One of my favorite memories of coffee is drinking hot Irish coffee in Galway after a plunge into the bay. It was the perfect combination of a warming brew and an invigorating nip of Irish whiskey and helped pass the time while my pants dried by the pub’s fireplace.
Suppose it’s the middle of summer, though? You can still enjoy coffee and alcohol together, and it doesn’t have to come in a steaming mug. Nothing cuts the driving summer heat and wakes you up like a nice cup of cold brew coffee. Add your favorite rum, whiskey, or vodka to that, and you’ve got a cold brew cocktail fit for your vacation or weekend.
Enter the cold brew cocktail.
What is Cold Brew?
Cold brew is essentially coffee brewed in cold or room-temperature water for up to 24 hours to produce a different flavor experience than coffee brewed in hot water. Cold brew can be made in two forms: ready-to-serve or concentrate. The concentrated form keeps for longer in your refrigerator. Simply dilute some with water or milk when you are ready to drink it.
An advantage of making cold brew at home is that it’s very difficult to mess up. Whether you steep it for 12 hours, 18 hours, or 24 hours, each brew has a different flavor, but every variation is delicious.
Cold brew is a smoother coffee, with much less acidity than coffee brewed hot. It tends to be best when made from a coffee bean with sweet and fruity notes.
How to Make a Cold Brew Cocktail
Because caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, you might assume one cancels out the other. While you might feel more alert from coffee with alcohol, the combination does not impact your blood alcohol level. Because of this, you are more likely to drive while intoxicated since you don’t feel as drunk. Like I said before, be a responsible adult and you should be fine.
The internet is full of recipes for cold brew cocktails that combine the flavor wizardry of baristas and bartenders. Put simply, it is cold brew coffee with alcohol added. Before you can make your cocktail, though, you will need to make a batch of cold brew.
Making Cold Brew
Cold brew’s popularity and mystique have made a lot of people think it’s a specialty drink that only experts can prepare. It’s simpler than many kinds of hot coffee, as long as you measure your ingredients correctly. Hot coffee can get too strong and bitter if you steep it for too long. The whole point of cold brew is to steep it for a long time.
The ratio of grounds to water for cold brew varies depending on whether you make ready-to-serve or cold brew concentrate. For a ready-to-serve cold brew, use a grounds-to-water ratio of 1:15. For cold brew concentrate, a ratio of 1:6 should be suitable.
Another benefit to cold brew is how long it keeps. Hot coffee only retains its flavor for a short while, but you can store cold brew for up to two weeks. In that case, you might as well brew a big batch. It won’t take you two weeks to finish drinking it though, right?
What You Will Need
- Coarsely ground coffee beans
- Cold or room temperature water
- A large pitcher or jar
- A strainer
Time to Brew
Add coffee grounds to cold or room temperature water, with ratios measured out according to whether you want your coffee in concentrated form or ready-to-serve.
Stir the water and coffee mixture. Leave the coffee to steep for 12-24 hours in your refrigerator. We recommend putting it in the fridge overnight. Your brew will steep while you sleep, and you can wake up to a nice cool cuppa.
When you’ve brewed your mixture as much as you want, pour it through a strainer to filter out the grounds.
Voila! Cold brew coffee.
Pick Your Poison
The amount of liquor you put into your cold brew cocktail depends on your coffee and alcohol preferences. Especially in concentrated form, cold brew is high in caffeine. Combined with alcohol, it can have a strong effect. We’re all adults here. Use your best judgment.
When mixing a cold brew cocktail, baristas or bartenders (we think both apply here) add popular ingredients from the worlds of coffee and alcohol. Some cold brew cocktails are sweetened with simple syrup or honey and topped with foam, while others have bitters and lemon juice added. There’s no definite place where the coffee ends and the cocktail begins.
Some popular liquors to add to a cold brew cocktail include vodka, coffee liqueur, rum, whiskey, and vermouth. Enjoy your cold brew cocktail with cream and rum, or with vodka and lemon. It’s the best of both worlds.
Say Hello to the Boozy Brew
Cold brew has spiked in popularity in recent years, and the next natural step was to spike it with alcohol. After all, we’ve been pouring liquor into hot coffee for a long time, so cold brew cocktails are a given at this point. No matter the weather, caffeine and alcohol find a way to mix.
The possibilities for cold brew cocktails are just as abundant as for any mixer. A rum and coke can easily become a rum and cold brew. Vodka mixes just as well with cold brew as it does with lemonade. Just like with hot coffee, a nip of whiskey or rum is just the thing to round out your caffeinated beverage.
Experiment with your cocktail ideas, or find a recipe that uses your favorite liquor. Enjoy a cold brew cocktail at your favorite bar, or be your own barista and enjoy a cool, caffeinated, alcoholic beverage without leaving your house.