There is a Ghost in your Coffee (Spirits and Coffee)

Trends: we love to talk about them. We follow them. We start them. Some we keep long after they should end while others are flashes in the pan (think butter coffee). One trend that has always been elusive for the coffee industry is turning day into night and then night into day. I’m talking about wine, beer and spirits combined with coffee. Now, coffee beers are not that new to the world of beer, but good coffee beers are. We are finally seeing coffee beers that aren’t overwhelming pints of over-extracted coffee in poorly brewed stouts and porters. The coffee has taken a complimentary backseat as an ingredient that enhances the overall beer drinking experience vs. keeping you up all night after tasting pencil shavings and malt. Brewers are experimenting with a wide range of beer styles in which to put their favorite coffee. Long gone are the days that only stouts and porters have coffee in them. Nay…now we see coffee carrying the bitter load in hoppy IPAs or adding complexity to lagers and pilsners.

But wait, there is more. Coffee is not just for the beers. It is a great component for spirits, too. Commonly, coffee that is brewed well can take the place of bitters and other aromatic compounds. Coffee is a super versatile ingredient in cocktails, and you can customize the flavor profile based on what coffee you choose to use. Want fruity without the risking getting too much pith? Then select a naturally processed coffee to get some wild notes into the glass. Sweet coffees will balance out dry or spicy spirits. Or boost the sweetness with sweet bourbon. The sky is the limit here. Cold brewing is an excellent way to batch out your coffee ingredient, and because it is a concentrate, you can meter in the wonderful brew in small increments to dial in the flavor.

Alcohol and coffee have grown up together through the ages, but somewhere in history, their paths separated. We are seeing them come back together and drinks will never be the same. Keep an eye on the cocktail menus, and you are sure to see coffee as an ingredient pop up more and more.

See how Cabarrus Brewing Company used S&D coffee in one of their newest releases in this Facebook post.

Post authored by Brent Hall, previous S&D Coffee & Tea Manager of Product Innovation.