COFFEE SPECIALTIES

BRIMMING WITH PROFIT AND APPEAL

Few countries appreciate a great cup of coffee as much we do. In fact, America is the largest coffee-consuming nation in the world, so it’s little wonder that we continue devising so many innovative ways to work with it behind our bars. It is estimated that more than 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year, easily making it the world’s most popular beverage.

Creating delicious coffee-based drinks isn’t complicated. The warmth and flavor of coffee marries beautifully with a wide range of flavors and products. Indeed, when it comes to behind the bar alchemy, coffee has nearly unlimited possibilities. Enjoy! —RP


COFFEE DRINKS AT A GLANCE

• DIFFICULTY OF PREPARATION: 3.1 OUT OF 10 — If these drinks were any easier to prepare your pet rock could man the bar leaving you free to get into mischief elsewhere. For the most part, coffee drinks are prepared directly into the glass in which they’re served. The recipe ingredients meld together when the hot coffee is added. Drop on some whipped cream or frothed milk and the drink is done.

Occasionally a recipe may call for the ingredients to be flash blended. In this instance, the products are to be poured into an empty blender canister and the machine quickly turned on and off. Remember to put the lid back on. The short burst not only integrates the products thoroughly, it also lightens the drink by injecting it with a bazillion tiny air bubbles.

[Scale 1– 10: A drink with a value of 5.0 or lower means it can easily be prepared in one’s sleep, while a rating closer to 10 indicates that it takes several days to prepare and requires an advanced degree.]


• UP-SELLING POTENTIAL: 3.7 OUT OF 10 — These drinks are not often branded with premium products. While some people might order their coffee served with an expensive Cognacs and ultra-premium liqueurs, extraordinary results can nevertheless be achieved investing significantly less.

[Scale 1– 10: A drink with an up-selling potential of 5.0 or higher means it’s a financial thoroughbred, a cocktail tailor-made for top-shelf spirits. A rating below 5 signifies a drink in which the brand of spirits used are of secondary importance compared to the overall effect looking to be achieved.]


• ALCOHOL POTENCY: The alcohol portion in most coffee drinks is diluted 5:1 or more by the other ingredients. As such they are less potent than most cocktails. Another moderating affect is that people tend to drink hot coffee at a slower pace, which in turn will slow the rate the alcohol is absorbed into a person’s bloodstream. The alcohol potency of these drinks drops even lower when they’re served over ice.

[As a general rule, 1 1/4-ounces of distilled spirits is equal in alcohol to 4-ounces of wine and 10-ounces of beer.]


• PORTIONING CONSIDERATIONS: Most coffee drinks are prepared with no more than 2 ounces of alcohol—spirits and liqueurs—and up to 8 ounces of various alcohol-free ingredients. Proportions typically range between 1 part alcohol to 4-6 parts mix. When devising a coffee drink, be conservative with the amount of alcohol used. Making the drink stronger then involves no more than a minor flick of the wrist. However, if you use too much alcohol relative to the size of the glass the drink is not as easily fixed.


• SEASONAL ORIENTATION AND TRADE PERIOD: Coffee drinks were once considered only cold weather fare were once considered only cold weather fare. The proliferation of cafes and coffee houses around the country has dramatically changed our perception of the marketability of hot drinks. Although all-seasons appropriate, if it’s sweltering outside you may want to recommend these drink be served over ice. There are times when cold and delicious trumps hot and delicious.

Coffee drinks are also timeless in the sense that they’re popularly ordered throughout the day and evening. Brunch, High Tea or after a late dinner…it doesn’t matter. Likewise, these drinks are likely to be embraced and warmly welcomed in any type of bar, restaurant or lounge. Well, perhaps not at a teahouse, but other than that they’ll fly anywhere.


• GLASSWARE OPTIONS: Create a masterpiece, present it in a worthy glass. Insulated glass offers the best of all options. Its thick, yet transparent character allows guests to appreciate how attractive these drinks look. Coffee glasses are typically 9-12 ounces in capacity. Preheating prevents glasses and ceramic ware from cracking due to thermal shock. Preheat glassware with simmering hot water to preheat, or throughout the evening keep your cups, saucers, mugs and demitasses mouth down on the vent tray on top of the espresso machine.


• ALCOHOL-FREE OPTIONS: 9.6 OUT OF 10 — To some, the sight of a steamy cup of coffee is an end in itself. To others, it’s more of a blank canvas waiting to be altered into a singularly delicious drink. The rich, robust flavor of coffee marries beautifully with a wide range of flavors and products. Indeed, when it comes to alcohol-free alchemy, coffee has nearly unlimited creative possibilities.

