Nick Hall
13 Best Coffee Liqueurs to Celebrate World Coffee Day | Man of Many
Put simply, a coffee liqueur is an alcoholic drink with syrup-like qualities that has been generally distilled down from coffee beans. Remarkably, coffee liqueur drinks have been around since the 16th century, originally kicking off with a rum base topped with coffee and vanilla flavourings. At its core, the drink is comprised of roasted coffee beans and their powder, sugar (white or brown), vanilla syrup, espresso, and alcohol. The roasted coffee is steeped along with the sugar and other ingredients in the alcohol to produce the coffee liqueur.
What is Coffee Liqueur?
One of the big innovations in the space over the past few years has been the rise of coffee tequila. Brands like Patrón tequila has stepped up, produced a base spirit that combines a coffee flavour with a rich texture. For the most part, these coffee tequilas are interchangeable as a liqueur additive in cocktails, however, they generally have a higher alcohol percentage and are a bit more brutal on the palate.
Coffee Liqueur vs Coffee Tequila
Combining the best of both worlds, the best coffee liqueurs provide a perfect way to round out a night or get the party started with a cocktail addition. Here is a list of the best coffee liqueur brands on the market, for your next after-dinner tipple, espresso martini or dessert digestif.
Best Coffee Liqueurs
The world’s leading coffee liqueur, Mr Black hails from right here on the NSW Central Coast. Brewed using cold-pressed methods, the spirit is crafted from specialty single-origin coffee beans from Ethiopia, Brazil and Papua New Guinea.
1. Mr Black – Best Overall
One of the best-known coffee liqueur brands in the world, Kahlua has been a staple of barrooms and mixologist tables in 1936. The rich spirit is made with 100 per cent Arabica coffee beans and rum, making it ideal for an Espresso Martini. Low in alcohol volume, the coffee liqueur is palatable, creamy and delightful.
2. Kahlua – Best-Known
It is known as the home of coffee, so naturally, Italy’s take on the liqueur concept is a fan favourite. Made with 100 per cent Arabica coffee beans, Madagascar Vanilla and Jamaican Rum, Tia Maria is a slightly stronger liqueur that brings a rich flavour profile to the boil. Another classic, this one is best served on the rocks.
3. Tia Maria – Best Value
One of the best coffee tequilas on the market, Patrón XO Cafe is a much stronger take on the liqueur concept. Using tequila as the base spirit gives the drink a drier finish as opposed to the sweeter rum-based options like Kahlua and Tia Maria, however, the higher proof can be deadly.
4. Patrón XO Cafe – Best Coffee Tequila
Founded by Aussie legends Jennifer Hawkins and Jake Wall, SESIÓN is a bold take on coffee crafted from 100 per cent Blue Agave. The ultra-premium release comes by way Jalisco in Mexico and features notes of chocolate fondant, biscuits, bread dough flowing into a palate of cold-brew coffee for a rich, creamy, sweet finish.
5. SESIÓN Tequila Coffee – Best Premium
Born in the coffee-crazed streets of Singapore, Tanglin has teamed up with the esteemed Australian Pastry chef and Masterchef winner, Anna Polyviou, to create a limited-edition Coffee Gin Liqueur. The Honey Bean Gin blends coffee beans from Singapore and Aussie macadamia nuts for a sweet but smooth taste that’s the perfect pairing for some drunk deserts.
6. Tanglin’s Honey Bean Coffee Gin Liqueur – Limited Edition
Blending Jägermeister’s classic herbal liqueur with strong roasted Arabica coffee and a hint of chocolatey cacao, this cold-brew liqueur is not for the faint of heart. Originally designed as medicine, Jägermeister has a unique flavour that surprisingly translates well to the world of coffee. If you are a fan of aromatic spicy notes that lead to a sweet finish, you’re in for a treat.
6. Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee
Another tequila coffee liqueur, Cazcabel is worth the price of admission for the stunning bottle design alone. inside, you’ll find a fresh and earthy base of blanco blended with arabica coffee from the coastal region of Soconusco in Mexico. Like most tequilas, this one is best enjoyed as a shot.
7. Cazcabel Tequila Coffee Liqueur
While not a pure coffee liqueur, it would be remiss to not include Baileys. The creamy favourite is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of alcohol volume, however, the Irish Cream Coffee release does elevate a coffee cocktail with ease.
8. Baileys Irish Cream Coffee
Another Irish favourite, Jameson is no stranger to mixing spirits, but the cold brew coffee and whiskey might be one of its weirdest. With hints of toasted oak, dark chocolate and a rich coffee aroma, the Irish whiskey has all the elements of a great espresso blended with the taste of triple-distilled Jameson. Not as strange as it seems.
9. Jameson Cold Brew Coffee & Whiskey
Taking the best of Columbian Arabica coffee and jazzing it up with a bit of alcohol, Marie Brizard is a welcomed addition to any bar cart. What sets this coffee liqueur brand apart from the rest is the use of brandy as a base spirit. Throw in a hint of Madagascan vanilla and you’ve got a stellar release.
10. Marie Brizard
Landing somewhere between coffee liqueur and schnapps, Leopold Bros. is definitely something different. The spirit is crafted from a proprietary blend of freshly roasted coffee beans. From there, the producers add in a touch of raw cane sugar to balance the acidity, before bottling the blend while it is still warm to lock in the fragrant coffee aroma. The result is perfect for classic cocktails or any dessert menu.
11. Leopold Bros. Coffee Liqueur
Inspired by the richness of New Orleans–style coffee, the St George coffee liqueur is crafted from roasted Yirgacheffe coffee beans, French chicory root, Madagascar vanilla beans, and organic cane sugar. At 25% ABV, it’s a little stronger than some of the releases on this list, but it makes up for it with a touch of extra sweetness.
12. St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur
Definitely one of the best Kahlua alternatives, Kapali has the same sweetness without the sugar content. It’s a little harder to find, but far cheaper than some of the other options out there.
13. Kapali Coffee Liqueur
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