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Iberian Coffee

Spanish Coffee

Not too long ago, I wrote an article about mixed drinks in Spain. After writing the piece, I thought to myself, what kind of Spanish mixed drink can I create? The answer with my lack of a decent liquor cabinet was, not much! I used to like creating drinks and experimenting with new flavors, but lately, I’ve neither had the time nor the booze accessible to create a noteworthy mixed drink. So, what does a typical businessman do? They contract out! And Darcy at the Art of Drink was the perfect candidate. My proposal to Darcy was whether he could create an Iberian cocktail was various Iberian ingredients. Darcy took me up on my offer with gusto, and just before the holidays, I received both the recipe and his thoughts on creating it. Below is the result. I want to mention that as of now I have not made this drink though I really want to! The main reason I haven’t is that this holiday has been about cellar reduction. Many a bottle of wine has been drunk and I really haven’t had much time for my mixed drink repertoire. This will change, but for now, I hope that someone out there sends us a note with their results on what this tempting concoction turns out! Enjoy!

So what makes Spanish Coffee, Spanish? If you look at the ingredients in a Spanish Coffee it contains rum, brandy and a coffee liqueur like Kahlua or Tia Maria. Unless you are using Spanish brandy, nothing in this drink is Spanish. With all the great spirits in the Iberian peninsula (Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Gibraltar) there should be a drink the represents these regions. After a little research and a few experimental tastings, a new specialty coffee has been created called the Iberian Coffee. Hopefully Ryan will whip one up and give you his opinion.

The main reason for creating this coffee was because a Spanish Coffee doesn’t really have any roots in Spain. It is possible, and there has been some research on this, that Spain was one of the original places in the world where adding an alcoholic spirit to a coffee was common place. The veracity of this information is iffy, but these types of facts are hard to prove or disprove.

The selection of ingredients required to make the Iberian coffee were fairly obvious. The first choice was brandy, since it is popular in Spain and is used in a classic Spanish Coffee. Spanish brandy is best since it has a stronger presence than French or American brandy. The second choice was Port which provides some depth of flavours and sweetness to the coffee. The third choice is to incorporate a fig flavour into the drink, by combining it with whipped cream. Obviously figs are common in the Iberian region and they provide a fruity / earthy aroma to the coffee. Finally, a flamed orange peel is used to give the drink some depth of flavour, plus oranges are again popular in the Mediterranean region and are used in a number of culinary dishes.

Iberian Coffee

¾ oz Brandy (Spanish)
¾ oz Tawny Port
4 oz Strong Coffee
Top Fig Cream

Combine the first three ingredients in a coffee mug or Irish coffee glass. Flame the zest of an orange peel over the coffee and then top with the fig flavour whipped cream.

Fig Whipped Cream

4 oz Double Cream (Heavy 35%+)
1 Tbls Table Sugar
½ oz Fig Flavoured Vodka (Kleiner Feigling)*

Beat cream, sugar, and brandy in medium bowl. Whisk until peaks form.

If you can’t find fig flavoured vodka, you can substitute fig syrup. If that isn’t available you can make your own by soaking 500 grams of fresh chopped figs in 500ml of vodka. Allow to sit for two weeks and then strain. The colour will make the whip cream a beige colour.

Classic Spanish Coffee

4 oz Hot Coffee
1 oz Tia Maria
1 oz Brandy
½ oz 151 Proof Rum
1 oz Heavy Cream

Combine hot coffee, tia maria, light rum in an Irish coffee glass and stir. Add heavy cream on top.

Darcy O’Neil is a bartender with a formal education in chemistry. His motive for becoming a bartender was part by chance and partially to fulfill his culinary desires. Darcy feels that in life, food and drink are too important to take short cuts, so he quickly became an advocate for making great cocktails. Darcy currently works as a bartender and spends his time writing about his mixology and bartending experiences on his website, The Art of Drink.

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