Merging caffeine and alcohol is a brilliant idea, but we've had enough Irish coffee to last a lifetime. From an invigorating espresso martini to a buzz-worthy caffeinated Negroni, here are seven must-try caffeinated cocktails across the U.S.
1. Negroni Svegliato, Bound by Salvatore, Las Vegas
Award-winning bartender Salvatore Calabrese, affectionately known as “The Maestro," has been behind the bar for more than 30 years, doing everything from concocting the world's oldest cocktail, containing rare liqueurs with a combined age of 730 years, to creating standout signature cocktails executed with precision. At his bar, Bound by Salvatore, at the Cromwell Hotel in Las Vegas, try his original espresso drinks like the Negroni Svegliato, a combination of a classic Negroni cocktail and Italian Moka coffee (made using a frozen Italian moka pot). The coffee, brewed with vermouth instead of water, gets stirred with gin, Campari and simple syrup, served in an Old Fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnished with an orange twist.
2. Canadian Tuxedo, Reserve 101, Houston
No-frills whiskey bar Reserve 101 in Houston has a come-as-you-are atmosphere and an eclectic crowd ranging from students and oil executives to athletes, including NBA notables Charles Barkley and Kobe Bryant, music-world stars The Killers and Shakira, and Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn. The drinks menu features more than 340 whiskey selections from 14 different countries and several must-try cocktails including the Canadian Tuxedo. The java-based drink combines Canadian whisky with honey-processed, cold-brewed coffee from prolific local roasters Katz Coffee, mint-flavored Italian liqueur, sweet Scotch whiskey liqueur, blackstrap bitters and a mint sprig garnish.
3. Cafe Con Leche Martini, Cafeina, Miami
Expect innovative tapas and specialty cocktails at Cafeina (which means caffeine in Spanish) in Miami's art district, Wynwood. More than just a lounge, the space also includes a tapas-style restaurant and gallery hung with local contemporary art. Coffee and booze come together in the cafe con Leche martini, one of the most popular drinks on the menu. The signature cocktail is made with Colombian-coffee-infused vodka, South African cream liqueur and chocolate-flavored liqueur.
4. Espresso Bongo, Latitude 29, New Orleans
The tiki décor at New Orleans’ Latitude 29, including bamboo beams and a wall mural embedded with Polynesian tiki statues, will get you into an island state of mind. The espresso bongo gets a jolt from chilled brewed espresso, mixed with Jamaican amber rum, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, fresh orange juice, passion fruit nectar and unsweetened pineapple juice. Shaken with ice and poured into a chilled double rocks glass, this cocktail just might be your ticket to paradise.
5. Espresso Martini, Blue on Highland, Boston
Blue on Highland serves up American cuisine and excellent cocktails. Italian coffee never tasted so good as when it's mixed with vanilla vodka, Irish whiskey, chocolate-flavored liqueur and cream based liqueur, in Blue on Highland’s espresso martini. Shredded coconut adds the finishing touch.
6. The Dude, Donnie Vegas, Portland, OR
At the Portland bar Donnie Vegas, order a drink from the ever-rotating selection, and check out the life-size paintings of Mike Tyson and Bruce Lee on the bathroom walls. One of the best drinks here is The Dude, the house riff on a classic whiskey sour. Blackstrap rum made from molasses, allspice berry flavored liqueur, sweetened condensed milk and chocolate bitters join cold-brew coffee for a truly eye-opening cocktail.
7. Bitter Irish, Empress Lounge, Washington D.C.
Empress Lounge at Washington D.C.'s Mandarin Oriental Hotel provides a bird's-eye view of the Potomac River and of the hotel's gorgeous garden. The see-and-be-seen crowd includes a lengthy roster of famous names like George Lucas, Tom Hanks, Sting, Billy Joel and Carlos Santana. Here, you can warm up with the Bitter Irish: Spiked with Irish whiskey, the drink is a blend of Italian bitter liqueur, Jamaican-coffee-bean dark liqueur and cream orange bitters, served with a toasted marshmallow on top.
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