Recipes for coffee cocktails

Get into the New Year’s spirit

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

Whether you tend to rev up for the New Year or ease into it gently, a coffee cocktail will get you there in style. I like to use a dark roast, brewed fresh and strong and served hot, to show off the coffee’s complexity and help it stand up to the spirits. Or, for alcohol-free cheer, try the Mexican and Viennese recipes here. A trick: I warm the glasses or mugs by filling them with boiling water for 2 minutes, which I empty out just before mixing the drinks. And a Happy New Year to all!



Makes 2 drinks

1/3 cup heavy cream, cold

4 teaspoons light brown sugar

4 ounces Irish whiskey

12 ounces (1 ½ cups) hot coffee

In a medium bowl, briskly whisk the cream until thickened but still pourable (just short of soft peaks), about 45 seconds, and set aside.


In each of 2 heat-safe glasses mix 2 teaspoons brown sugar and 2 ounces whiskey, and stir to begin dissolving the sugar. Add ¾ cup coffee to each glass and stir. Very gently spoon half of the whisked cream into each glass so it floats on the surface of the liquid, and serve at once.


Makes 2 drinks

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4 ounces brandy or cognac

3 ounces Grand Marnier or Cointreau

4 large strips zest from 1 orange

8 large strips zest from 1 lemon

2 cinnamon sticks

12 whole cloves

4 teaspoons sugar

12 ounces (1 ½ cups) hot coffee

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the brandy or cognac, Grand Marnier or Cointreau, orange and lemon zest, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and sugar, swirling pan to dissolve sugar. Continue to heat mixture, stirring or swirling pot, until fragrant and just beginning to steam, about 8 minutes.

Using a long safety match, carefully ignite the mixture and allow to burn for about 45 seconds; add the coffee (this should extinguish the flame – if it does not, snuff it out by covering the pot with a lid) and swirl to mix. Strain or ladle the mixture (leaving solids behind) into 2 mugs and serve at once.



Makes 2 drinks



2/3 cup heavy cream, half of it softly whipped

2 teaspoons brown sugar

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling

12 ounces (1½ cups) hot coffee

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the 1/3 cup unwhipped cream and the brown sugar to a simmer, stirring frequently, about 1 ½ minutes. Add chocolate and the 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, and melt the chocolate, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Whisking vigorously, add the coffee in a slow, steady stream. Add vanilla and whisk to combine.

Divide the mixture between 2 mugs or heat-safe glasses. Very gently spoon half of the whipped cream into each mug so it floats on the surface of the liquid, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon, and serve at once.


Makes 2 drinks


1 ½ ounces Grand Marnier or Cointreau

1 ½ounces Kahlua or other coffee liqueur

1 ½ ounces dark creme de cacao

12 ounces (1 ½ cups) hot coffee

2 orange twists, for garnish

1/3 cup heavy cream, softly whipped

In each of 2 mugs, mix half of the Grand Marnier or Cointreau and half of the Kahlua and creme de cacao, and swirl to warm the liquors. Add ¾ cup coffee to each mug and stir to blend. Squeeze an orange twist over each drink, very gently spoon half of the whipped cream into each glass so it floats on the surface of the liquid, gently place the twist on the whipped cream, and serve at once. 




(Mexican-Spiced Coffee)

Serves 2

 A common substitution for the specialty piloncillo or panela sugar is an equal amount of dark brown sugar plus ½ teaspoon of molasses.


¼ cup freshly ground dark-roast coffee beans

3 tablespoons piloncillo or panela sugar

1 cinnamon stick (about 2½ inches)

1 teaspoon crushed anise seeds

1½tablespoons grated zest from 1 orange

Place the ground coffee beans in a French press pot and set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2½ cups water, the sugar, cinnamon stick, anise seeds, and orange zest to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Adjust heat to medium and simmer until mixture is fragrant and reduced to 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Pour mixture into the pot with the coffee, stir to mix, position pot lid, and steep for 4 minutes. Depress plunger and serve hot.

Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at