This week I bought a moka, and some beans from a local coffee shop, Vivace. The beans on their site look delicious! I have never had a way to brew coffee before, so this is a fun new experience for me. It makes coffee very similar to a french press, but perhaps a bit muddier. The output from the Moka is not as rich as espresso, but the ratio of effort:quality is outstanding.
One of the first things I did was use it to make Francis the Mule, which I found on Chuck Taggart’s blog, Looka.
Francis the Mule
2 oz Bourbon (Buffalo Trace)
3/4 oz cold strong coffee (depending on brewing method and beans, this could vary. always taste!)
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz orgeat syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
When I tasted this in the mixing glass, pre-shake, the coffee flavor wasn’t where I wanted it to be. There was too much of the lemon/almond, and not enough bitterness, so I upped the proportion of coffee from 1/2 to 3/4 oz. This proved to be an excellent choice, imparting the drink with a perfectly salient, but not overpowering experience of coffee.
I also made a slight variation by using Buffalo Trace bourbon that I infused with a vanilla bean for five days. I have found that vanilla-infused bourbon really brings something special to the concept of a whiskey sour, be it daisy, fix, or something more exotic. I also thought there was enough going on because of the vanilla that I decided to omit the lemon oil from the garnish. Lemon oil and vanilla occupy different flavor frequencies, but there is some overlap and it is critical that one can taste each element in a mixed drink distinctly; too many flavors overwhelm the palate, and result in a drink that tastes of nothing in particular.
While we’re on the subject of coffee, lemon, and almonds, I was entertaining a friend who was allergic to alcohol, and I was inspired to make a sour using coffee as the base “spirit”. I would have loved to try some sweet vermouth with this, but that would, of course, break the no alcohol rule. Fee’s bitters are suspended in glycerine instead of alcohol, so they are completely on the table, mercifully, and Fee’s orange was perfect here. When I made this drink, Francis the Mule was not in my thoughts, but it must have manifested subconsciously, because the recipes are extremely similar.
2 oz strong coffee
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz orgeat syrup.
2 dashes Fee’s orange bitters
Serve this to your DD, they’ll love it. Since there was no alcohol in this one, an egg white was right out, but fortunately the coffee frothed up like a monster, as you can sort of see. I have several other ideas for coffee as a base spirit, and I also intend to experiment with replacing coffee liqueur in drinks with fresh coffee. Due to the variation in beans, and the bitterness of the brew, it’s almost like adding a new class of amari to my bar.