There may not be a hotter drink trend right now than what we're mixing up with this week's cocktail. The magical elixir I speak of is cold-brewed coffee, affectionately known as "cold brew" to folks hanging around your neighborhood coffee shop, cafe and doughnut house.
Why has the beverage become so popular that Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts have developed their own versions? Cold brew is less bitter and acidic than drip coffee, and it boasts a higher caffeine count.
If you want to make your own cold brew at home, it's simple. Tonight, take an empty jar, drop in one cup of your favorite coarsely ground joe, pour over three cups of room-temperature water, and give it a shake. Strain your science experiment through a coffee filter, transfer it into another container tomorrow morning, and boom — you’ve made your own batch of super joe with life-giving powers.
You could also leave it to the pros. The cool thing is, the caffeinated concoction is now available almost everywhere. It seems like the cold-brew brands stored near the milk section at Publix are on sale every week. Tampa's Jug & Bottle Dept., Dough and Ginger Beard Coffee, to name a few, also offer local cold brew in take-home growlers.
Making cocktails with cold-brewed coffee is great. If I’m whipping up something quick, I throw together a little cold brew, vodka and a splash of Baileys Irish cream. Last week's hero — Vanilla Crown Royal — works, too. But for you guys, we’re getting fancy with Afrohead Rum.
You might remember Afrohead from On the Sauce's delicious Old Cuban cocktail featured over the summer. This time, we’re using the spirit's distinguished older sibling: Afrohead XO, which is aged for 15 years. XO’s notes of toffee, vanilla and caramel are made for pairing with coffee. For fun, the recipe also calls for spice in the form of chai tea. Yep, I found a way to add caffeine to our caffeine.
Rum and Cold Brew
Chai-Spiced Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
2 chai tea bags
1 cup sugar
In a saucepan, add water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Let sit for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, return to heat and bring to a boil. Add sugar and stir just until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
1.5 ounces dark aged rum (I used Afrohead XO)
2 ounces cold-brew coffee
1 ounce chai-spiced simple syrup
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Pour in all ingredients and shake just until shaker is chilled (don’t over-shake). Fill a rocks glass with ice and strain in cocktail.