita, but what about the espresso-based version?
Tequila and coffee may not be the most common pairing in the world, but this drink brings the best out of both ingredients.
You’ll use the same tequila and triple sec that’s needed in a margarita, but you’ll swap the lime juice for coffee liqueur and espresso. Don’t make the mistake of leaving the lime juice in – it will not taste good!
While the traditional margarita has a salt rim, leave this out and swap it for sugar instead. If you’re not a fan of sugar, you can try a ground coffee rim instead.
10. Café Royal
A Café Royal may seem like a traditional Irish coffee, but the difference here is it contains more coffee than liquor. This is a great cocktail when you require a caffeine fix, but with a slight twist.
Café Royal’s are very light, so you won’t be able to tell you’re drinking alcoholic coffee. Using half an ounce of liqueur means that the cocktail reaches 2% ABV, which is half the ABV of most beers!
You can also customize this version to your liking. Using cold brew instead of hot coffee will turn it into an iced version, which is great for cooling off during summer.
You can also add some tequila, as the flavors in the liquor complement the sweet liqueur nicely.
Tequila seems like an unusual spirit to mix with coffee, but when you add a bit of coffee liqueur to the mix, the result is quite surprising!
This cocktail is great if you don’t own a shaker, as it doesn’t involve any stirring or shaker. It only involves three ingredients, though you can top yours with some whipped cream and cinnamon if you prefer.
If you want to keep with the Mexican theme, go for Kahlúa as your coffee liqueur, or try flavored coffee for some extra flair.
Cinnamon is such a versatile ingredient. You can add it to anything to give it some spicy notes, including coffee and alcohol!
The star ingredient in this recipe is cinnamon whiskey. It’s added to cold brew coffee and milk, blending to make a refreshing drink that’s great for summer evenings.
The warm notes from the cinnamon whiskey pair well with the depth of the coffee, while milk balances everything out so the drink isn’t too strong.
This is iced coffee with a difference!
13. Espresso Martini
The espresso martini is one of the most famous coffee-based cocktails. It blends the richness of the coffee with the sweetness of the liqueur. Vodka then gives the drink a little edge without overpowering it completely.
The trick to getting the espresso martini right is using st coffee. This is no time for standard instant coffee! It’s best to use robust espresso, as this will ensure that the cocktail has enough intensity.
The cocktail looks best in martini glasses, as this will show off the foam on top nicely. Top the drink with a few coffee beans, then enjoy!
Due to social media, Dalgona coffee has become very popular. This variant of the White Russian uses the same principles to top off the cocktail with whipped coffee.
The key to this drink is the instant coffee grounds. It’s best to use instant coffee brands over espresso or freeze-dried coffee. These types of coffee contain oils that will stop the coffee from foaming up.
Sugar is also a necessary ingredient. The granules will thicken up the water and make the foam bubble walls stronger.
You can make this cocktail, and Dalgona coffee without sugar, but be warned, the foam will collapse quicker than versions with sugar.
15. Espresso Negroni
Negroni’s usually contain a mix of sweet vermouth, gin, and Campari. This is an Italian liqueur that has orange, clove, cinnamon, and cherry notes. The Espresso Negroni is an update from this classic, as it adds coffee to the mix.
Espresso Negroni’s can sometimes taste bitter, but the fruit and wine notes help to balance this out. Negroni’s are already known as a mature cocktail, but adding espresso to the drink only amplifies these qualities.
However, this cocktail is best saved for those that already like the classic Negroni, as it can take time to get used to the drink.
16. Death By Morning
This cocktail might sound like the Death in the Afternoon cocktail made by Ernest Hemingway, but the only ingredient in common here is Hemingway’s favorite alcohol, absinthe.
Absinthe is the foundation of the cocktail, but coffee liqueur is added to give the drink a noticeable rich quality.
It also uses espresso which delivers strong dark notes, but you can use cold brew if you don’t have an espresso machine on hand.
However, if you do choose to use cold brew, remember that this can contain more caffeine than espresso, so avoid drinking the cocktail a few hours before bed.
Some Spanish locals are familiar with drinking coffee and brandy before noon, but this combination is often enjoyed in the evening too.
If drunk in the morning, brandy and coffee will be served in different glasses. People will sip the liquor alongside their first coffee in the daytime.
If drunk in the evening, both of the drinks will be mixed and served together as a Carajilo.
This cocktail plays on the combination of coffee and brandy (see also ‘20 Brandy Cocktails To Treat Yourself At Happy Hour‘) but adds a twist with orange zest and brown sugar. The result is a sweet drink with fruity undertones and bold espresso notes.
Top yours with whipping cream and orange zest for a beautiful finish.
18. The Siciliano
If you like your cocktails strong, you might want to skip this one. The Siciliano is best for people who want a lighter drink.
The Siciliano does have coffee notes, but they aren’t that strong. You’ll notice the cherry flavors from the vermouth more than the coffee.
It’s very gentle on the palate with a pleasant effervescence, reminiscent of a coffee-tasting soda. However, while the drink might be light in taste, be careful, as caffeine and vermouth can quickly hit you without warning!
Pour yours into a martini glass and top with a cherry skewered cocktail stick to finish.
19. Prairie Buzz
You might think that coffee cocktails are mainly drunk at brunch, but the Prairie Buzz is fabulous to enjoy when the sun goes down!
This cocktail is full of liquor, so if you’re a lightweight, you might want to stay away from this one. You’ll need a specific whiskey called Riger’s Kansas City. This is a blend of corn whiskey, rye, bourbon, and a little sherry to finish.
The whiskey is mixed with some cold brew coffee, amaretto, and an aromatized wine known as vino chinato. You won’t need much coffee at all, thanks to the other strong liquors in the drink.
The amaretto does make the Prairie Buzz very sweet, though the pleasant almond notes tone down the strength of the whiskey nicely. The heavy cream also does this and adds a lovely velvety quality to the cocktail.
If you are enjoying this after 5 pm, consider using decaf cold brew to avoid feeling sluggish later.
The Brandy Alexander cocktail traditionally contains creme de cacao, cream, and cognac (see also ‘17 Simple Cognac Cocktails‘). This coffee version is simple to make, as all you need to do is add a little coffee liqueur on top!
As a result, you’ll create a cocktail full of sweet and creamy notes. The cognac and cream blend release vanilla and chocolate notes throughout the drink.
As you add the liqueur in, you’ll notice satisfying rich and bitter flavors that balance the cocktail’s sweet notes.
If you’d like the drink to be a little less sweet, you can substitute the coffee liqueur for an espresso instead, but bear in mind that this may add more caffeine to the drink.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Alcohol To Mix With Coffee?
Lots of alcohol varieties pair well with coffee, but darker spirits, like brandy, rum, and whiskey tend to taste better. These have sweeter, warm notes that harmonize with the bitterness of the coffee.
Liqueurs like Irish cream and Amaretto (see also ‘28 Delicious Amaretto Cocktails‘) are also good choices as they make the coffee sweeter and add different flavors to the drink.
What Is Coffee With Alcohol Called?
Coffee and alcohol can go by many names depending on the ingredients used in the beverage.
Irish Coffee is one of the most well-known coffee and alcohol-based cocktails. The recipe involves mixing Irish whiskey, cream, brown sugar, and coffee.
Another famous example is the White Russian, a drink that mixes coffee liqueur, vodka, and cream.
What Alcohol Is In Hard Coffee?
Hard coffee is another term for alcoholic coffee. This is any coffee-based drink that is mixed with any type of alcohol.
Most hard coffee recipes call for strong coffee mixed with spirits or liqueur, but you may find recipes that mix wine and beer with coffee too.