Coffee is no longer just for breakfast. This tasty beverage transcends the early morning hours and gets a fully grown-up makeover as the key element of coffee cocktails.
So whether you’re in the mood for something sweet, chocolatey and milky, or bright and bitter, there’s one with your name on it.
The best coffee cocktails combine tried-and-tested ingredient combinations with simplicity. This allows you to entertain in style without putting too much effort into it.
I love coffee cocktails because they are sophisticated and tasty. They’re a welcome change from fruit-based ones or overly sugary mixers.
Coffee cocktails are great any time of the day. Still, they’re especially lovely for boozy brunches where you can start the celebration off right with an excellent Irish Coffee or even a decadent dessert-flavored Coffee Buzz Martini.
Of course, standard cocktails, like White Russians, also never go out of style.
Best Coffee Cocktails
Below are some of my absolute favorites that you should put on your next cocktail party menu ASAP.
If there’s one coffee cocktail that you put on your “must taste” list, it should be the Espresso Martini.
This delectable drink is a sophisticated, high-end cocktail made with a few critical components like premium coffee liqueur, fresh espresso, and vodka.
You can make it taste, but ensure that these three elements take center stage.
Although martinis are generally synonymous with vermouth, the Espresso Martini doesn’t have any.
Instead, you need to shake up the three primary ingredients in an ice-cold shaker and pour your concoction into an equally chilled glass.
I like getting a little fancy and throwing on some coffee beans for an excellent presentation.
Black Russians are inky drinks with two ingredients; coffee liqueur and vodka.
Although it’s customary to fill a rocks glass with ice and pour the mixture on top, you can use whisky rocks if you want to avoid watering down your drink unnecessarily.
Stir well and serve ice cold. The coffee liqueur adds sweetness and body to the drink, while the vodka packs a big punch.
If you want it a little bit lighter, consider adjusting the portions of vodka and coffee liqueur. No garnish is needed, as this stately drink speaks for itself.
Coffee Buzz Martini
I love this drink because it’s more like a fun adult milkshake than a cocktail, and you can’t beat the presentation.
Coffee Buzz Martinis take your traditional Espresso Martini and kick this up several notches with extra sugar thanks to the addition of Baileys, simple syrup, and cream.
Baileys gives the Coffee Buzz Martini a pleasant nutty and rich taste, while the half and half lends a milkshake-adjacent presentation to the whole thing.
I love going overboard on the presentation for this drink, adding in some whipped cream and a cherry, or even dusting the rim in cocoa powder.
Kahlua Midnight Coffee Cocktail
Kahlua Midnight is a richer, deeper version of traditional Kahlua that’s perfect for more adult drinks where you still want a bit of sweetness.
I think that this Kahlua Midnight Coffee Cocktail ticks off all the boxes. You’ll still get all of that great coffee flavor, just without the bitterness, and the presentation is stunning.
You just need four ingredients to make this drink sing; equal parts of Bailey Irish Cream and Kahlua Midnight, a splash of whiskey, and a small cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Make sure that your coffee is super fresh and piping hot for complete success.
Irish Coffee is one of the most famous drinks on the planet and arguably, one of the best coffee cocktails, thanks to its excellent flavor profile and simple execution.
You don’t need much to make an ideal Irish Coffee, but you might want to spend a little time in the presentation to make this drink go from excellent to exceptional.
Take one cup of hot, high-quality coffee and mix it with Irish Whiskey and a touch of brown sugar to taste.
Of course, you can use white sugar too, but brown sugar gives the drink a deeply-flavored caramel edge that’s delicious.
Blend in some cream and top the whole thing with a swirl of whipped cream and chocolate shavings, and you’re good to go.
Like Irish Coffee, Spanish Coffee is a standard staple coffee cocktail that you can most likely make with simple ingredients from your pantry.
Although you can make it in the kitchen and serve it piping hot, varsity-level bartenders will actually light the glass on fire, giving it a crunchy and sweet sugar coating.
Don’t worry if you’re not quite up to that level.
You’ll need Triple Sec, hot coffee, and Kahlua for the coffee itself. If you want to attempt to light the glass, bring high-octane rum to your guests, coat the glass, and light it on fire in front of them.
Fresh whipped cream and a few sprinkles of nutmeg are brilliant toppers.
The Revolver Cocktail is another one that has a unique and fantastic presentation, thanks to the contrast of a dark brown cocktail with a lightly flamed orange peel.
