Coffee cocktail – 100% caffeine free
You’ve possibly realized I have a bit of a soft spot for all things fortified. Delicious as they are on their own but there’s more to chase than a simple glass of your birth year’s Vintage Port, an old Palo Cortado or newly discovered fancy Canadian Ice Cider?
Mixing it all up, I want to turn your attention to a rather old and classic, yet widely ignored cocktail recipe, that suits my obsession just well. Oh by the way, it’s utterly delicious if done properly and surprisingly caffeine-free. So you don’t even have to be afraid of making this your go-to-nightcap.
The Coffee Cocktail
Wise words indeed which can be found in the 1887 edition of Jerry Thomas’ “Bartender’s Guide or How to Mix all Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks”. Let’s leave The Professor’s ability to name his concoctions aside for now, however despite a certain lack of verbal creativity when it comes to this drink, it still makes for a lovely sip. As already mentioned before, no single coffee bean got anywhere near the shaker, no dash or two were added to the mix. And quite frankly, even if “properly concocted”, my ol’ breakfast brew looks nothing like the “Coffee Cocktail”.
-1 tea spoonful powdered white sugar
-1 large egg
-1 pony of brandy
-1 large wine glass of port wine
-2 or 3 lumps of ice
Break the egg into the glass, put in the sugar, and lastly the port wine, brandy and ice. Shake up very thoroughly, and strain into a medium bar goblet. Grate a little nutmeg on top before serving.
At first, take a closer look and then give it a wee try:
Whatever kind of sugar you prefer, the white powdered stuff works just fine, I wouldn’t mind using sugar syrup as well (1,5 sugar : 1 water is my personal choice).
The egg is nothing to worry about, it will give the drink a frothy look, silky mouth feel and unique lusciousness. By the way (for all you geeks) it makes the whole thing a representative of the Flip family.
Pony? I just love those old cocktail bibles referring to quantities completely forgotten nowadays. Go for 1 oz (30 ml) of a decent cognac (no need to crank open Louis XIII) – VS or VSOP will do.
Large wine glass? Yet again, 2 or 3 oz I’d say (60 or 90 ml, depending on your taste and condition). The recipe does not specify the type of port and this is where it gets interesting for us fortified freaks. Play around with a good Ruby Port, adding a reddish fruity touch to the drink and balance it off with just the right amount of sugar.
A Tawny on the other hand will accentuate more woody aromas, caramel and vanilla accents and less berry or jam-like sensation, depending on the quality you might discover astringent, complex notes of age and maturation.
Or why not go for a Late Bottled Vintage or if you fancy older, oxidized-style ports, a 20year Tawny or old Colheita should do the trick.
Enough dry theory, shake it up and sip on it. Not only is the Coffee Cocktail a perfect example of fortified product’s mixability, it’s also a very versatile addition to your portfolio, perfect as a brunch accompaniment, rich after dinner drink (without cream) or nightcap.
What makes this beauty shine is indeed the port and making the right decisions on which wine to use. Knowing different styles of the liquid Douro ambassador makes it easier to match you own palate. But do not hesitate to simply try and mix a few different versions utilizing different types of port.