Five Easy Coffee Cocktails for Summer Refreshment

Coffee-forward spins on these classics make for the perfect coffee cocktail treat.


Cover photo by Matt Hoffman for Unsplash

Despite their popularity over the last several years, coffee cocktails have, of course, existed much longer than this span of time. The Black Russian was invented in 1949 and the Irish Coffee in 1943, just to name a couple.

Thanks to facets of the coffee world like Coffee in Good Spirits and barista-bloggers, there are many new coffee-cocktail recipes out there to try, from classic cocktails with a twist to totally new recipes. Let’s take a look at five coffee cocktails perfect for this summer.

Coffee cocktails like the Paloma Negra provide caffeinated refreshment that is particularly needed in the summertime. Photo by Pongsawat Pasom for Unsplash.

Paloma Negra

Mr. Black is a coffee liqueur made with arabica coffee from Colombia, Kenya, and Papua New Guinea. It gets cold-brewed and then combined with Australian wheat vodka, and a touch of cane sugar. Mr. Black is the base for this refreshing cocktail.

Paloma Negra is a mix of Mr. Black, mezcal or tequila, and pink grapefruit juice in equal quantities poured over ice in a highball, topped with soda and served garnished with a wedge of grapefruit.

Espresso OJ Garibaldi

Mixing espresso with orange juice has been on everyone’s minds lately, and the resulting Bumble Coffee is served in coffee shops around the world—a mix of OJ, coffee, and caramel. But what if we want to add something extra, and turn it into something perfect for a boozy brunch?

Two-time World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship winner Dan Fellows provides an interpretation of the classic two-ingredient Garibaldi cocktail, simply adding espresso to the Campari-OJ mixture.

Blending together the juice of two oranges, a double espresso, and 30ml of Campari will give you the perfect fluffy Espresso OJ Garibaldi. The Campari acts as a bridge to perfectly balance the espresso and the orange juice, giving you a sort of Negroni feeling, but with a total summer vibe.

Coffee Shochu Mojito

The Mojito is a cocktail whose origin is contested, mixed with stories of pirates and African culture. What is certain is that American writer Ernest Hemingway helped popularize it during his long years spent in Cuba.

Of all the Mojito variations that can be found, this is one of the most original, combining homemade coffee-infused Shochu (a Japanese distilled spirit made from organic starch sources, which replaces the traditional rum base) with mint, lime, sugar syrup, and soda.

To assemble the coffee cocktail, combine the coffee Shochu with lime wedges and fresh mint in a highball glass, muddle it to release all the flavors, then add the simple syrup, crushed ice, and soda. Give it a couple of stirs and it will be ready to be enjoyed, perfectly refreshing to cool down even the hottest summer afternoons.

Dublin Iced Coffee

Irish Coffee is one of the most classic coffee cocktails. It’s hot, creamy, and stiff, a perfect drink to sip on a cold and rainy Dublin night. But what if it’s summer? What if it is too hot to drink an even hotter drink?

Dublin Iced Coffee is the perfect answer for those who want to enjoy a summer cocktail that reimagines the classic Irish Coffee in a modern and more refreshing way.

Erick Castro, owner of San Diego’s Polite Provisions cocktail bar, reinvented the drink by combining the Irish whiskey and heavy cream with cold-brew coffee, a stout beer, and simple syrup. 

Just fill a footed pilsner glass with ice, add all the ingredients except the cream, and stir to combine. Slowly pour the cream on top, garnish with freshly grated cinnamon, and the Dublin Iced Coffee is ready, perfect to sip after dinner on a warm summer night. 

Espresso Gin and Tonic

The gin and tonic is yet another classic cocktail with a rather interesting history, having been invented almost two centuries ago to help fight malaria in the Indian subcontinent. At that time, quinine drunk with tonic water was implemented to cure the tropical disease, but its taste was so bitter that officers of the local military force started to mix it with gin, which was already part of their rations, along with sugar and lime to make it more drinkable.  

Clearly it is no longer a cure for malaria. Today it is served with many different garnishes, often to reflect the botanical taste of the individual gin brand. A twist on the classic G&T, the Espresso Gin and Tonic can be prepared simply by adding a double shot of espresso to the usual recipe, but also by mixing it with syrups or spices. 

In this recipe, a mix of homemade lavender and lemon sugar syrup is added to the Espresso Gin and Tonic, delivering a perfect summer cocktail in which gin’s savory wild botanicals balance the sweet syrup and the slightly bitter double shot of espresso. 


Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.

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