Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Bourbon Cocktails

Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy Coffee cocktail in a half-filled stemless flute, with a lemon twist balanced on the rim / Tim Nusog

Coffee and cocktails are two of life’s great joys. One picks you up in the morning, and the other kicks off your night. Usually. In other instances, coffee may be employed after dinner, while a cocktail works its magic during the day’s early hours. However you like to enjoy these drinks, there’s no denying the synergy that occurs when the two are joined in one glass.

Coffee cocktails include old-school classics like the Irish Coffee, modern-classics like the Espresso Martini and a slew of contemporary creations, including the Cowboy Coffee. The latter is an original recipe from Denver bar pro Sean Kenyon that calls for crushed coffee beans, Colorado whiskey, demerara syrup and Angostura bitters, plus a two-pronged garnish of a coffee bean and a lemon twist. It’s all served in a flute, but don’t let the package fool you: This drink is strong enough for even the most grizzled cattle-driver.

The Cowboy Coffee is similar to an Old Fashioned, as both feature whiskey, sugar and bitters. In this case, Kenyon uses Stranahan’s, an American single malt that features notes of cinnamon, caramel, vanilla, chocolate and oak. The recipe swerves from the classic Old Fashioned by imbuing the liquid with the punch of muddled coffee beans. Those beans are crushed in the shaker, and then shaken with the liquid ingredients for a quick flavor infusion. When making the drink at home, be sure to enlist a fine-strainer to remove the gritty, broken beans, so you’re left with smooth sips.

Coffee beans are caffeinated, but by limiting the recipe to two muddled beans, rather than a pour of brewed coffee or espresso, the cocktail contains a low dose of caffeine. This makes the Cowboy Coffee a good option for anyone who wants that coffee flavor without the jitters. Make one for brunch, after dinner or whenever you want a mild pick-me-up.


  • 2 dark-roast coffee beans

  • 2 1/2 ounces Stranahan’s Colorado whiskey

  • 1/2 ounce demerara syrup (1 part demerara sugar, 1 part water)

  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

  • Garnish: coffee bean

  • Garnish: lemon twist


  1. In a shaker, crush the coffee beans.

  2. Add the whiskey, demerara syrup and Angostura bitters with ice, then shake until well-chilled.

  3. Fine-strain into a chilled Champagne flute.

  4. Garnish with an additional coffee bean, then squeeze a lemon twist over the drink to express the oils, and drop it in.