When is a coffee cocktail not a coffee cocktail? Maybe when it hasn’t a drop of coffee in the recipe? And when is a pre-prohibition drink without bitters actually a cocktail? These were our initial questions when we reached drink number 20 in our project.
Technically, when cocktails were originated, they had to be a blend of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. This particular libation is missing the bitters. It is an old recipe, dating back to the late 1800s, originally published in Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide or How to Mix All Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks (1887). No explanation for the lack of bitters.
What it does have is a whole egg, which technically speaking would make it a flip. It is the use of the whole egg that gives it the silky feel, almost like a milk texture. Very similar to a latte.
But again, no coffee. In the words of Jerry Thomas, “The name of this drink is a misnomer, as coffee and bitters are not to be found among its ingredients, but it looks like coffee when it has been properly concocted, and hence probably its name.” Hmmm. We followed the instructions to the letter and ours turned out a pale pinkish, mauve color. So much for looks.
The good news is that this is a very pleasing cocktail to drink. You seriously get a latte aroma and what seemed to be a flavor reminiscent of a macchiato. The nutmeg cuts the taste of the egg and you are left with the beautiful texture the egg provides. The froth also lends to the illusion of a coffee drink.
While this is billed as a true gentleman’s cocktail or nightcap, I have to say that I could forgo my Starbucks and start my day like this with no problem!
The Coffee Cocktail
1 oz Brandy
2-3 oz Ruby Port
1 tsp Sugar
Pour brandy, whole egg, port, and sugar into a shaker without ice. Shake well, then add ice and shake again. Strain into a goblet and top with grated nutmeg.
Some recipes say to place the egg and all ingredients into an iced shaker, but we have always found the results better when you shake up the egg and ingredients before adding ice and shaking a second time. Just a preference on our end, perhaps.