Coffee Cocktails to Take You from Summer to Fall

Hazelnut, salted caramel, and pumpkin spice are the stars of these three autumnal coffee cocktails. Bonus: a DIY coffee liqueur!

BY EMILY JOY MENESES
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Where has the time gone? Summer is coming to an end, and seasonal favorites like citrusy cold brews and fruit-infused lattes are stepping aside to make way for drinks inspired by the crisp, cozy feelings of autumn. To celebrate the change of seasons, we’ve gathered a handful of coffee cocktail recipes that incorporate all of our favorite warming fall flavors: think salted caramel, pumpkin spice, and hazelnut. Read on to learn how to make these three easy bevs!

Espresso martini in a martini coupe glass.
Salted caramel adds a layer of warmth and decadence to a typical espresso martini. Photo by Anima Visual via Unsplash.

Salted Caramel Espresso Martini

What coffee cocktail list would be complete without an espresso martini? In this one, salted caramel adds a layer of warmth and decadence.

Ingredients:

1.5 oz gin
1 oz coffee liqueur
2 tbsp caramel sauce
1 shot of espresso
Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with coffee beans. Rim glass with caramel for extra caramel flavor.

A beverage topped with whipped cream, with a jack-o-lantern in the background.
The Pumpkin Spice White Russian merges the beloved fall flavor into the classic cocktail. Photo by Theo Crazzolara via Unsplash.

Pumpkin Spice White Russian

Year after year, pumpkin spice remains an autumnal favorite. Spice up the way you use it by adding it to a White Russian!

Ingredients:

2 oz vodka
1 oz coffee liqueur
2 oz pumpkin spice creamer (store-bought or homemade)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
0.5 tsp raw cane sugar
Optional: whipped cream

Rim glass with pumpkin pie spice and sugar. Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake until thoroughly mixed. Pour into a glass and top with pumpkin pie spice and/or whipped cream.

Irish coffee with a large heap of whipped cream on top, in a traditional Irish coffee glass with handle. It sits on a saucer with a spoon.
 Hazelnut adds a touch of autumn to the Irish Coffee. Photo by Maria Orlova via Pexels.

Hazelnut Irish Coffee

If you’re looking for a hot drink, Irish coffee is the way to go. Try it topped with hazelnut-infused whipped cream for a warm and aromatic touch.

Ingredients:

1 cup hot coffee
2 tsp brown sugar
1.5 oz Irish whiskey
1 dollop of whipped cream
1 tsp hazelnut syrup

In a bowl, stir the hazelnut syrup into whipped cream and set it aside. Pour the brown sugar and Irish whiskey into the cup of hot coffee and stir. Top with hazelnut-infused whipped cream and garnish with toppings of choice.

Making Your Own Coffee Liqueur

To get even more creative, you can make your own coffee liqueur with used coffee grounds! Not only is it sustainable, it’s also super easy.

First, stir dried used coffee grounds with granulated sugar at a 1:1 ratio. We recommend starting with 100 grams of each. Let this coffee-sugar mixture macerate for about 24 hours.

After 24 hours, the combination of sugar and coffee grounds should have begun forming a syrup. Add in freshly brewed coffee (equal to the amount of coffee grounds or sugar — in this case, 100 grams), then run the entire mixture through a strainer.

Now, you’ll have a syrup that you can use to infuse any 40% ABV spirit. Add in your spirit of choice (equal in weight to the amount of brewed coffee—again, in this case, 100 grams). We recommend using vodka or rum, but get creative depending on what your unique tastes are and what you plan to use the liqueur for. Bottle it up and enjoy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Joy Meneses (she/they) is a writer and musician based in Los Angeles. Her hobbies include foraging, cortados, vintage synths, and connecting with her Filipino roots through music, art, food, and beverage.

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