[Scale: The rating of 9.6 out of 10 indicates that alcohol-free variations of these drinks are plentiful and easily crafted. In fact, omitting the alcohol in many coffee-based drinks may well go unnoticed.]


CREATING COFFEE MAGIC

Making sensational coffee drinks is as easy as losing money in Vegas. The robust flavor of coffee is complementary with fruit (e.g. raspberry, banana, papaya and strawberry), nuts (e.g. hazelnut, almond, pistachio and pecan), bakery (e.g. chocolate, fudge, vanilla, caramel, butterscotch and cinnamon) and citrus (e.g. orange and lemon), not to mention coconut, honey, maple, brown sugar, nutmeg and anise.

Mixing hot cocoa into a coffee drink is a fun way to completely change its flavor profile, and while steamed milk is most frequently used in cappuccinos and lattes, it works wonders served atop a drink made with freshly brewed coffee.

At Finest Call, we’ve created a range of products ideally suited for creating piping hot works of art.


• FINEST CALL FRUIT PUREES — Created to deliver a concentrated blast of fresh fruit flavor, Finest Call Fruit Purees are indispensable behind the bar and fabulous mixed with coffee. For example, the Bananas Foster Coffee derives much of its flavor from the addition of Finest Call Banana Puree. The same can be said for the purees used in the STRAMARETTO COFFEE (strawberry) and RASPBERRY MOCHA COFFEE (raspberry).

Our purees are made entirely of premium varieties of fruit picked at their peak ripeness. Having done nature one better, shelf-stable fruit purees allow you to fully deliver on the promise of fresh without the attendant hassles.

Our unbeatable range of premium purees includes FINEST CALL RASPBERRY PUREE, FINEST CALL STRAWBERRY PUREE, FINEST CALL BANANA PUREE, FINEST CALL MANGO PUREE, FINEST CALL PEACH PUREE and FINEST CALL PASSION FRUIT PUREE.


• FINEST CALL PREMIUM FLAVORED SYRUPS — Sometimes a splash or two of flavor is all that’s necessary to propel a drink into the extraordinary range. To that end, we’ve created a line of flavored syrups developed specifically for use in cocktails and drinks. Finest Call’s Almond-flavored Orgeat Syrup is especially delicious added to coffee. Recipes featuring Orgeat and other flavored syrups include:

Bananas Foster Coffee (Finest Call Orgeat Syrup)

Café Brûlee (Finest Call Orgeat Syrup)

Holiday Coffee (Finest Call Cherry Syrup)

Hot Caramel Coffee (Finest Call Orgeat Syrup & Bar Syrup)

Stramaretto Coffee (Finest Call Orgeat Syrup)


• FINEST CALL DRINK INGREDIENTS — We’ve made it our business to develop the finest, high quality drink fixings possible. As a result, many of our products wind up being used in ways we didn’t originally foresee. For instance, we honestly had no idea beforehand that Finest Piña Colada Mix would work so well mixed with coffee—but  it does. The TAHITIAN COFFEE proves the point. It also turns out that the flavor of Finest Call Agave Nectar Syrup is a perfect counterpoint to the bitter notes in coffee as evidenced in the IRISH CAFÉ ROYALE, RASPBERRY MOCHA COFFEE and the ROYAL COFFEE.


BREWING WORLD-CLASS COFFEE

No guest should be made to suffer through a miserable cup of Joe. So to help avoid that from happening, here are tips on how to brew a great pot of coffee. Sometimes a few words of advice can mean the difference between a luxurious cup of heaven and a bitter, acrid mess.

• FRESH START — Making great coffee starts with freshly roasted beans. Whole beans maintain their freshness longer than ground coffee. Do not store coffee—especially ground coffee—in a refrigerator, cooler or the walk-in. The ambient moisture will rob coffee of its freshness. Even sealed in a container, coffee is susceptible to absorbing the odors of food in a refrigerator. Storing coffee in the freezer is a better alternative.


• DAILY GRIND — Coffee beans should be ground just prior to brewing. The method of brewing should dictate the type of grind used. Espresso requires that the beans be finely ground. Nearly all of the other brewing methods rely on slower extractions and need a moderately coarse ground. If the coffee is ground too fine, the water will extract an excessive amount of oil and flavor. It will also clog the filter and cause minute particles of coffee to make their way into the finished cup. An excessively course grind allows the hot water to rapidly flow through, which results in under-extraction and a bitter, flavorless brew.


