Coffee and alcohol are a winning combination. From the occasional shot of whiskey to the rich taste of Vana Tallinn, there are many, many ways to enjoy your coffee-alcohol mix. Let’s take a look at our recommendation of the best liquors to mix with your coffee. And no, it’s not just Irish coffee.
Why mix alcohol with your coffee?
Because you are an adult and because you can. Because you enjoy your coffee and your liquor, and there is nothing better in the world than combining the things you love. Sometimes you just need a little boost before or during the awkward hanging out with your weird relatives. The decent reason is that coffee and alcohol pair together really great. Coffee-based cocktails have been a part of social events for decades.
The hair of the dog is another great reason to add alcohol to your coffee. Nothing better than a hot, spiked coffee to start your morning feeling like a human being. Also, to reduce the influence the last evening had on your body and mind.
10 best types of alcohol to mix with your coffee
Baileys Irish Cream
Baileys is usually the first thing that comes to our mind when we think about the best alcohol to mix with coffee. It is a rich, velvety mixture of cream and good Irish whiskey.
You can add Baileys to everything, from your morning espresso to cold brews or French press coffee. Best part? Baileys comes in different flavours, from the original Irish Cream to almond, strawberries&cream, pumpkin spice, and many more. It even has vegan versions to pair well with your vegan coffee beans.
Vana Tallinn is one of the things I immediately fell in love with when I arrived in Estonia. Mostly because I already love rum. But this perfect mixture of rum, herbs, citrus fruits, and spice is something else. The taste is exquisite and carries a punch, although it is innocent on the first try.
You can add it to mulled wine, cocktails, or coffee. Coffee with Vana Tallinn and cream is known as Tallinn Coffee – an Estonian version of the renowned Irish coffee. This is usually one of the first things tourists try in the Old Town cafes.
You can buy Vana Tallinn in various flavours, from Wild Spices to Dark Liquorice. My personal favourite is Vana Tallinn Heritage Edition.
After tequila, Kahlua is the most famous Mexican invention. This liqueur is made from shade-grown coffee beans and fine sugarcane rum. Combine that, and you get the world’s most popular and most sold coffee liqueur. Kahlua goes well with any cup of Joe you can brew and has found its place in almost all coffee-based cocktails.
Kahlua also comes in different flavours, from mint mocha to vanilla. The classical flavour is still the most popular one.
As you can see with Kahlua and Vana Tallinn, rum and coffee pair very well. Dark rum is one of the best things you can add to your coffee. Also, one of the strongest, so don’t overdo it.
At Christmas time, you can usually get a spiced version of your favourite rum. Make the most of it and prepare an unforgettable holiday coffee. Add cinnamon, ginger, and star anise.
Dark rum and dark roasts are the things you should strive for.
Admit it, you have been waiting for the Irish coffee the whole time. A rich concoction of aged whiskey, sugar, coffee and whipped cream has put smiles on our faces for decades. For maximum pleasure, try to match the flavour notes of your whiskey to the notes of your beans. Smokey goes well with smokey.
If you are just starting your spiking journey, just remember that any whiskey goes well with darker roasts.
If you grew tired of the Irish Coffee, add a shot of whiskey to your Vietnamese coffee, and you won’t be disappointed.
Although it sounds unusual, tequila pairs well with coffee that has brighter notes. Combine your tequila with some Mexican or Central American beans, and you will have a light yet bitter drink to enjoy. Leave the lime and salt out of it.
For all-Mexican coffee, add a shot of tequila and another shot of Kahlua to your coffee. Optionally, you can add whipped cream, cinnamon and/or cocoa powder.
Brandy makes a fine addition to your coffee, especially if it is a Cognac. Cafe Royale recipe includes adding Cognac, sugar and cream to your coffee. This aristocratic drink was usually enjoyed as a dessert.
Brandy has a beautiful fruity aftertaste, so pick your coffee beans to pair it evenly. Medium roasts are our choice, and you should try them, too. For an even fruitier experience, try Grand Marnier – a Cognac infused with bitter orange.
This time, it’s not about the famous Finnish breakfast.
Vodka has a neutral taste, so it won’t make too much difference for your tastebuds. Some people prefer flavoured vodka of mixing with coffee, especially vanilla flavoured.
The Big Lebowsky popularized the White Russian, as vodka-coffee cooperation. Technically, that cocktail is made without coffee, but with coffee liqueur, usually Kahlua.
Espresso Martini is still the most famous way to enrichen your espresso with vodka. Just mix one shot of espresso, one shot of vodka and one shot of Kahlua. Martini glass is mandatory.
Frangelico is an Italian liqueur made by infusing alcohol with herbs, along with toasted and crushed hazelnuts. The name is in honour of the legend of Fra Angelico, Italian hermit monk and creator of the recipe.
Some Frangelico variations include adding vanilla beans, honey or cacao. Few drops of Frangelico are the best addition to your morning espresso, along with any other darker coffee roasts. Frangelico can have a pretty high percentage of sugar (up to 40%!), so go easy on the dosage.
Amaretto is famous Italian liquor, made from bitter almonds. Or sometimes, from apricot kernels, peach stones, or any other source of that charming bitter taste. The flavour is subtle, but it packs a punch to your tastebuds. However, it will not overpower the taste of your beans, so it’s best enjoyed with subtler, light roasts. Amaretto is a perfect addition to Peruvian, Brasilian and Colombian beans with notes of chocolate and nuts.
Who shouldn’t be mixing alcohol with coffee
EstoniaCoffee team doesn’t encourage the usage of alcohol, especially among our underage readers. Nobody should sell or give alcohol to underage children, as it is against the law in every country ever.
Now that we got that legal part covered, let’s continue further.
Caffeine masks the usual side effects of alcohol. In other terms, coffee makes you feel like you didn’t drink that much. Sadly, caffeine doesn’t sober you up. It just masks your alcohol intoxication better.
The second part is dehydration. Alcohol and coffee are both diuretics. And when consumed together, you have dehydration waiting to happen. The usual symptoms are:
- dry mouth
- the dark colour of your urine
- feeling lightheaded
- excess thirst
- one hell of hangover in the morning
Drink responsibly, people. One coffee cocktail or one spiked cup of coffee is enough per day. You can let out some steam on weekend nights, but don’t overdo it. Alcohol and coffee can create the “perfect storm”, especially for younger drinkers.
One shot of conclusion
When trying to find the best alcohol to mix with your coffee, don’t be afraid to experiment. Try to add your local, less known products to your coffee to produce an original mixture of tastes. And of course, feel free to send us any recipes or experiments that turned out good. We are always open to new stuff.
This list is not final. We just added the alcohol we like to drink with our coffee. Lots of great liqueurs are still out there. Try your coffee with Chartreuse, Jägermeister or Amarula, and let us know how that went. Pics or it didn’t happen.
And once more, drink responsibly.