Outside of a Spanish or Irish Coffee, caffeinated beverages in cocktails may seem like a strange concept, especially for cold drinks. The rising popularity of cold brew, however, sees more marriages between coffee and spirits of all kinds. One such spirit that inherently lends itself to mixing with coffee comes from the same part of the world: rum. Add to that another tropical fruit, the banana, and you have an unconventional yet delicious drink that tastes like a boozy breakfast in a glass.
“The Midnight Oil brings to life in cocktail form one of my all-time favorite snack combos: a morning coffee and a slice or two of banana bread,” says bartender Brett Esler of Whisler’s in Austin, the creator of the Midnight Oil. “With an aged rum base, a touch of the Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur for a little depth and some vanilla extract to round it out, you have yourself a slightly caffeinated, fall-driven sipper.”
For the aged rum, Esler opts for Mount Gay Black Barrel; while its name may spark some confusion, the rum is golden, not blackstrap like the rum in a Dark ’n Stormy. Robust, bold and smooth, it’s an elegant Barbados rum for use in both cocktails and for drinking neat. If substituting, be sure to use an aged rum of similar quality, rather than opting for a lower shelf variety.
Esler also uses Stumptown cold-brew coffee. The lauded Portland, Oregon, based coffee company now sells its bottled cold brew nationwide, as well as online, which makes it an easy ingredient to find. However, those who want to use a different brand, or who feel compelled to make their own, should feel free to play.
Two of the other ingredients in the drink are less flexible. While there are other ginger liqueurs, Domaine de Canton is by far the most well known and its flavor is particular, so switching it for something else would alter the drink. Similarly, while there are a few banana liqueurs on the market, many of them are cloying and artificial, unlike Giffard Banane du Brésil liqueur, which sees macerated bananas from Brazil mixed with a touch of cognac. With these two, it’s best to stick with the listed ingredients.
- 1 1/2 ounces Mount Gay Black Barrel rum
- 3/4 ounces Stumptown cold-brew coffee or make your own*
- 1/4 ounces Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
- 1/4 ounces Giffard Banane du Brésil liqueur
- 3 dashes vanilla extract
- Garnish: skewered bruleed banana slice
Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake.
Strain into a coupe, and garnish with a skewered bruleed banana slice.
*Cold brew: use your favorite bottled cold-brew coffee or make some yourself by soaking 140 grams of ground coffee beans in a coffee filter and 32 ounces water for 12 hours. After steeping, remove grounds in coffee filter.