Winter has arrived and, let's be honest, this is a holiday season increasingly for adults and less and less about the kids. We believe adult parties are always just a little bit better enhanced with spirits.
Starting with Halloween for those of you out there who are dressing as sexy nurses, Tarzan, Adam & Eve, or other more daring costumes going all the way through in-laws at the Thanksgiving feasts and boozy office parties over Christmas... well, you might need a little something to stay warm and stay pleasant. There has to at least be a better alternative to that most vile of concoctions, the energy drink and vodka.
Here are five mixers that slide easily into hot coffee and guaranteed to warm your body, ease your worries, and perk up your energy... something you'll need if you're fleeing ghosts, goblins, or law enforcement on this special night.
- Café Amaretto: it doesn't get any easier or more delicious than this. Take an ounce or two of amaretto, pour into your coffee, cream if you must. Delicious; easy; available. Always an excellent end or beginning to any night.
- Coffee and Frangelico: most bars have a bottle on hand and it's great for Halloween because the bottle is shaped like a monk. Pour in a shot or two of this hazelnut liqueur into your coffee, cream if you like, stir and drink. Sweet, fragrant, and sure to please. Substitute your favorite liqueur from nuts.
- Coffee and Rumchata: cream liqueurs have always been a popular additive to coffee because you get the sweet and the cream all in one go. We prefer the Rumchata for the extra bite of cinnamon and spices but feel free to experiment as it suits you!
- Coffee and Spiced Rum: are you seeing a trend? Add an ounce of spiced rum—this is a great use for your otherwise lamentably sweet Captain Morgan—to your coffee and enjoy. This improves even more if you happen to have some orange liqueur on hand to punch it up just a bit with some orange citrus.
- Mexican Coffee: nothing could be more Halloween than the Devil's Coffee! This only for the most daring of revelers, we call it as a shot of tequila, with a dash of Kahlua (even better to use Patron Cafe or similar) with cream to taste. Not as sweet, perhaps, but a massive jolt to the system!
- Bonus Drink Café Diablo: this isn't in the easy group of 5 because it calls for more preparation and exotic ingredients. Not at all the kind of thing you could slide out of your pocket and into a Starbuck's coffee cup on the sly if we were ever so crass as to suggest such a thing. Yet the Cafe Diablo is especially delicious: 1oz cognac, 0.5oz Cointreau, plus 2 cloves and generous strip of orange and lemon peel, heat in a pan or microwave. Now the fun part: light it with a match and pour the flaming liquid into a cup of coffee and stir. Glorious and perfect for Halloween. [This version from the excellent cocktail book "The Ultimate A to Z Bar Guide" by Sharon and Rob Herbst]
There are lots of other options. Honey liqueur is favored by many, particularly if prefer tea to coffee. Some whiskey aficionados can't stand to drink anything but whiskey and will pour their standby into the coffee. The full gamut of cinnamon and other spicy liqueurs are at your disposal. Coffee is quite amenable to a lot of different spirits and the caffeine and warmth are always welcome on a cold Autumn night.
And if you're afraid of vampires? Garlic appears to be the only flavor of vodka not yet on the market so you'll have to infuse your own.
[by Neal MacDonald, editor]