Bartenders have hit the local coffee shop and taken their morning vices behind the bar. Your local craft cocktail watering hole probably has a smidge of single origin espressos, bitters, cold-brew, even manually-brewed, pour-over coffee making an appearance on their cocktail offerings.
Today’s coffee cocktails are not your standard creamy after-dinner Irish Coffee. Coffee culture has invaded bartenders’ creative whims and we now see coffee combined with the likes of tonic water or bitter amaro for cocktails that are perfectly perky, maybe even refreshing. Coffee no longer dominates the profile, taking a back seat to complex spirited flavor combinations, adding subtle nuances.
The fusion of bartender and barista feels like a natural evolution, as both drink categories have given birth to a rise of talent and specialty with an attention to craft. It was eventual that the two would finally merge and create a bartender with specialty coffee training who can deliver high-end cocktail service. You may guess this might only be seen in places with maturity in both coffee and craft cocktail culture, but we’ve even seen this trend invade menus across the Midwest, too, in cities like Kansas City, St. Louis and Cincinnati.
Does this caffeinated craze have the potential to usurp, dare I say, even the Queen of Brunch, The Bloody Mary? Could this be the “perk-fect” drink for morning tailgating and pregaming? The next ready-to-drink canned cocktail?