• WATER QUALITY — The coffee you brew can be no better than the water you use to make it. Many tap waters contain alkali and minerals that adversely react with the essential oils in the coffee beans. The phosphates in softened water react even worse with the coffee. Filtered drinking water or naturally sourced spring water is optimal.


• WATER TEMPERATURE — The water temperature once the brewing cycle has commenced should ideally be between 195˚ and 205˚ Fahrenheit. Using water cooler than that will result in under-extraction and weak, bitter coffee. On the other end of the scale, never pour boiling water directly over the coffee. Always wait a few moments before using boiling water taken directly off the burner.


• FILTER SELECTION — Most methods of brewing require the use of either a paper or gold-plated filter. There are advantages to both. Paper filters are disposable and convenient. They are also effective at preventing solids from entering the coffee, although they filter out more of the desirable oils and colloids, the minute solids that give the brew its body and mouthfeel.

Gold plated filters allow more of the all-important oils and colloids to pass through to the finished brew. They are quite effective at filtering out solids, durable and are moderately priced. Their chief drawback seems to be that one is left with a filter full of messy coffee grounds to deal with.


• FILTER SELECTION — In coffee parlance, a scoop of ground coffee is considered to be two teaspoons. How much coffee you use is obviously a huge factor in determining the quality of the finished product. As a general rule, use one scoop of ground coffee for every 2 cups of water. This basic ratio can be adjusted based on personal preference.


• KEEPING COFFEE HOT — Prolonged exposure to direct heat will rapidly turn a pot of brewed coffee bitter. This naturally begs the question why nearly all coffee makers come equipped with electric burners upon which the pot is meant to rest for extended periods of time? After all, every passing minute that the coffee sits on a burner, a chain of unwanted chemical reactions will continue to destroy and vaporize all that is desirable. While there appears to be no readily apparent explanation, the best advice is to immediately take the coffee off the burner as soon as convenient.


• LIFE EXPECTANCY — If you’ve ever drunk a cup of old, stale coffee, you’ll agree that freshness matters. Serve coffee immediately after the brewing process has stopped. Conventional wisdom suggests that the optimum life expectancy of brewed coffee be between 20-40 minutes, after which it is best discarded.


COFFEE DRINKS — TIPS FOR PROS

Coffee is easily the world’s most popular beverage. In fact, it’s the second-most heavily traded commodity after petroleum.

While there are scores of venerable coffee-based drinks, two have attained rarified status. One such recipe is the KEOKI COFFEE, which is made with equal parts of Kahlúa, brandy and chocolate liqueur, a blend of ingredients that marry beautifully with the robust flavor of coffee.

The other Java classic is the IRISH COFFEE. As the story goes, on a particularly cold evening in 1952, Joe Sheridan, head chef at the Shannon airport restaurant, laced his coffee with a healthy dram of whiskey, a spot of sugar and a layer of whipped cream The utterly delicious drink took on a life of its own after that becoming a specialty of the airport’s bar. That same year, a columnist and travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, passed through Shannon on his way home. He sampled several of the coffees and was immediately smitten with the combination.

Word of the Shannon airport’s coffee made its way to the Buena Vista Café on Fisherman’s Wharf. The drink was replicated and immediately generated a following.

Walk into the café today and you’ll see a long row of coffee mugs arranged on the bar rail. The bartender will walk back and forth pouring the drink’s necessary ingredients into the waiting glasses. The drinks are then finished with whipped cream just moments before being served to the waiting throng.

Here are some pointers to help you create your own coffee masterpiece.

ESPRIT DE CORPS — Coffee happens to be among the most capable delivery systems for spirits and liqueurs. Cognacs and brandies, rums, tequilas and all types of whiskey are natural complements to the flavor of coffee.


FINEST CALL COFFEE RECIPES

BANANAS FOSTER COFFEE

Cinnamon sugar-rimmed coffee glass, pre-heated

Pour ingredients into an empty blender canister

1 oz. Tuaca

1 oz. Finest Call Orgeat Syrup

4 oz. Finest Call Banana Puree

4 oz. coffee

1 1⁄2 oz. whole milk

Flash blend

Add 1 scoop vanilla ice cream

Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon sugar


ENTERTAINING WITH COCOA DRINKS

Cocoa is a comfort beverage. It is often the drink of choice for a relaxed Sunday morning, just before bedtime, or after a late dinner. Hot cocoa is a classic American beverage—warm, satisfying and best of all it’s made from pure, 100% chocolate.

