I‘ve always loved champagne and a good mimosa, but sometimes they’re a little too weak to motivate me to roll out of bed in the morning. That’s why my favorite brunch cocktail is something called the Black Forest, which features chilled espresso to give you an extra kick on those days waking up seems particularly difficult. There are several different recipes for this drink, but the one I like best comes from the original, 1947 edition of the Angostura Professional Mixing Guide.

I’ve found that there isn’t a really specific type of espresso (or coffee) that works best here, so you have plenty of options. Whatever you use though, you want to make sure you’re brewing something strong and thick in order for your cocktail have the perfect amount of head.  If you’re preparing drinks for a large gathering, you may find that it’s best to use a french press or pour over to make enough for your guests. Buying some cold brew in bottles works well in a pinch, too.

I usually begin by brewing some of my favorite Sumatra blend in an Italian Moka pot. These little contraptions make some of the most flavorful espresso for the cost, and they’re more durable than any expensive machine I’ve had.

After having one fresh cup for myself, I set another aside for the drink. When it reaches room temperature, I pour the espresso over ice to cool it down even more. Again, if you plan ahead, you can save some from the day before so you’re ready to prepare your cocktail in the morning.

Once you’ve got the coffee all squared away, grab your maraschino liqueur and Benedictine. Although you’re only using a half ounce of each, their strength makes the cocktail just strong enough to get the day’s activities off to a rousing start. Add all of the ingredients, along with two dashes of orange bitters, to a steel shaker with ice and shake hard. This drink takes some effort to wake up, much like myself.

Finally, go ahead and strain the concoction into a chilled champagne flute. I like to garnish it with a fresh, oily coffee bean. This little touch shows your company that the foam on top of their drink is thick and rich, and will have your friends asking you to leave the champagne at home next time they invite you to brunch.

The Black Forest Cocktail


½ oz Benedictine

½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

2 dashes orange coffee bitters

4 oz chilled espresso


Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Let settle until only a small head of foam remains on the top. Garnish with a coffee bean and serve.

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