Flaming the peel is something that you should learn how to do, and it does add layers of flavor to the drink and a stark and elegant look.
All you need to make an excellent Revolver Cocktail is two ounces of bourbon, some orange bitters, and about half an ounce of coffee liqueur.
If you want your drink to be weaker, stir in more coffee liqueur. Finally, flame an orange peel by lighting it tableside and then dropping the orange oil and peel itself into the drink.
White Russians are Black Russians with a splash of cream. The cream makes the drink slightly lighter and sweeter and lends a gorgeous brown hue to the finished product.
I like to top my White Russians with maraschino cherries, but you can certainly serve them as-is with just those three ingredients.
It’s important to use cream, not milk, for this drink. Milk can be a little bit too watery, and you won’t get the right consistency.
Serve it in a rocks glass, and you’re ready to get the party started.
The Bushwacker is a relatively new cocktail from the mid-1970s. Like the Coffee Buzz Martini, it’s a creamy drink with a lot of sweetness and character.
Bushwackers are great on hot days because they’re frozen concoctions that taste almost like iced mochas, and you can top them with all sorts of good stuff.
Don’t let the innocent look or tempting taste of the Bushwacker fool you. Thanks to premium rum and Kahlua, this drink packs a pretty big alcoholic punch.
Creme de cacao and coconut cream give it an exotic edge, and you can top it with a cherry for an excellent presentation.
There are plenty of nightcaps and hot toddy drinks out there, but very few of them can match the official Nightcap, in my opinion.
This drink is sweet, strong, and has just the right amount of bitters. So if you’re looking for something that will send you off to dreamland properly, this is the best coffee cocktail.
You’ll need equal parts rum and cold coffee, plus a generous drizzle of maple syrup, some bitters, orange zest, and a splash of tonic water to give you a good texture.
I like to garnish my drinks with a light sliver of orange peel.
This mixed drink might not be one of the most well-known alcoholic beverages on our list, but it’s undoubtedly one of the best coffee cocktails out there.
Oaxacan Tails get their punch from both tequila and mezcal, plus some coffee and bitters. The result is a nuanced drink that’s not overly sweet.
If you love coffee but don’t like how it’s always paired with chocolate, the Oaxacan Tail is your drink.
Plus, I find that it’s a massive hit at parties because people aren’t expecting the inspired flavor combination. So give it a try, and you won’t be disappointed.
Roman Holiday expertly combines bright pineapple juice, sugar, and coffee plus a hint of lime for a balanced but still complicated drink that reminds me of a tropical vacation.
Although you need a few more ingredients for this one, it’s all worth it in the end.
Start off with Amaro Meletti and a bit of Campari, then add in freshly brewed chilled coffee, a touch of lime and pineapple juice, some demerara syrup, and a tiny sprinkle of sea salt to open up all of the flavors.
Finally, top the whole thing with a cinnamon stick, and you have a drink with a fantastic presentation and a profoundly different and delightful taste.
Carajillo (Mexican Spiked Coffee)
This coffee cocktail puts others to shame. It only has a few ingredients, but it tastes like you’ve spent all day crafting the ideal drink.
I like to make it when I want to “wow” my guests. Although you can serve it hot, I love it ice cold, which allows the brandy or rum to shine.
All you need is premium cold-brew coffee, some good brandy or rum, and sugar.
If you’re serving it cold, make sure that you mix it up in a chilled cocktail shaker and serve it immediately over ice. You can add your brandy or rum to taste.
Best Coffee Cocktails
- Espresso Martini
- Black Russian
- Coffee Buzz Martini
- Kahlua Midnight Coffee Cocktail
- Irish Coffee
- Spanish Coffee
- Revolver Cocktail
- White Russian
- Oaxacan Tail
- Roman Holiday
- Carajillo (Mexican Spiked Coffee)
These best coffee cocktails have the power to transform your next get-together, and best of all, they’re effortless to make.
So whether you love a creamy White Russian with some plump maraschino cherries piled on top or the citrus flavors of a Roman Holiday, there’s bound to be one on our list that tickles your taste buds.
Next time you entertain, consider putting one of these best coffee cocktails on the menu. Your guests will be delighted, surprised, and happy that you’re offering them something beyond the standard fare. Plus, you can feel like a rockstar in the kitchen like I do.
Check out the best coffee liqueurs to make these drinks at home!