Ever experiment with a cocktail, then take a sip and think…

Whoa. That is a great cocktail.

You pause to write down how you made it (because God Forbid you forget…) and then you down that drink like it’s your job because it is just. plain. that. good.

Today, I’m here to share one of those recipes. We partnered with McCarthy’s Single Malt Whiskey on the High End Spirits Seminar earlier this year, and they asked us to experiment with their whiskey to create a great cocktail that shows off its best qualities. Chris tackled the challenge with this coffee, chocolate and single malt cocktail and I am here to tell you – this one’s a success!

One Cocchi Espresso, Please

The coffee flavor joins this cocktail via infusion – directly into the vermouth. Now, coffee infusions are notoriously difficult to get right: it’s extremely easy to over-extract the coffee and end up with a bitter, burnt flavor. So Chris decided to forego the classic “Put it in a jar and wait” infusion method, and instead made a shot of espresso in an Aeropress – simply replacing the water with Cocchi Americano sweet vermouth.

And it worked! The resulting infusion had a beautiful coffee flavor but avoided the bitterness that often comes along with it. Armed with a great coffee vermouth, it was time to assemble the cocktail.

Coffee, Chocolate and Smoke

The way Chris described it to me, It’s a bit like sitting in a cafe in New York having your breakfast. Coffee and chocolate, with a bit of smoke from that guy having a cigarette next door. A risky combination? Yes. Did it pay off? Absolutely!

Starting with McCarthy’s Single Malt provided a great baseline of smoke, and adding the Cocchi “espresso” contributed a beautiful coffee flavor. Not to mention the Cocchi itself – Chris chose it because the vermouth has a slight fruitiness to it, which brings out an almost fruity hint in the coffee beans as well. A touch of blended Scotch whiskey filled out the drink without overwhelming the flavor.

Finally, he finished it off with a few dashes of Chocolate bitters. Admittedly, this was an easy choice. Chocolate seemed like the perfect way to amplify the espresso notes and tie all of the ingredients together beautifully.

Definitely worth a Try

If you have the ingredients (and an Aeropress) then you must give this one a try! If anything, have a go at the infusion. Chris gave me a taste of the final cocktail and I was very surprised at how well it worked! (Though I have a sneaky suspicion the Aeropress will disappear from our kitchen forever now…)

This cocktail really is a fantastic drink. The only problem was that Chris only let me have one sip!


Breakfast Manhattan

A little smoke to go with your morning coffee - with McCarthy’s Single Malt Whiskey!
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Course: Drinks


Cocktail Ingredients

  • 1.0 oz McCarthy‘s Single Malt Whiskey
  • 1.0 oz Blended Scotch Whiskey Johnnie Walker Black Label
  • .75 oz Espresso-Infused Sweet Vermouth Cocchi Americano
  • 2 Dashes Chocolate Bitters Fee Brothers
  • 1 each Cocktail Cherry Luxardo

Espresso-Infused Sweet Vermouth Ingredients

  • 1.0 oz Sweet Vermouth Cocchi Americano
  • 1 Tsp Espresso Grounds


Cocktail Instructions

  • Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice.
  • Stir to chill and dilute.
  • Strain into a cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with a cocktail cherry.

Espresso-Infused Sweet Vermouth Instructions

  • Combine sweet vermouth and espresso into an aero press.
  • “Pull” your shot of espresso with the aero press.