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Although French presses may be synonymous with delicious, caffeinated brews, their uses go far beyond making coffee at home. Incorporating French presses into your cocktail regimen at home will open your mind (and palate) to a whole new world of deliciousness. But, knowing which press to use is key—that's why we did the research and talked to the pros.
Here, the best French presses for making cocktails at home.
Best Overall: Espro Coffee French Press Everyday P3
Easy to clean
On the pricier side
In the realm of quality, price and overall versatility, the Espro P3 Coffee French Press takes the cake. In addition to its sleek design, this double micro-filter press is 40% thicker than the industry standard, which makes for greater durability and temperature control. Its patent-pending safety lock feature ensures that the glass holder remains secured inside the cage, which, combined with being dishwasher-safe, also allows for easy cleaning.
“Unlike other presses, it stops extraction completely after you press it, so your cocktail will taste the same from first to last sip!” says Anna Mains, the national brand ambassador for Monkey Shoulder. She notes that when making French press cocktails, part of the serve is the show, so having a glass that depicts all fruit, herbs and other ingredients is key.
Plus, because of the press' thicker glass, it doesn't have the problem of other glass presses, which don’t keep drinks as cold or as hot as stainless steel ones, Mains says.
Best Budget: Bodum Caffettiera
May be too simple for experienced French press cocktail makers
Who says a great French press has to break the bank? This well-made option from Bodum is perfect for those looking to take a stab at French press cocktails without breaking the bank.
Crafted from shatterproof plastic, this scratch-resistant press is portable, easy to use and equally easy to clean. For simple French press cocktails on a budget, look no further than this piece. No filters, plastic capsules or waste required.
“I love a glass French press that sits inside a removable frame. You can use it as is to make quick infusions or take it out of the frame, and it becomes a nice mixing glass for a couple of martinis!” — Mary Bartlett, Co-Founder, Future Gin
Best Splurge: Hario Double Glass Coffee Press
For a beautiful Press that’s sure to impress, check out the Hario Double Glass Coffee Press. Crafted with heatproof borosilicate glass and high-quality olive wood, this luxurious Press promises to satisfy all of your at-home cocktail needs, no filter papers required.
The stainless steel mesh plunger keeps hands and surfaces safe while ensuring that the drink remains warm (if hot). This press is easy to clean and is dishwasher-safe.
"Hario Olive Wood is a premium-quality French press. It looks absolutely stunning and is made with high-quality glass, and it’s perfect for serving batched cocktails at the table to share in classy cocktail bars.” — Sai Hamsala, Bartender and Brand Ambassador, Diplomatico Rum
Related: The Best Coffees for Cold Brew
Best Design: Honey and Roses Rose Gold French Press
Only available in one color
“To experience and appreciate the difference between drip coffee and French press coffee is much like experiencing the difference between a cocktail and a cocktail built in a French press,” says Cassandra Pease, beverage director at Hermanito. She notes that the press creates a richer, more flavorful cup of coffee than one made without a press, and that the device creates a similar effect when used to mix liquor, fresh produce and herbs. “Also, you must appreciate the ease of straining and infusing the ingredients!” she exclaims.
Pease is a fan of the Rose Gold French Press from Honey and Roses Coffee Co. because it's reasonably priced, made with quality materials, and is "gorgeously crafted,” says Pease. It's perfect for steeping ingredients (tea leaves, herbs and beyond) and is perfectly safe for keeping in the refrigerator overnight. Plus, it’s dishwasher-safe and contains two filters to prevent leaking.
Related: The Best Margarita Machines
Best for Beginners: OXO 8-Cup French Press with Grounds Lifter
This 8-cup French press by OXO comes with a unique "Grounds Lifter," which ensures that cleanup is just as easy as enjoying your crafted beverage of choice. The stainless steel and silicone handle acts similar to a squeegee, which leaks out used ingredients without the need to scoop out by hand. The press’ stainless steel mesh keeps said ingredients out of your final drink. Plus, the nonslip handle is both comfortable and efficient.
Hamsala notes that OXO’s French presses are “durable, crystal-clear in appearance and very easy to clean, which is perfect for a busy night at the bar.” Bartender-approved means at-home-approved in our book!
Related: The Best Bartender Aprons
Best for Cold Brew: Espro Coffee French Press P5
Limited lifetime warranty
When it comes to crafting French press cocktails at home, this sleek coffee press promises clean, smooth and grit-free drinks, made in part by the press’ double micro-filter and twist lock (which means easy separation from sediment and hassle-free cleaning).