Hot cocoa’s origins go far beyond Bosco or Ovaltine. In fact, cocoa beans were so revered by the Aztecs they were used as money.             Upon returning to Spain, Cortez introduced King Charles V to sweetened hot cocoa, and not surprisingly, it soon became the rage of the aristocracy. For more than a century, cocoa remained the domain of the wealthy and privileged.

Now cocoa is accessible to the average Joe and civilization is better for it. Its warmth and flavor marries beautifully with a wide range of products, making it a great foundation for delicious cocoa-based drinks. —RP


COCOA DRINKS AT A GLANCE

• SEASONAL ORIENTATION — While we think coffee drinks have developed a year ‘round following, we’re not so ready to say the same about hot cocoa concoctions. They’re certainly perfectly suited for entertaining during fall and winter—perhaps even more than perfect. However, once the temperature streaks past 70˚ or so, other libations better acclimated for warm weather take center stage.

• TIME OF DAY — Hot cocoa drinks are tailor-made for serving after dinner as a lip-smacking dessert. These libations are soothing, delectable and seem to get more delicious as the night grows late.

• TYPE OF EVENT — At what type of functions should you consider serving hot cocoa drinks? Casual dinner parties, holiday soirees and informal get-togethers leap to mind, as do post-Super Bowl festivities, Valentine’s Day celebrations and toasting the New Year are equally fitting.

• DIFFICULTY OF PREPARATION: 3.1 OUT OF 10 — It’s hard to imagine a style of drinks that are easier to prepare. Gravity does most of the heavy lifting. For the most part, cacao drinks are prepared directly into the glass in which they’re served. The recipe ingredients meld together when the hot cocoa is added. Add whipped cream or frothed milk and the drink is done.

Occasionally a recipe may call for the ingredients to be flash blended. In this instance, the products are to be poured into an empty blender canister and the machine quickly turned on and off. Remember to put the lid back on. The short burst not only integrates the products thoroughly, it also lightens the drink by injecting it with a bazillion tiny air bubbles.

[Scale 1– 10: A drink with a value of 5.0 or lower means it can easily be prepared in one’s sleep, while a rating closer to 10 indicates that it takes several days to prepare and requires an advanced degree.]


• ALCOHOL POTENCY: The alcohol component in most cocoa drinks is typically diluted 5:1 or more by the other ingredients. As such they are less potent than most cocktails. Another moderating affect is that people tend to drink hot cocoa at a slower pace, which in turn will slow the rate the alcohol is absorbed into a person’s bloodstream. The alcohol potency of these drinks drops even lower when ice cream or a layer of frothed milk is added.

[As a general rule, 1 1/4-ounces of distilled spirits is equal in alcohol to 4-ounces of wine and 10-ounces of beer.]


• RELATIVE COST: $–$$ out of $$$$$ — These are not expensive drinks to serve at a party. They’re delicious, but not pricy. While your guests will thank you profusely and rave about these night-capping cocoas for weeks to come, the drinks may wind up being the least expensive item featured on the evening’s menu.

[Scale: As an estimation of what you might spend on drink ingredients, the rating of $–$$ means they’ll likely cost about what you’d spend renting a movie, staying at home and splitting a quart of Rocky Road, but certainly less than you’d spend driving to a movie theater, buying tickets and snacking on a smuggled popcorn and pretzels.]


• SWEET/SAVORY SCALE: 4.2 OUT OF 10 — Hot cocoa being the underlying foundation of these drinks means that they’re pleasantly sweet and generously imbued with flavor. They are, after all, desserts served hot in cool mugs. In fact, we don’t know of a single cocoa concoction made with healthy stuff like tofu, whole grains or fresh vegetables. How great is that?

[Scale: The rating of 4.2 out of 10 signifies that hot cocoa drinks lean noticeably toward the sweeter side of life.]


• ALCOHOL-FREE OPTIONS: 9.6 OUT OF 10 — To some, the sight of a steamy cup of cocoa is an end in itself. To others, it’s more of a blank canvas waiting to be altered into something even more delicious.

To illustrate the point, start with a 3/4 full cup of hot cocoa. At this point, the drink is almost begging for an added blast of flavor. Hot fudge, chocolate syrup and caramel all complement the flavor of hot cocoa. If adding a sauce is more of a blast than desired, maybe a splash of Finest Call Hazelnut, Huckleberry or Cherry Syrup is called for.

