Caffeinated Spirits: Coffee and Tea Infused Spirits for a Happy Hour RushBy Anna Archibald
At the end of the day, there’s little more exciting than the prospect of happy hour. But sometimes we need a little boost—not unlike that of our morning caffeine rush—in order to keep going. Luckily, there’s a wide variety of delicious caffeinated spirits on the market that will give your happy hour the buzz it wants and needs. Whether you’re looking for a true dose of energy-giving goodness or just a whisper of java flavor, these are the most exciting coffee and tea infused sips on the market.
Launched in November 2018, Delevante is a collaboration between Still Austin Whiskey Co. and local coffee roaster Spokesman Coffee. Playing on the distillery’s strong suit, the caffeinated liqueur is made with a base of whiskey. It’s then infused with coffee flavor and sweetened—but not too much.
There’s a nice underpinning of heat on this liqueur, but it’s balanced beautifully with coffee and chocolate notes. Though rich, it’s not saccharine, and would make a lovely addition to any simple whiskey cocktail—like the Old Fashioned—that requires an element of sweetness.
This beautifully flavored gin combines two of Britain’s greatest exports: gin and tea—in no particular order. From the get-go, it has a wonderful aroma thanks to the Yorkshire tea used to infuse the base Masons original gin. The palate is equally exciting, with spicy juniper and cardamom notes first, then delicate, unmistakable tea flavors to finish.
While this caffeinated spirit might be tricky to mix into many classic cocktails while maintaining balance (though it never hurts to try), it doesn’t need much more than a little soda water, ice and a swatch of lemon or orange rind to shine.
Made in partnership between Madcap Coffee and Long Road Distillers—both based in Grand Rapids, MI—Amaro Pazzo launched in mid-December 2018. It’s infused not only with Madcap’s Reko coffee, but also Turkish rhubarb, myrrh, citrus and wormwood, among other botanicals. The result is a caffeinated spirit with a warming bittersweet flavor akin to a traditional Italian amaro with lovely rich, creamy undertones of fruity java.
It’s bottled at a mild 57 proof, making it just as easy to sip on its own as in cocktails. This would be a fantastic option for mixing into a Black Manhattan, or used in any cocktail that calls for a traditional bittersweet amaro.
Wigle has earned a reputation of creating unusual and whimsically packaged spirits, and this coffee offering is no exception. It’s lighter bodied and concentrated with prominent cinnamon flavors, accompanied by licorice and chocolate. This liqueur is not overly sweetened and the coffee flavor shines through.
This liqueur is best mixed into cocktails, particularly those based with rum or aged tequila. Also, it would likely do very well to add a touch of sweetness to slightly bitter hot chocolate.
Boasting a buzz-worthy 467mg of caffeine per bottle—which equals somewhere near five cups of regular joe—this amaro will give you the proper energy boost you’re looking for. Also a take on the classic Italian bittersweet amaro, this bottling leans more toward the bitter side.
Kansas City, MO’s J. Rieger & Co. developed this amaro with coffee sourced from local Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters. One sip earns a mouthful of spiced flavor, dancing from anise and cardamom to orange peel and vanilla. Thanks to its bitter lean, this amaro will likely do best mixed into whiskey or rum cocktails.