As reported elsewhere in this issue, the espresso Martini is one of the most requested cocktails. It wouldn’t be possible to make one without a coffee liqueur. Here’s a look at a few of the options available.
Perhaps the most instantly recognisable is Kahlua. Part of the Pernod Ricard stable, the coffee flavoured liqueur is made in Veracruz, Mexico. The spirit used in this drink is rum which is blended with sugar and Arabica coffee.
Pernod Ricard acquired the brand in 2005 when it bought out Allied Domecq, the makers of this popular drink. Its alcohol content is 20% by volume and bartenders all around the world are unanimous that it’s a must as part of their toolkit when making an espresso martini.
Literally translated from its original Spanish, Tia Maria means Aunty Mary. The story goes that it has its roots in an old family recipe belonging to a Spanish aristocratic family who moved to Jamaica before fleeing during colonial strife, leaving a housemaid – Maria – with the recipe.
The sweet liqueur has a strong coffee flavour courtesy of the cold brew extraction from 100% Arabica beans which is blended with Madagascan vanilla and Jamaican rum. Italian liquor giant Ilva Saronno acquired the Tia Maria brand in 2009 and while it’s now manufactured in Italy, it remains the same popular drink, distributed in 60 countries globally.
One of the best ways to enjoy Tia Maria is in a revolver cocktail:
30ml Tia Maria
2 dashes orange bitters
Twist of orange zest for garnish
Combine the Bourbon, Tia Maria and bitters in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice. Stir until cold and then strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze the orange zest over the cocktail to release the essential oils over the drink before adding it to the drink.
A newcomer to the scene is a proud – creamy – local: Amarula Ethiopian Coffee. Amarula has firmly established itself as one of the world’s leading cream liqueurs and in the past few years has extended its appeal, adding a Raspberry Chocolate as well as a Vanilla flavour.
It’s been reported that there are 56 botanicals in Jägermeister – and when served ice cold, the drink shows its intense herbal flavours to full effect. In 2019 the brand added a new variant to its line-up: Jägermeister Cold Brew – the first new addition in 80 years!
As the name indicates, cold brew coffee from Arabica beans has been added to the mix but so has a touch of cocoa. New Orleans bar manager Jason Sorbert said this was his top choice of coffee-flavoured drinks. “While it still has the rich coffee flavours you would expect,” he said on Spruceeats.com, “it also still carries the top notes of anise and menthol from the Jägermeister base, making it a well-rounded and complex product.” This product is not available in South Africa.
It was reported in the British trade magazine, The Grocer, that sales in the important UK market were worth just £550 000 – or R11 million. Apparently the pandemic lockdown saw folks turn to Patron XO Café in a big way, recording sales of £1.9 million (R38 million), but the almost fourfold increase was not enough to provide a stay of execution. Coincidentally, the market for straight Tequila is booming so it made commercial sense for Patron to focus on the neat spirit rather than the flavour variant.
Amarula Coffee Surprise
50ml Amarula Ethiopian Coffee
3 Tbsp (45ml) instant coffee
2 Tbsp (30ml) sugar
3 Tbsp (45ml) boiling water
To make: Whisk the coffee, sugar and boiling water in a bowl for approximately 5 minutes until the mixture is thick and fluffy with stiff peaks. Add ice to a glass. Pour milk and Amarula Ethiopian Coffee over the ice. Spoon over dalgona cream coffee mix to layer.
(Footnote: It was reported in early 2020 that Jameson, the triple distilled Irish whiskey, had taken the plunge and launched a new product – Jameson Cold Brew. As the popular whiskey brand’s website states: “Coffee and Irish whiskey are no strangers in the glass, but we had a feeling there was more to this story. And so began the search for a fresh new take on this classic combination. The result? Jameson Cold Brew.
“Jameson smoothness meets cold brew coffee richness, made with 100% Arabica beans sourced from Brazil and Colombia, for notes of toasted oak and dark chocolate. Perfect over ice, or mixed with tonic or cola and a wedge of orange, and always shared amongst friends.”