Caffeine and alcohol can be a fairly dangerous combination when improperly executed, hence the problem with energy drink booze concoctions like Four Loko, may its original recipe rest in peace. But, as those of us who are aging faster than we'd like to admit may have noticed, staying out at night can be difficult without pairing your drinking with a shot of caffeine. Luckily, it is possible to responsibly combine coffee with booze without resorting to a dreaded Vodka Red Bull — though, maybe, not at your office desk first thing in the morning — and a number of cocktails manage to pair the two successfully. So what are some drinks that combine coffee and alcohol?
First and foremost, note that you do need to be careful when drinking and caffeinating. Studies have shown that mixing alcohol and energy drinks can have a similar effect on the human body to cocaine, which is bad news both for your body (cocaine use can cause organ damage, tooth decay, and heart failure) and brain (cocaine can also cause depression and psychosis, among other things). Caffeine is, after all, a stimulant, and alcohol is a depressant, but instead of canceling each other out, this mixture can wreak havoc on your insides. Then again, energy drinks have a sharper jolt than a shot of espresso (and unhealthy additions like guarana make everything worse), and an Irish coffee then and again won't cause much harm.
With that in mind, here some delicious drinks that combine coffee and alcohol.
Irish coffees are the preferred alcohol/coffee mixture, both because they are delicious and because you can surreptitiously get away with them at family brunches. The classic cocktail is comprised of hot coffee mixed with Irish coffee, melted brown sugar, and fresh cream, and you serve the whole shebang in a fancy glass. It beats the heck out of Dunkin Donuts, I'll tell you that much.
The Italians do everything best, so it makes sense that the most tantalizing coffee drink on this list comes from close to the bottom of the boot. A Siciliano consists of sweet Italian vermouth, Amaro Averna, and cold brew coffee, and though it's not intended to be a strong drink, it makes for an incredible post-supper treat.
Martinis are my favorite fancy drink, in part because I love the glasses they come in, and also because vodka is the only Real Alcohol I can drink without physically collapsing. An espresso martini is a particularly good drink for folks who like coffee and James Bond movies — they're served chilled, contain vodka and coffee liqueur, and tend to be served with espresso beans as garnish. I prefer them shaken, not stirred.
An Anatolia Cafe is sort of like a Siciliano, but instead of vermouth you use cognac, and instead of amaro you use cherry liquer and powdered cinammon. Mix all that up, add in coffee to taste, and top the whole thing off with some whipped cream, and you've got a delectable cocktail on hand.
Hot White Russian
I have a vicious intolerance to lactose, which makes White Russians pretty much my enemy. Still, this boozy coffee drink sounds incredible: it combines coffee, heavy cream, Kahlua, and as much vodka as you can tolerate, plus you can top it with even more heavy cream as a garnish. Gimme all the Lactaid pills, please.
Holy crap, this one sounds tasty. A Snow Cap combines vanilla vodka with Frangelico liqueur and coffee, which is then topped with whipped cream and a raspberry as garnish. I would hate winter a lot less if I subbed this in for my morning latte.
This baby's only served at Sushisamba in New York, but you can probably make it at home if you try. It combines Bacardi black rum with espresso, maple syrup infused with Tonka bean, and dark chocolate syrup, plus it comes topped with chocolate powder and coffee beans. WE ARE NOT WORTHY.