Cafè Noir Espresso, Whiskey Cocktail

Fratelli Branca sent me a bottle of their Caffè Borghetti, along with a Whole Foods gift card, to make a cocktail featuring their lovely espresso liqueur for National Espresso Day. I opened the shipping box at ten in the morning but still cracked open the bottle to taste. I'm not known for my patience and I love coffee liqueur ... and nobody was around to see. If you like coffee booze, in my opinion, this one beats the others by a mile. Made with real espresso, it has a nutty nose with deep chocolate notes that blend nicely with the espresso for a rich mocha experience.  It's smooth, gentle and perfect on it's own or with some coffee as an after dinner drink.

I know it will be great as a coffee liqueur in any of my Coffee Cocktails but, for my first cocktail recipe using this delicious liqueur, I wanted something unusual and powerful. Espresso is the big brother of coffee, stronger and more manly, a touch of bitterness softened by a lot of heart. I wanted to do a cocktail that expressed that.

However, I honestly had no idea how I was going to get there and I really wanted to go outside of the standard coffee and cream cocktail box. Then I got to Whole Foods and spied a bottle Del Bac Clear Mesquite Smoked Whiskey. I've been wanting to try this whiskey produced by Hamilton Distillers (a local distillery here in Tucson) very badly. The minute I saw that bottle I knew I was going to do a version of San Francisco bartender Jon Santer's Revolver, a rye and coffee liqueur cocktail with a dash of orange bitters.

I suspected that the Del Bac whiskey might be a bit reminiscent of a great smoky tequila or a mescal* because it's a clear, unaged whiskey with it's barley smoked over mesquite wood fire. I was right. So, as well as a riff on the Revolver, this cocktail is also a kind of a butch Mexican Coffee, minus the coffee and cream and with hints of orange and cherry. I  love it when a plan comes together.

Definitely serve this with at least two of the Bordeaux cherries. (I grabbed a third cherry right at the end.) This is a real man's cocktail; strong, powerful and sexy. Eating the cherries as you sip adds an extra hit of sweetness, much like that hidden touch of romanticism you find buried in those strong, silent types. Heaven.

DO NOT leave out the orange bitters and twists either, aside from the fact that orange bitters are an integral part of Santer's Revolver, they add a beautiful nose and punch up the cherry from the Luxardo.


Caffè Noir
1-1/2 Oz. Del Bac Clear Mesquite Smoked Whiskey
1-1/4 Z. Caffè Borghetti Espresso Liqueur
1/4 Oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
Dash of Angostura Orange Bitters
2 Orange Twists
2 Bordeaux Cherries (or 3!)
Large Ice Cube

Glass: Old Fashioned
TOOLS: Bar Spoon, Large Ice Mold
Chill your glass in the freezer.
Rub the interior of the glass with one orange twist then toss away this twist.
Add the large ice cube to the glass then pour in the Del Bac Mesquite Smoked Whiskey, the Caffè Borghetti Espresso Liqueur and the Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur.
Stir in the glass 25 times to chill, express the oils of the second orange twist over the ice, rub the rim with the twist then add it to the cocktail.
Garnish with a couple of Bordeaux cherries and serve.

If you prefer stemmed glasses, you can shake this cocktail with ice then strain into a coupe, this will dilute the strength a bit and bring the sweetness forward. Ladies seem to like the stemmed glasses, men like something they can get a grip on.

If you happened by here on November 23rd, Happy National Espresso Day!

* The aged Dorado version might be more like a peaty Scotch but haven't tried that one yet!

I was not compensated for this post but I did get some free booze.


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