A latte more to come in cocktails

Scottish bartenders predict caffeinated cocktail serves will develop and diversify

Dundee-based bartender Turtle Higgins said offering more choice with coffee cocktails can help deliver the variety drinkers are looking for

THE growth of coffee culture in the UK has run parallel to the explosion in demand for cocktails, and the crossover between two of the country’s most popular drinks is evidenced in the fact a recent survey conducted by Diageo revealed the Espresso Martini is one of the world’s top ten favourite cocktails.

With drinkers becoming more interested in coffee and mixology, bartenders from across Scotland shared their thoughts on the future of coffee cocktails with SLTN.

Turtle Higgins, general manager of Dundee venues Bird & Bear and Jam Jar, reckons offering twists on the classic Espresso Martini serve can help provide the variation that customers are looking for.

He said: “An Espresso Martini is one of the cocktails that people understand really well. It’s simple for bartenders to make and even if you don’t have it on your cocktail list people are going to ask for it.

“What we do across our menus is offer more than just a vodka base, so we’ll offer it with a rum base. That gives our guests more choice and sweetens it up a bit, making the drink a little bit mellower to suit different tastes.

“Using a different liqueur, such as Cross Brew, that is made with new-make spirit base, can help make the drink a bit more robust too, if customers want that.”

And the use of coffee in cocktail menus is something that Christopher McNulty, general manager of Glasgow cocktail bar Strata, thinks is going to grow.

“Coffee cocktails are definitely becoming more trendy, and that’s something that has been driven by bartenders,” he said.

“We offer a cocktail called Wake Up, Funk Up! It’s a spin on the Espresso Martini and while we don’t have one (an Espresso Martini) on our menu, we are asked for it a lot.

“It’s easy, it has longevity on its side and offers a great balance of flavours.  The simple drinks are the ones that get you over the line.”

The predicted growth of coffee mixology will see the development of more diverse serves and the use of coffee as an ingredient, forecast Benjamin Hardy of Lucky Liquor Co in Edinburgh.

Using coffee in cocktails has a lot more potential and versatility than a lot of people think

He said: “While everyone has heard of the Espresso Martini, I think using coffee in cocktails is something that has a lot more potential  and versatility than a lot of people think.

“There’s classic cocktails such as the Revolver, a stirred down bourbon drink with coffee liqueur and orange bitters, that’s great and that should become more widespread.

“There is also more potential to use frozen coffee in cocktails too. For instance, bartenders could freeze a large block of cold brew coffee, that has a high water content, then cut it into cubes and make an Old Fashioned with a large piece of coffee ice, which will slowly infuse into the cocktail over time.”

As the market for cocktails changes it could stand to favour drinks with coffee, said Turtle.

“The cocktail scene is mental right now, particularly in Dundee, and I think as it develops people are moving away from serves like the Woo Woo and moving towards things which have more robust and distinct flavours, like the Espresso Martini and other coffee serves,” he said.

“Personally, my favourite alcoholic coffee drink would be a Boozy Affogato, using ice cream, coffee and a liqueur. I love chilled coffee and the drink has a great texture, that’s my cup of tea – or coffee I should say.”

And with consumers becoming more knowledgable about coffee, Benjamin of Lucky Liquor Co reckons bar staff should look to learn more about how it can be used in mixed drinks. He said: “As coffee is such a large part of everyday life for many people, bartenders need to know their coffee cocktails and coffee liqueurs.”

[box style=”0″]

Suggested serve – Wake Up, Funk Up!


40ml Mammont Vodka

20ml Mr Black Coffee Liqueur

5ml Fernet Branca

20ml vanilla syrup

50ml cold brew coffee


Cherry Heering spritz


Method: add all ingredients to a shaker, except the cola and spritz, shake vigorously for as long as your arms can take it. Fine strain into a frozen high ball. Top up with cola and garnish with the spritz.

“This cocktail is a cross between an Espresso Martini and a Fernet and cola – things that people might not think go together but do.”

– Christopher McNulty, Strata.