Coffee and Liquor

Burning cocktail with lime and coffee beans on table in a bar

I’ve been having a debate with myself and some friends for the past couple years about which is the most normalized drug our society uses. Some think it’s cannabis, but I think that still has too little overall use and acceptance to qualify. One thinks it’s sugar, which I’m wont to agree with because it’s in almost everything and so far it’s been the hardest substance for me to kick, including booze, cigarettes, weed and caffeine. That brings me to my argument with myself–is the most normalized drug caffeine or alcohol?

I’m sure there are plenty of scientific inquiries that could answer that question accurately and satisfactorily. My real point here is that many people don’t think of either alcohol or caffeine as drugs. They are though; and, truthfully, they’re two of the most normalized and accepted drugs used in our society. Additionally, they’re a lot of fun to cross-buzz.

Except for tequila, alcohol is a depressant; caffeine is a stimulant. If you enjoy both of them, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy them together. Caffeine was always my choice so I could satiate my need for dancing the night away, you know, the one that booze gives me, using the caffeine to keep me from getting sleepy (you know…the booze).

Coffee and alcohol are a pretty common combination, but of course, you need to be careful, and you need to put some thought in it. If you’re not interested in what tastes good, you might as well find a cough syrup flavored four-loco–there might be some in the storage room at your local bodega/convenience store.

Rum and whiskey are trustworthy combos for your coffee mixers. Hazelnut or Chocolate liqueur are practically made for such combinations; can you say hello Kaluah? Vodka is fairly plain, so it’s ideal for a delicious combination with any drink, including your coffee delight. You can pour a shot into a hot brew or cold one, and they’re equally as great (though one is clearly more conducive to chugging).

The Italians have a tradition of combining an espresso shot with some type of brandy, which sounds both classic and straightforward! And, of course, there’s a good ole Irish Coffee which is like a sweetened latte with a whiskey shot thrown in!

These are particularly good ideas to keep in mind as a coffee-shop owner; if you have a bar, it is a splendid notion to come up with some coffee/liquor combinations which highlight all of your shop’s offerings. Keep in mind that espresso is sometimes served with lemon so you could concoct a cocktail with citrusy notes featuring your best express coffee. Coffee is already bitter, so you’ll want to try to stay away from overly bitter or strong-tasting liquors, as well.

When drinking and serving, keep in mind the dehydration that accompanies both alcohol and caffeine consumption; when combining the two, you may find that the effects are multiplied. And, if you thought people got hungry when they were drunk, try giving them a digestion accelerator on top of that. If you’re serving, maybe consider foods that complement those coffee flavors, either in style, characteristic or flavor (or all three). An espresso cocktail could go well with a fresh lasagna if that’s conducive to your type of establishment. Also keep in mind that alcohol makes your blood sugar spike and fall, especially if you’re having sugary drinks; the tendency with coffee flavors may be to go for the sweet treat but try to give yourself some protein and complex carbs–your hangover should be minimized as a thank you for that forethought.

Don’t go overboard. Of course, this applies to any amount of drinking–coffee or alcohol–and especially for combining the two. Caffeine can be hard on your heart and alcohol affects your ability to gauge the state of your body. Keep in mind that things could be happening that you’re unaware of and keep as much control as possible. The water thing could help this as well; it may feel like it’s sobering you, but actually, it’s allowing you to enjoy the drunk longer and with less negative results!

Then, when the inevitable hangover or after-drinking-sleepiness hits you the next day, drop the liquor and use that coffee to perk back up and plow on through!



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  1. Once again I’m proven coffees’ uses are unlimited. Usually when we think of coffee and alcohol, we think of coffee as a sobering up tool, but coffee is often used as addition to alcohol.
    Me personally, I looove baileys coffee. Its a perfect blend that improves the taste on both the alcohol and coffee too.
    Everything is in the right amount one uses.

  2. People reading this, a friendly reminder.. STAY AWAY FROM DRUGS!! 🙂 Either Alcohol and Drugs or Coffee or Drugs those are terrible combination. Well drugs is a not an acceptable idea to take/use. Unless you have a medical condition. That is an exemption.
    Anyway, I agree that coffee is the best remedy to lessen alcohol hang overs. Now I understand why because of this article. Keep posting very informative article. I will always love reading each article you post! 🙂

  3. Honestly, this article seems a little disjointed. It starts talking about addiction and ends talking about cocktails! Overall, I did enjoy it. However, I think it might be good to split up such complex ideas into separate entries next time!

  4. Though I haven’t personally tried coffee alcohol together, it does sound like a good combination. My grandma has a reputation for putting rum into everything, so she’s been known to spike her morning coffee a time or two with it. I think if a shop was to go about serving it, they’d need to be a little bit selective about the hours it was available. I know that most people don’t drink much during normal coffee shop hours. I also know that I wouldn’t want be around the people who would inevitably be using too much of it during the day when I’d be attempting to focus on either work or a good book.

  5. Personally speaking, I am not a fan of alcohol. I don`t really drink and when I do it`s only a sip or two. It just does not do anything for me and it tastes awfull. Nevertheless, I have tried coffee with alcohol and I must agree that it is a great combination, you could taste the alcohol but not too much, which is great for me, since I do not enjoy it, and you can enjoy your coffee and try something new. 😀 I have tried Irish Coffee and Coffee with some Rum and I would probably try it out sometime again. 😀

  6. Interesting article! actually, I have never tried to mix coffee with alcohol because I don’t drink alcohol at all, but I find this idea a creative one and good for those who love to drink alcohol. so keep surprising us with more creative ideas like this one.

  7. Yes, I agree.
    I read somewhere that tobacco and caffeine were originally considered as illegal substances but that changed due to high public demand. Although tobacco use is still highly frowned upon, coffee has become a regular thing for most households. Almost every professional I know also doesn’t start his or her day without a cup of coffee.

    So yes, maybe caffeine is the normalized ‘drug’ of today.

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