Coffee Cocktail: The Classic Cocktail with no Coffee

The Coffee Cocktail is typically served after dinner, a digestif classic cocktail that contains no coffee whatsoever.

Coffee Cocktail – Photo © Cocktails & Bars

The classic Coffee Cocktail was first published in Jerry Thomas’ 1887 edition of Bartenders Guide How to Mix Drinks. In the book, the author states,

“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.”

The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of powdered white sugar, 1 fresh egg, 1 large wine glass of port wine, 1 pony of brandy and 2 or 3 lumps of ice, as well as grated nutmeg on top.

Essentially a flip, all the ingredients are shaken together in a cocktail shaker over ice and served in a small wine glass. The freshly grated nutmeg on top adds a touch of spice and rounds off the flavours. The coffee-coloured cocktail is smooth and silky on the palate, a little on the sweet side and makes a fine after-dinner nightcap.

Coffee Cocktail Recipe

Recipe adapted from Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide, How to Mix Drinks 1887


  • 45ml Port
  • 45ml Cognac
  • 15ml simple syrup
  • 1 whole egg

Glassware: port glass
Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg


Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled port glass and garnish with a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg on top.

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