As artisan espresso overtakes the UK, it’s time to forget the sickly-sweet coffee liqueurs of yore. Elegant, artisan and irresistibly complex, Conker’s caffeinated Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur is the cocktail ingredient craft coffee lovers have been waiting for. Don't believe us? The Cold Brew Negroni recipe at the end is proof!
If there’s one thing coffee lovers and gin fans have in common, it’s a passion for impeccable flavour. Be it the nuances of a perfectly roasted bean or the juniper-rich joy of a well-distilled gin, the layers of flavour from these berry-based beverages are a truly complex delight.
Why is it, then, that so many coffee-flavoured liqueurs are sickly-sweet simulacrums of the real thing?
It was a question Rupert of Conker found himself asking constantly. As he says, “With the gin, I’ve walked into a lot of fancy bars. These places stock 10 types of everything – and then just one coffee liqueur. I felt that all of the existing liqueurs on the market don’t actually taste like proper coffee, and they’re cloyingly sweet with added vanillas and caramels.”
Rupert decided to change that. He says, “So we wanted to see if we could create coffee liqueur for the coffee lover – using nothing but fresh, specialty coffee without the need for the usual flavourings or additives.”
It was a simple goal, but the execution was incredibly complex. Rupert spent a year working through almost 100 recipes to perfect the Conker Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur in September's Gin of the Month box.
“It turns out that to capture the true taste of freshly roasted coffee in a liqueur, you’ve got to master a complex balancing act of roasting, blending and brewing that takes no prisoners,” says Rupert. “One wrong move, one shortcut, and the taste is compromised.”
Conker’s version of coffee liqueur is composed of just four ingredients: specialty Brazilian and Ethiopian coffees, New Forest Spring Water, Conker Spirit’s distilled wheat spirit and demerara sugar.
Rupert explains: “The Brazilian is roasted darker and longer to accentuate the cacao and caramel notes, bringing a robust coffee flavour that provides the backbone to the spirit. The Ethiopian coffee is roasted faster and lighter to accentuate the sweetness and natural citrus character, so adding a zesty highlight to the blend.”
From the Cold Brew Negroni below to unexpected twists on Piña Coladas and other classic cocktails, Rupert has been continuously surprised by the versatility of the liqueur he’s created. But his personal favourite is something a lot simpler: cold brew and tonic.
He says, “With a wedge of fresh orange, it’s such a tasty and refreshing drink. I’d recommend it to anyone!”
Cold Brew Negroni
25ml Conker Gin
25ml Conker Cold Brew
25ml Suze Aperitif
Fill an Old Fashioned glass with ice and combine all ingredients. Stir for between 10 and 15 seconds, to combine and allow for some dilution. Garnish with a wheel of orange.