• Home
  • Articles
  • Beyond Irish Coffee: 6 Perfect Coffee And Liqueur Pairings For Winter Evenings

Beyond Irish Coffee: 6 Perfect Coffee And Liqueur Pairings For Winter Evenings

Coffee and Liqueur Pairings

Coffee and liquor is a classic pairing that introduces a favourable depth into a beverage mix. For coffee aficionados, there is a singular pleasure in infusing the fragrances and flavours of the freshly brewed beverage into a delicious liqueur or spirit. One of the more modern references to adding coffee in a spirit can be traced back to the mid-20th century when cocktail cultures were evolving rapidly and mixologists would dabble with many different flavour combinations to invent delectable drinks.

However, emulsifying coffee and spirits to make liqueur likely has origins in as early as the 15th century. This was a time during which coffee houses became popular centres for socialising and conversation. Coffee liqueur was an emulsion introduced similar to a fortified wine infused with herbs or botanicals to pair two flavours enjoying a fine marriage. 

So, along with a good old Baileys Original Irish Cream, there are many other coffee and liqueur combinations that are splendid when together. These are dreamy concoctions for coffee lovers and spirit connoisseurs because they highlight the bitter notes of coffee and the herbal or citrusy tastes of an aromatic liqueur, for a flavour profile that packs a good kick.

Read on below to know more about certain coffee and liqueur pairings which transcend the traditional Irish whisky version to explore the complex relationship coffee enjoys with other aromatised spirits:

Anise Liqueur And Espresso

Sambuca is a delicious Italian treat, an anise-flavoured liqueur with notes of licorice and an undercurrent of slightly sweeter tones that nicely complement the bitterness of a strong, aromatic coffee. Pair this Italian anise liqueur with a shot of bitter espresso which celebrates the strong flavour of dark roasted coffee beans. The flavour balance between a white Italian liqueur and bitter coffee is a bonafide winner!

Coffee Liqueur Beyond Irish Whisky

Chocolate Liqueur And Coffee

You can either opt for a vodka or whisky based liqueur carrying rich and decadent notes of chocolate to make this concoction. Chocolate liqueur blends well with the potent hit of a delicious Americano that sings of the bitterness of coffee beans and the sweet and creamy textures of the spirit. You can top this mix off with whipped cream for a more decadent relish.

Cocktail Bitters And Coffee

While bitters might not necessarily constitute liqueurs, they are great as mixes which elevate or balance out the flavours of the base spirit in a cocktail recipe. Citrus flavours actually pair well with coffee and chocolate evidenced in the makings of orange and lemon cakes, pastries and other sweet treats. Introduce orange or cocoa flavoured bitters into coffee and top it off with vodka or whisky for a robust mix. Adjust the proportions of the two star ingredients to balance the bitterness.

Mocha Martini 

You can employ any vodka based liqueur for this concoction and add to it a generous helping of cafe mocha, or coffee with chocolate for a bitter and sweet kick. The mocha will bring out the chocolatey hints while a strong, freshly brewed coffee will blend well with the flavoured vodka to produce a combination that highlights the properties of the caffeinated drink while offering a dutiful vodka buzz.

Coffee cocktails

Amaretto And Coffee

Amaretto is a type of sweet, Italian liqueur made from peach stones, almonds or apricot kernels and generally carries a nutty taste with hints of sweetness derived from the dried fruits. This Italian liqueur pairs well with coffee without overshadowing its flavour. Instead, amaretto makes a light roast really stand out and infuses the drink with a rather pleasing nuttiness. 

Peppermint Schnapps And Mocha Coffee

Schnapps essentially constitute liqueurs made from neutral grain alcohol infused with a mix of herbal, fruity and floral tinctures. A classic pairing for cosy evenings is chocolatey coffee poured over peppermint schnapps for a comforting freshness and caffeine hit really appealing for your taste buds. You can use peppermint schnapps particularly during the festive season with a decaf blend to wind down after a dinner party.