Recipes for After Dinner Coffee Drinks

If you're planning a dinner party, consider serving after dinner coffee drinks as your grand finale. These cold-weather cocktails are a perfect stand-in or complement to dessert and conversation but can also be made iced in summer weather. Start by honing your coffee-making skills, then put on your mixologist's hat as you make one of our recipes or create one of your own.

Make Good, Strong Coffee
After dinner coffee drinks are made with stronger coffee than you'd drink in the morning. To brew the best cup of coffee, start with a clean coffee maker. If it's been a while since you have cleaned yours, run vinegar through the brewing cycle, followed by two brewing cycles with clean water.

Although any brewing method is suitable for after dinner drinks, coffee purists fall on the side of the French press, which, if you're serving drinks to guests, delivers on presentation as well as the fine brew it produces. In other words, it's worth the time and effort to brew your coffee in small batches.

Use freshly roasted coffee beans for the best flavor. Coffee retains its flavor for only two to three weeks after roasting. If you can, buy beans in small amounts and use within this timeframe. If you must, store any excess beans in airtight container away from heat and light. Exposure to these elements affects the flavor of the beans. Pre-ground coffee beans work well, but for best results invest in a coffee grinder and grind beans just before brewing.

An average cup of coffee is made with a ratio of 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of ground coffee for every five ounces of water. For after dinner coffee drinks, increase the amount of coffee to two tablespoons per five ounces of water. Stronger coffee won't be overpowered by the flavor of the alcohols you use.

Choose Your Roast
Most Americans drink medium roast coffee. For after dinner coffee drinks, choose at least medium roast or go for more depth of flavor with a dark or high roast bean.

Italian coffee is typically made with Italian roast, which is the darkest of the coffees, where the beans are roasted until they almost turn black. If you're unsure which you'd like to try, start with the same roast you usually brew for your morning coffee.

Depending on your own sensitivities and those of your friends, you may want to consider making your after dinner drinks with decaffeinated coffee. Good quality decaf shouldn't taste any less robust, rich or satisfying than its caffeinated counterpart. Purchase a premium dark roast and brew it in small batches for the best flavor.

If you're still not convinced, use equal amounts of your regular coffee and decaf. You might like the taste better, but you'll still reduce the amount of caffeine consumed.

Classic After Dinner Coffee Drink Recipes
All of the drinks here are prepared using the following technique:

  • Brew freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee at a ratio of two tablespoons of water for every five ounces of water
  • When brewing is complete, pour into mugs and add the liquor or liqueurs and sugar, if called for
  • Stir well
  • Top with fresh whipped cream, garnish and serve

To make your own whipped cream, beat or whisk a pint of whipping cream until fluffy. If you want to sweeten the cream, add up to ½ cup of powdered sugar and/or ½ teaspoon of vanilla before beating.

Irish Crème Coffee Drinks

  • 5 ounces premium blend freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 ounce Irish whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons whipped cream

Mexican Coffee

  • 5 ounces premium blend freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 ounce Kahlua liqueur
  • ½ ounce tequila
  • 3 tablespoons whipped cream

Spanish Coffee

  • 5 ounces premium blend freshly brewed coffee
  • ½ ounce rum
  • ½ ounce Tia Maria
  • 3 tablespoons whipped cream

Italian Coffee

  • 5 ounces of freshly brewed, hot Italian roast coffee
  • ½ ounce Liquore Strega
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup whipped cream
  • Ground nutmeg

Amaretto Italian Coffee

  • 5 ounces of freshly brewed, hot Italian roast coffee
  • 1 ounce amaretto
  • ½ ounce brandy
  • ¼ cup whipped cream
  • Ground cinnamon
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Mexican coffee recipes are many and varied. They are often served as after dinner cocktails, but can also be nonalcoholic beverages served at any time of the day. Some are impressive, involving flaming alcohol and caramelized sugared rims, while others are simply mixtures of spices, sugars and coffee.

Irish coffee drinks are perfect for relaxing after dinner with a few friends. These cocktails are both sweet and warm, mixing the rich flavors of your favorite coffee with either Irish whiskey or Irish Crème liqueur, and always best when served with a dollop of whipped cream. 

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Traditional Italian coffee recipes use strong, Italian roast coffee and either Liquore Strega or Amaretto. While there are many Italian coffee recipes that have become popular throughout the world (espressos, lattes, cappuccinos, etc.), you can assume your guest wants one of these two coffee drinks if he or she orders an Italian coffee.

There are many kinds of Spanish coffee recipes available, but all work as wonderful after dinner dessert drinks. You can create hot or cold recipes and all are delicious.

If you love whiskey, give this delicious hot toddy recipe a chance. It's perfect to serve around the holidays alongside some freshly baked cookies.

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