Archive | Cocktails RSS feed for this section

Unexpected Elegance: Spiked Coffee Creations

17 Nov


The phrase “coffee cocktail” usually conjures images of milky drinks such as the White Russian. Personally, I am a fan of drinks that pair coffee and alcohol and will disregard the fact that it is a dangerous marriage of a stimulant and depressant. But the only thing that keeps me from ordering these drinks at the bar is the fact that most of these drinks contain dairy. And I’m not the only one.

Frank Bruni, a writer for the New York Times, feels the same way. But his opinion is changing thanks to Troy Sidle, creator of the coffee cocktail menus at Randolph at Broome and Fort Defiance. After tasting several of Sidle’s creations, realized that a successful coffee cocktail didn’t need to be a milky mess in order for the coffee and liquor to shine without being overpowering. One key factor in making these dairy-less coffee cocktails is a deeper understanding of coffee’s many nuances:

“It’s an extreme challenge to balance coffee as an element, because it’s so incredibly complex,” explained Mr. Sidle, a consultant who helped develop these drinks specifically for the Randolph. “It has acids, sugars, waxes, oils.”

“A great cup of black coffee is inherently balanced,” he added. Monkey with it, he said, and you risk throwing everything out of whack. Across five fastidiously composed coffee cocktails, he took that chance with Bulleit bourbon, Sailor Jerry rum, Laird’s apple brandy, Landy cognac and Ramazzotti, an Italian amaro, among other spirits. For sweetener he used house-made syrups and to round those out he used house-made salt solutions. He shook and strained and added orange, lemon or grapefruit peels.

Makes sense right? Each coffee variety has its own unique nuances in terms of flavor and once these are understood, it can become a very versatile ingredient to work with. Hopefully some restaurants/bars in the Los Angeles area have jumped on this bandwagon because I am ready to experience this new, exciting drink experience.