We know you go nuts over Melbourne's unofficial mascot, the espresso martini—but coffee can play nice with drinks other than the originally titled Pharmaceutical Stimulant. In Melbourne, we're not short of both bars and world-beating coffee. So in the highly-caffeinated spirit of pushing you out of your comfort zone when it comes to the most delicious of beans, here are nine great coffee cocktails that aren't your standard Espresso Martini.
Coffee and Rose Tequila Old Fashioned at Glamp
This African inspired bar devotes an entire page to classic cocktails that have been given a coffee hit. There's a julep, brandy Alexander, daiquiri and of course, an espresso martini, but it's their take on an Old Fashioned that catches our eye. Tequila and mezcal replaces the whiskey and is beefed up with nitrogen-infused Arabica from Kenya and chocolate bitters.
Liquid Christmas Cake at St Ali
If you want a good coffee cocktail you have to start with good coffee—and Barista Matt Perger, from St Ali, knows a good brew. His Liquid Christmas Cake (a heady combo of black spiced rum, muscat, Grand Marnier and espresso) was dubbed best coffee cocktail on the panet at the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championships.
Espresso Zabaione at Eau De Vie
There would be riots if the Espresso Zabaione ever got taken off the menu at Eau De Vie, and we'd likely incite another if we left this one off the list. Part drink, part dessert, this confection is your choice of rum, tequila or vodka (go the rum!) mixed with coffee and maple syrup all housed under a frozen mousse dome.
Cold Drip Martini at Mr Miyagi
East meets west as the espresso martini turns Japanese—and almost unrecognisable—with the help of Mr Miyagi. A duo of non-traditional shochu and sake is combined with cold drip coffee and a frothy white chocolate crema.
Melting Pot at Glamorama
It's weird but it works! Glamorama's coffee cocktail is indeed a melting pot of flavours. They add tastes of anise, bitter orange, fig and cinnamon plus rum to their cold drip brew. Think of the Melting Pot as a very effective fuel for all the dancing you're gonna do here.
Absinthe Frappuccino at Nieuw Amsterdam
Nieuw Amsterdam never fails to take a risk with their drinks. Who knew your daily caffeine hit would welcome a sneaky addition of absinthe and blueberry syrup? It must all be down to the harmonious fruity, herbaceous notes in the coffee liqueur.
The Little Black Book at The Rum Diary Bar
When it comes to coffee in cocktails, The Rum Diary Bar's mantra seems to be that spice is nice. Their pairing of Plantation Original Dark Rum and espresso is spiked with real vanilla, a hint of chilli and brown sugar. Very nice indeed.
Abnoba's Offering at The Ugly Duckling
Cranberry, gingerbread and coffee meet a boozy trio of rum, vermouth and chocolate liquor at The Ugly Duckling. It's like a rich Black Forest cake in a glass! If it's good enough for Abnoba—the ancient Germanic goddess of the area from which the famous dessert came—it's good enough for us.
Espresso XO at Treehouse Lounge
They say the original is the best, but we're always keen for a twist. At Treehouse Lounge they shake up no less than six variations on the espresso martini theme (do not attempt to try all six in one sitting lest you be swinging from the rafters). Highly recommended is the Espresso XO which features Patron's addictive cafe tequila. And we think it's rather important to note that you can get your espresso and your espresso martini fix as early as 7am, whenever the thirst is real.
Image credit: Ariana Gillrie