Crafted from German-made glass—40% thicker than your average French press glass—this durable machine is perfect for heating, cooling and everything in between.
"Espro Press P5 is high-quality and has a beautiful copper finish. Plus, the double filter helps separate small sediments while batching cocktails.” — Sai Hamsala, Bartender and Brand Ambassador, Diplomatico Rum
Best Versatile: Bodum Chambord Coffee Maker
Patented plastic safety lid
Various colors and sizes
Bodum's products, explains Hamsala, “are of good quality at very reasonable prices, and this [particular] French press is durable and very easy to use.” Bodum’s Chambord model comes in a variety of colors and sizes, perfect for making small-batch or large-batch cocktails. The model was made in Portugal and has been tested and approved by the American Culinary Institute.
"Aside from your morning coffee, cafetières—or French Presses—are very handy for cocktail making,” says Ryan Chetiyawardana, global bar innovator for the Lore Group. “The glass Bodum models are tempered and allow you to see through for quick infusions and removing smaller particles from your drinks,” he says.
Related: The Best Cocktail Shakers
Best Travel: Stanley Classic Travel Mug French Press
Easy to clean
Double-wall vacuum insulation
Not as sleek as other French presses
Who says you can’t take your French press cocktails with you? This on-the-go option from Stanley is affordable, well made and incredibly simple to pack on the fly—what more could you want from a travel-friendly option?
This lightweight, easy-to-carry option is crafted from BPA-free stainless steel and features a drink-through, leakproof lid. The press promises to keep warm drinks hot for up to four hours, and cool drinks cool for five (up to 20 hours if served over ice!).
When it comes to the quality-to-price ratio, as well as durability and versatility, the Bodum (view at Amazon) and Espro (view at Amazon) models are the way to go. For beautiful designs that don’t sacrifice efficiency, look to Honey and Roses (view at Honey and Roses) or Hario (view at Amazon), but be ready to spend a bit more.
What to Look for in a French Press for Cocktails
When searching for a great French press to use for cocktail creations, be sure to keep an eye out for glass quality and heat retention capabilities (if making hot cocktails). Then, factor in design and overall appearance. Price and on-the-go features are also things to consider, depending on if budget or travel accessibility are factors for you.
What is the ideal water temperature for using a French press?
When using a French press for coffee use or to incorporate coffee into cocktails, the ideal water temperature is near boiling: around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. However, cold brew coffee is made with room temperature water and is extracted for a longer period of time (around 24 hours rather than just a few minutes with hot coffee). When using actual coffee or tea as ingredients, Bartlett recommends 200 degrees for coffee, 205 degrees for black tea, 175 degrees for green tea and 195 degrees for white tea.
How long should I steep cocktails in a French press?
Each cocktail (and depending on the mixologist and bartender) will have its own unique guidelines, though generally speaking, these can be flexible. One can steep cocktails from just a few minutes to up to a few days, and the desired concentration or power of the final cocktail will dictate that exact number. We recommend making a batch cocktail and steeping it for a few increments of time (5 to 10 minutes, 1 to 4 hours, 6 to 12 hours, and one full day) to taste the differences for yourself.
“You can make cold or hot cocktails in a French press,” Pease explains. “Hot beverages would be a quick infusion (five minutes before you push the plunger), while a cold cocktail you would want to allow to steep for 20 minutes.” Bartlett recommends 8 to 10 minutes for a quick infusion into a spirit or cocktail.
Can you steep leaves?
Yes! Tea leaves, as well as other loose ingredients, may be used in French press cocktails.
Bartlett actually prefers French presses for steeping or infusing leaves, because the press provides room for the leaves to open, which extracts more flavor. “It’s great for flowers too,” she says.
In addition to steeping leaves, Pease notes that adding ginger, all-spice cloves and cinnamon also enhances flavor. “Muddling your fruit is possible in a French press, too, and it would speed up the infusion in a cold cocktail,” she says.
What is the best way to clean a French press?
Although many French presses are dishwasher-safe, we recommend cleaning them by hand to ensure that nothing breaks. Simply wash each piece with warm, soapy water and let them dry thoroughly.
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Vicki Denig is a wine and travel journalist who splits her time between New York and Paris. Her work regularly appears in major industry publications. She is the content creator and social media manager for a list of prestigious clients, including Sopexa, Paris Wine Company, Becky Wasserman, Volcanic Selections, Le Du’s Wines, Windmill Wine & Spirits and Corkbuzz. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine.
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