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London Coffee Week:
Spotlight on Coffee Liqueur

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London Coffee Week

There’s a reason why the Espresso Martini is one of our favourite cocktails - we simply love coffee!

And it isn’t just us. Dick Bradsell - creator of the much-loved cocktail - said that the Martini was a big hit with his creative partner-in-crime, a well-known young lady who walked into his bar in the late 1980s, asking for a drink that would “Wake me up, and then f**k me up.”

Who was that 'well-known lady', you ask? Well, although Dick hasn’t officially told anyone her identity, he did confirm in a widely-circulated video that it was none other than the supermodel, Kate Moss.

Great taste in fashion and drinks? No wonder we love you, Kate.

Sadly, we can’t 100% confirm that it was indeed Kate that was in Dick’s bar that fateful night (sorry!). What we can confirm, on the other hand, is that we know what it takes to make a bloody good coffee cocktail! And, in celebration of London Coffee Week, we're going to clue you in as well...

First off, forget all that skinny caramel macchiato nonsense, at the end of the day what makes a great coffee cocktail is just that, great coffee – or as it’s commonly known, coffee liqueur.

Coffee liqueur is a serious business, and it has been for a very, very long time. It’s believed that the marriage of coffee and alcohol dates as far back as 800 A.D, when African tribes started fermenting coffee-berry pulp into, get this, coffee wine. Yeh, doesn’t sound too appetizing…but it’s a pretty good start!

It wasn’t until the mid 17th century that coffee began its much-needed journey from sludgy berry pulp to delicious distilled spirit as, around this time, the enterprising Dutch were beginning to commercialize that new-fangled art of distillation.

The story goes that the Dutch, who had amassed quite the empire at this time, were wondering what to do with all their spoiled bitter oranges imported from the West Indies? One solution was to add them to the alcohol they were distilling to camouflage the vile taste of rotgut…of course, now it just tasted vile AND bitter - so they decided to add another novelty that arrived with colonization, cane sugar. They then discovered that if they redistilled the rotgut alcohol a couple more times, the vile flavour disappeared - Voila, Orange Liqueur!

But it didn't end there. After discovering this magical infusion, the Dutch decided to try out some of the other exciting, foreign ingredients that they were importing from their far-reaching empire - ingredients that included our favourite caffeinated friend, coffee!

It's no exaggeration to state that the Dutch invented Liqueur. The Clever-clogs.

It didn't take long for news of these tasty liqueurs to spread through Europe, and it did...quickly. England was bowled over with this marvel and, by the end of 17th century, the drinking of liqueurs had spread as far as Italy and France.

Of course, we've progressed a lot since the rotgut alcohol days of the 17th century (at least, we hope), and so have our coffee liqueurs. Today, we have a wide range of liqueurs to choose from with an exciting pool of alcohol bases - from vodka and rum, to gin and tequila.

Here are some of our absolute favourites that are certain to add that much-needed kick to your coffee creation:



Enough with the history, this is a modern coffee liqueur for the ‘cold-pressed’ crowd.

Mr Black uses the finest beans are sourced from Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia and Brazil and roasted to an exact specification to ensure the rich flavour and caramelisation. These beans are then cold-pressed to give a less acidic brew with a rounder mouthfeel. The final product is then combined with pure Australian Grain spirit to give this dark rich liqueur an amazing coffee flavour.

Hints of toffee and marmalade are also present with a fine citrus edge to finish. They haven’t just concentrated on the liqueur though. The bottle itself is literally a work of art. Australian artist Dale Bigeni illustrated a striking owl design for the Mr Black bottle. Beautiful and delicious.



In the small Welsh village of Abergwyngregyn, Aber Falls Distillery is the first Distillery in North Wales for more than a century. Making products that take inspiration from the area’s heritage and history, the bottle design features a Triquetra, also known as a trinity knot, inspired by Celtic symbology.

Aber Falls Coffee & Dark Chocolate, inspired by the iconic Espresso Martini, balances aromatic coffee with the bitter dark chocolate - creating a deliciously rich and velvety liqueur with a sweet finish.

A perfect liqueur for anyone looking to enhance their creations with indulgently smooth chocolate flavours - which is pretty much everyone, we think.



XO Cafe is one of the most recent additions to Patron’s range and has quickly grown in popularity.

Created by blending the Silver range with natural coffee essence, look out for the flavour of chocolate and vanilla and of course ground coffee.

Why not celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a Patron XO inspired Espresso Martini? It'll certainly keep you dancing...



Pirate’s Grog Black Ei8ht Coffee Rum Liqueur is an incredibly smooth and unique spirit with a twist.

Made by blending Pirate's Grog five-year-old Honduran rum with Brazilian cold-brew coffee, this is an elegantly balanced blend with notes of chocolate, caramel and a hint of toffee.

The rum liqueur was originally created for the perfect Espresso Rumtini, but tastes fantastic as a digestif, straight up over ice or as a coffee liqueur.


In the words of Miss Moss, hope these wake you up and...well, you know how the saying goes.




Tagged in: espresso, coffee, coffee liqueur, Espresso Martini, Dick Bradsell, London Coffee Week. Categories: Spotlight On..., Drunk History.

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