Boozy coffee drinks are almost as trendy as White Claw. We put them to the test

Boozy coffee drinks are almost as trendy as White Claw. We put them to the test

Rooster samples four exotic Joes, for the java-curious

VicesAugust 03, 2020

Ohhhh coffee, you irresistible caffeine delight. That beautiful bitter body, tantalizing flavor and energetic kick are addicting — on more than just a chemical level. Coffee’s the best part of an early (or hungover) morning, a necessary ally in the fight to get each day started fresh, a reliable partner and a warm morning lover.

But sometimes, coffee falls a little short on its own. Sometimes, when you reach for that coffee drink you find yourself thinking of another — you find yourself wishing your regular coffee had a little bit of a wilder side. You start daydreaming about coffee with more kick; a caffeine drink with all those earthy, roasted qualities that you love coffee for, but with an extra nip — something to take the edge off. 

That’s the alcoholic in you talking. And, if you listen to that voice, following it down the aisles of your local liquor store, it will lead you directly to the coffee infusion section; the red-light district for coffee-lovers looking to get a little kinky with their caffeine beverages...

It’s how Rooster Labs ended up with a bar full of boozy coffee drinks. We decided to take a few of these randy refreshments out for a spin, so you don’t have to… and boy, should you thank us. 

Because, as we learned the hard way: bringing alcohol into your relationship with coffee, isn’t always such a satisfying experience.
 

Spiked Cold Brew

Espresso Shot 12.5%

"Perfectly blended espresso brew made from premium arabica coffee lightly sweetened with agave and dairy."

“It’s a real kick in the tonsils… with a creamy aftertaste I really dig.”
- Simon, Publisher

“WHY DOES IT BURN?!” - Lindsey, Writer

2.5/5

 

PBR

 Hard Coffee 5%

"Original PBR hand iced with a dash of milk."

“Hmm… Tastes like a thinned out version of Kahlua.”
- BC, Developer

“This might actually be better than real PBR. Not that that’s saying much.” - Will, Writer

3/5

 

Nitro Khalua

Nitro Espresso Style Martini

"Coffee martini made with liqueur and vodka."

“Tastes Like a bum just French kissed me.”
- BC, Developer

“It’s gross,” *gargles drink* “Egh… don’t gargle it.”
- Lindsey, Writer

1.5/5

 

Spiked Cold Brew

Caffe Mocha 12.5%

"Silky smooth flavors of mocha made with premium dark roast arabica coffee and the rich flavors of pure cocoa.”

“The first sip is a sweet, bitter punch in the nuts…”
- Will, Writer

"This tastes like what a teacher breathing down your neck smells like… vodka and coffee.”
- Lindsey, Writer

2/5

 

BONUS: What is Nitro and why does it matter?

At cafes “Cold brew nitro” has taken off — and many brewers and beer connoisseurs these days contend that nitro is the only way to drink stouts. 

But, what is it? And why do people think it’s so much better?

To answer those questions we’ve got to go back seventy years to the 1950’s, to Ireland, where the OG nitro drink was first developed: Guinness Draft Beer. 

This dark, malty stout is characterized by it’s creamy, silky-soft mouthfeel, very unlike traditionally carbonated beer. Because, instead of using conventional CO2 to put bubbles in his brew, Michael Ash, a mathematician at Guinness, developed a system to use nitrogen. 

It revolutionized brewing almost overnight. Guinness became a household name — and drinking vast quantities of it, soon became a St. Patties Day tradition all over the world.

The nitro technique moved into the world of coffee sometime between 2011 and 2013 (no one really knows who was the first, though several different cafe’s lay stake to the claim). By 2015, nitro cold brew coffee was in cans on shelves all over America and became a popular item at almost every local cafe. 

Today the technique is everywhere. And baristas and brewers alike are finding delicious new ways of nitrogeonizing their drinks.