If your morning cup of coffee just isn't enough to satisfy your caffeine cravings, it might be time to introduce some coffee liqueurs into your life. These boozy, caffeinated tipples are an ideal alternative to an after-dinner espresso. Warming, invigorating, and just as delicious drunk neat as in a cocktail, no bar cabinet is complete without at least one bottle. Here's our pick of the 10 best coffee liquors on the market.
10. Fliquor Bean Coffee Liqueur
Named as one of the best coffee liqueurs by thespiritsbusiness.com, Fliquor Bean is a liqueur that was born out of necessity. Pouring whisky into their cup of joes wasn't cutting it, so the makers took things to the next level with this blend of small-batch American whisky and 100% certified organic coffee from Mexico's largest coffee farmer confederation, CoNaProMex. Distilled in LA (where the coffee is roasted by a local micro-roaster), it's got a big kick (one-shot has roughly the same caffeine content as a cup of espresso) and a velvety smoothness that invites you to come back for more.
9. Bepi Tosolini Expré Espresso Coffee Liqueur
Bepi Tosolini has done some great stuff with grappa over the years, not least with this exquisite coffee liquor. A beautifully balanced blend of grappa and traditionally roasted Arabica coffee beans, it's bursting with rich, bitter coffee notes. There's precious little sweetness, but the dark chocolate and vanilla tones keep it interesting enough to warrant a second sip. Or maybe even a second glass. You'll need a sophisticated palate to fully appreciate it, but if you've got one, you're going to love it.
8. Black Fire Coffee Liqueur
If you like your coffee liquors to have a bigger kick than a mule, Black Fire Coffee Liqueur has your name written all over it. Rather than rely solely on the coffee to bring the oomph, it's added a big hit of red chili to really get the party started. A lively, vibrant beverage, it combines big, earthy flavors with subtle notes of agave and vanilla. Despite the novel ingredients, it's remarkably well balanced. If you want to add some zing to your next Espresso Martini, it's perfect.
7. Manly Spirits Co. BlackFin Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
If you like big flavors, you're going to love Manly Spirits Co. BlackFin Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur. Created as a collaboration between Manly Spirits Co. and Seven Miles Coffee Roasters, this Australian liquor uses wheat vodka as its base, along with locally sourced produce and foraged botanicals. The bitter flavors of the coffee and the bite of the vodka are perfectly tempered by rounded notes of caramel, chocolate, and brown sugar. Layered, bold, and definitely not for the fainthearted, it's a complex tipple that's as rewarding as it is challenging. To enjoy it at its best, try it in a Black Russian.
6. Leopold Bros. Coffee Liqueur
Leopold Bros. Coffee Liqueur was first released in 2002, but it's already considered something of a classic. It's made by adding freshly roasted coffee beans to a water press, then adding the coffee to a base spirit with a touch of raw cane sugar to help counter the acidity. To preserve the coffee aromas, it's bottled while still warm. The coffee is really the star of the show here, making it an excellent choice for cocktails like Black Russians.
5. Kahlúa Original
You don't have to know much about liquors to know the name Kahlúa. The brand has been around since the 1930s, and now ranks among the most recognized liquors in the world. In many cocktail recipes, 'Kahlúa' and 'coffee liquor' are used almost interchangeably, so dominant has it become. Fortunately, it deserves every bit of hype it gets. Featuring a carefully balanced blend of rum, arabica coffee beans, and Mexican-grown sugar, it's a warm, versatile tipple with just the right amount of sweetness to counter the bite of the rum. Try it in an Espresso Martini to enjoy its earthy kick.
4. Tia Maria Liqueur
Back in the day, Tia Maria was made in Jamaica with Jamaican rum, sugar, and coffee beans. It's since jumped ship to Italy, but it's still as distinctive as ever. It's slightly less sweet than Kahlúa, with a big kick of coffee and a pleasant vanilla warmth. As foodism.to explains, it owes its distinctive roasted flavors and intense coffee aroma to the cold brew extraction that goes into every bottle. The beans are coarsely ground and then steeped in water for 12 hours to preserve the earthy, fruity notes. After that, Madagascar vanilla is added to the coffee base for a delicate warmth. As a final step, Jamaican rum is blended into the mix to give it its body. Although lovely on its own, its rich caramel notes work well in a cocktail (try it in a White Russian for the ultimate taste experience) or even added to a cup of coffee.
3. Cold & Blac Coffee Liqueur
Created by mixologist Tem Mellese, Cold & Blac Coffee Liqueur is one of the newest and hippest tipples on the market. Matching smooth caramel and chocolate notes with earthy botanicals, it's a complex, earthy liquor with a pleasant amount of sweetness. The coffee kick is surprisingly fruity, combining milk chocolate flavors with hints of cherries and berries. It scores big on the sustainability front too, using only fairtrade, organic, and GMO-free ingredients. There's also no processed sugar, artificial flavors, thickening agents, or additives, leaving you free to enjoy a glass or two guilt-free. Serve it with ice and a wedge of lemon to bring out the citrusy tang.
2. Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
Named as one of the best coffee liquors on the market by liquor.com, Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur is a bold, unapologetic tipple made from Australian vodka and 100% specialty Arabica coffee. To allow the coffee flavors to take center stage, Mr. Black Roasters & Distillers use a "low and slow" cold brew that perfectly fulfills their mission statement of taking Australia’s coffee culture into the night. There are no artificial flavors, no fake flavors, no additives, and nothing to detract from the purity of the fresh coffee, caramel, and cocoa flavors. Cane sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness. Sophisticated, punchy, and wonderfully balanced, it's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
1. Patrón XO Cafe Tequila
As BBC Good Food says, the globally renowned, uber-cool Patrón XO Cafe Tequila is every bit as good as the hype suggests. A well-rounded liquor that starts out sweet, turns bitter, and finishes with a punchy creaminess, it's a decadent, delicious tipple designed to be savored. Expect notes of black espresso, bitter coffee, caramel, and just a hint of black pepper to give it a kick.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith