Cocktail & Other Recipes Cocktail Type Coffee & Dessert

8 Coffee Cocktails to Perk You Up

Coffee plus alcohol equals perfection.

Death by Morning cocktail
Death by Morning Image: / Tim Nusog

The Espresso Martini may (once again) be the trendy cocktail of the moment, and it's sure a great way to enjoy a blast of caffeine with your booze, but it's not the only way to incorporate coffee into your cocktails.

Sure, the Irish Coffee is an ever-popular drink, but cocktails with coffee get so much more creative these days than the old whiskey-and-coffee combination. The rich flavors of a good brew pair nicely with a variety of spirits and liqueurs, from whiskey to rum and bittersweet amari.

These eight examples were created by pro bartenders and demonstrate the best that coffee can contribute to cocktails.

  • Espresso Martini

    Espresso Martini / Tim Nusog

    The granddaddy of the contemporary coffee-cocktail craze, this drink was created in the 1980s by bartender Dick Bradsell at Fred's Club in London at, it's said, the behest of a model who wanted a drink that would "wake me up and f**k me up." The resulting combination of vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso, and simple syrup has entered the true modern-classic canon.

    Get the recipe.

  • Cold-Brew Negroni

    Cold-Brew Negroni / Tim Nusog

    Rather than adding coffee as an ingredient, Pam Wiznitzer of New York City’s Seamstress infuses coffee straight into Campari liqueur. Once armed with this delicious infusion, you can make a Boulevardier or another drink with the liqueur, but the classic Negroni is the best way to go. This is a caffeinated and slightly richer take on the boozy classic, and one that you can start drinking at brunch.

    Get the recipe.

  • Nightcap

    Nightcap at Yours Truly in Hamilton, Bermuda

    Daniel Moik

    Disregard this drink's name: The two ounces of cold-brew coffee it contains may keep you awake well past your bedtime. A gussied-up Rum & Tonic at its heart, this cocktail adds the aforementioned cold brew plus a bit of maple syrup and orange zest to the mix, resulting in an intriguing effervescent coffee-fueled drink.

    Get the recipe.

  • Prairie Buzz

    Prairie Buzz cocktail / Tim Nusog

    From the now-shuttered New York City bar The Bennett, this drink starts with Rieger’s Kansas City Whiskey, a blend of bourbon, corn whiskey, rye and a small measure of oloroso sherry. From there, the drink calls for amaretto, cold-brew coffee, cinnamon syrup, cream, and Vino chinato, an Italian grape-based aperitif. Put it all together, and the cocktail’s caffeinated zip will get you through any night.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • Oaxacan Tail

    Oaxacan Tail cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This mezcal-and-amaro-based coffee cocktail was invented as a brunch drink for Esters Wine Shop & Bar in Santa Monica, Calif. The agave-spirit drink packs a zing from mezcal and a small splash of blanco tequila plus a heavy dose of mole bitters. While the recipe calls for Foro amaro, other amari can be easily substituted, such as Ramazzotti, Cynar or Averna. Try one or try them all—until you find a favorite.

    Get the recipe.

  • Roman Holiday

    Roman Holiday Cocktail
    A.J. Trela

    Campari and pineapple juice in your cup of joe? Sure! Inspired by the classic Jungle Bird, the Roman Holiday is a trapeze act of bitter and sweet, with a backbone of Amaro Meletti and cold-brew coffee. The mix is kept in order by fresh lime juice, demerara syrup, and a pinch of salt. Think of this drink as Tiki’s Italian cousin, but with a caffeine buzz.

    Get the recipe.

  • Espress Ya'Self

    Espress Ya’Self cocktail / Todd Coleman

    Bartenders everywhere are riffing off of the Espresso Martini, making improvements on the original, and this cocktail is a prime example. It's a richer, smoother, agave-based take on the classic, employing tequila, mezcal, cold-brew coffee liqueur as well as cold-brew itself, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and a combination of bitters. The edible-glitter garnish is festive but optional—the flavors of this drink sparkle enough on their own.

    Get the recipe.

  • Death by Morning

    Death by Morning cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Anise-flavored absinthe and minty Branca Menta anchor this cocktail, which calls for coffee liqueur as well as a full shot of espresso, plus a bit of demerara sugar and a dash of Angostura bitters. The resulting bitter, minty, herbaceous drink is a bracing-yet-elegant concoction.

    Get the recipe.