Tropical drinks are usually fruity affairs, brightly colored and served in funky glasses that are topped with tiny umbrellas. Those tiki drinks are delicious, but they are not the only way to enjoy a taste of the tropics. This Coconut Rum Mocha is a delicious dessert coffee drink that is infused with coconut and rum, paired with just the right amount of chocolate. The combination may sound a bit strange, but once you have a sip and see how the creamy coconut, spiced rum and bittersweet chocolate blend together, you’ll find yourself making sure that you have the ingredients on hand at all times.
The coconut flavor comes from cream of coconut. This is a product that is usually found in the liquor aisle at grocery stores or with the rest of the pina colada ingredients at spirits stores. It is pre-sweetened, unlike plain coconut milk, and ready to use right out of the bottle/can. I used spiced rum – Bacardi Oakheart, in this case, though Captain Morgan, Sailor Jerry, The Kracken, etc. will all work – because it blends very well with coconut and chocolate, providing a nice bridge between the two elements. These two ingredients are a must, but you can be a little bit more flexible with the other elements of the drink and tweak them to suit your tastes. For instance, you can use any kind of hot cocoa mix in this drink (or make your own with sugar and cocoa powder) and any kind of coffee. Since this drink is meant as a nightcap, making it with decaf coffee is a good choice if you want to skip the caffeine before bedtime. One thing that I wouldn’t skip, however, is the whipped cream. It adds a hint of creaminess to the drink and helps meld all those other flavors together each time you take a sip. Plus, desserts are always nicer with a dollop of whipped cream!
Continue reading »
There are few things more refreshing than an iced coffee on a hot day. Unlike popsicles or ice cream, you can really slow down and savor an iced coffee without worrying about making a sticky mess. Flavored iced coffees in particular can really hit the spot during the summer, and my latest love has been homemade Salted Caramel Iced Coffee. This coffee drink is just sweet enough to satisfy a craving for something indulgent without being overly sweet, and it is easy to customize it to suit your own tastes. For me, I like to make it with strong coffee as a base and serve it up with a generous swirl of whipped cream.
If you have iced coffee at home, then just make your drink with iced coffee to start out with. If you don’t have iced coffee at home, you’re going to have to start off hot. This gives you some advantages, since it is very easy to dissolve sugar, caramel and other ingredients into hot coffee. The disadvantage is that you might have to wait for the coffee to cool before you can enjoy your refreshing beverage. When I am making iced coffee, I brew double strength coffee. This not only cuts the sweetness of whatever syrups I’m adding, but it dilutes itself when you pour it over ice, bringing it down to a perfect consistency and temperature.
I used a storebought salted caramel sauce to make this drink (from Trader Joe’s), which make the drink-making process quick and easy. If you don’t have a salted caramel sauce, you can simply add a pinch to your favorite unsalted caramel sauce. Don’t forget to drizzle the drink on top with caramel and add a few grains of salt to really enhance that salty-sweetness before serving!
Many people think of tea lattes as hot drinks that should be enjoyed in cold weather or on cool mornings. Just as many coffee drinks are good over ice, so are tea lattes and they’re a great alternative to a regular pitcher of iced tea when you want a drink to cool down with on a summer afternoon. This Iced Lemon Tea Latte is one of my current favorites and was inspired by another summer classic: lemonade.
The lemon tea latte starts with a lemon-flavored tea. I used Cuppa Cakes Lemon Chiffon, which has a very clear lemon flavor in a mild herbal green tea base. I brew tea at double or triple strength for iced tea lattes, since you’re going to be diluting the tea quite a bit with both ice and milk. I brew the tea hot, add sugar and a touch of vanilla extract (a few drops of lemon extract can be added to boost the lemon flavor on a tea where it is not present or not prounounced), then pour it over ice and finish it with cold milk. It’s creamy, lemony and it has just the right amount of sweetness. I like to think of it as somewhere between lemonade and a milkshake – and for a lemon lover, it will be a instant hit.
Continue reading »
I am a big fan of Mint Juleps, a classic cocktail that is made with bourbon, sugar and mint. They’re usually found at the Kentucky Derby, where race-goers need a refreshing drink to sip while they are hanging out in the sun on a warm spring day. My only problem with the traditional julep is that the drink is quite strong and I need something that is going to last a little bit longer if I’m relaxing outside in the heat. My solution was to create a Mint Julep Iced Tea that is an even more refreshing take on the classic drink.
The drink starts with sweet black iced tea, poured over muddled mint and bourbon. Muddling mint is a great technique that is often used when crafting cocktails to release the oils in the mint leaves, and it works just as well in iced tea. It also gives the drink a nice look when it is served to have the mint leaves at the bottom of the glass. Bourbon goes very well with black tea and the mint makes the drink especially refreshing and palate-cleansing as you sip it.
This recipe is scaled to make one serving of iced tea. If you want to serve a crowd, I suggest starting with a large pitcher of sweetened black iced tea and then assembling the drink – adding the bourbon and mint to each glass – as you serve. And, of course, you can omit the bourbon for a refreshing minty tea if you want the idea of a julep without the alcohol, too.