After the identity of the cocoa base has been altered, it’s time to drop in a scoop of ice cream. Shortly after splash down, the melting ice cream forms a frothy layer on the surface of the cocoa. It’s a fabulous presentation. The coup de grace is there’s a wide variety of ice cream flavors that work with the satisfying taste of hot cocoa, a list that includes banana, chocolate, French vanilla, raspberry, strawberry and almond roca, to name but a few.

[Scale: The rating of 9.6 out of 10 indicates that alcohol-free variations of hot cocoa drinks are plentiful and easily crafted. In fact, omitting the alcohol in many cocoa-based drinks may well go unnoticed.]


CREATING COCOA MAGIC

Devising great hot cocoa drinks involves the least amount of genius and has the highest likelihood of eliciting a standing ovation. Chocolate is a flavor so ingrained in our psyches that creating sensational drinks with it is almost foolproof. It’s about as straightforward as mixology gets.

At Finest Call, we’ve created a range of products ideally suited for creating piping hot works of art. So have fun, experiment and remember there’s no such thing as making a mistake with hot cocoa.


• FINEST CALL FRUIT PUREES — Created to deliver a concentrated blast of fresh fruit flavor, Finest Call Fruit Purees are indispensable behind the bar and fabulous mixed with coffee. For example, the STRAWBERRY CREAM COCOA derives much of its flavor from the addition of Finest Call Strawberry Puree. The same can be said for the purees used in the CHOCO-NANA (banana) and COCOA CONTENTÉ (raspberry).

Our purees are made entirely of premium varieties of fruit picked at their peak ripeness. Having done nature one better, shelf-stable fruit purees allow you to fully deliver on the promise of fresh without the attendant hassles.

Our unbeatable range of premium purees includes FINEST CALL RASPBERRY PUREE, FINEST CALL STRAWBERRY PUREE, FINEST CALL BANANA PUREE, FINEST CALL MANGO PUREE, FINEST CALL PEACH PUREE and FINEST CALL PASSION FRUIT PUREE.


• FINEST CALL PREMIUM FLAVORED SYRUPS — Sometimes a splash or two of flavor is all that’s necessary to propel a drink into the extraordinary range. To that end, we’ve created a line of flavored syrups developed specifically for use in cocktails and drinks. Almond-flavored Finest Call Orgeat Syrup is especially delicious when added to hot cocoa. Recipes featuring orgeat and other flavored syrups include:

CHOCO CHATTER (Finest Call Orgeat Syrup)

CHOCOLATE CHERRY (Finest Call Cherry Syrup)

HUCKLEBERRY HOT CHOCOLATE (Finest Call Huckleberry Syrup)

STRAWBERRY CREAM COCOA (Finest Call Strawberry Syrup)


• FINEST CALL DRINK INGREDIENTS — We’ve made it our business to develop the finest, high quality drink fixings possible. As a result, many of our products wind up being used in ways we didn’t originally foresee. For instance, as it turns out Finest Call Agave Nectar Syrup is a perfect complement to the flavor of hot cocoa.

Other recipes calling for the use of Finest Call’s premium drink ingredients include:

CANADIAN TOE TOASTER (Finest Call Bar Syrup)

CUDDLE-UP COCOA (Finest Call Agave Nectar Syrup)

LEMON BLISS HOT CHOCOLATE (Finest Call Agave Nectar Syrup)

CHOCOLATE ORANGE TRUFFLE (Finest Call Triple Sec)


MAKING WORLD-CLASS COCOA

One of the great features of making a cup of cocoa is that it doesn’t require specialized equipment or training. Although there are many ways to make hot cocoa, the following is a typical scratch recipe.

In a saucepan over a low flame, whisk together 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of water. After the powder and sugar go into solution, stir in another 1/2 cup of water and a cup of milk. Keep stirring over low to moderate heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring from the bottom of the saucepan at a low temperature to prevent scalding. Once the mixture is hot, remove the pan from the burner and let cool. Serve with whipped cream, marshmallows or both for a finishing touch.

There is any number of variations on this theme. Some recipes call for the addition of vanilla extract, cloves, cinnamon, lemon juice, instant espresso powder or mint chocolate chips for flavor. Cornstarch or arrowroot can be added for thickening. Substituting brown sugar for regular granulated sugar is another creative option.

Then there’s the Mayan hot cocoa recipe made famous in the movie Chocolat. It’s made with milk, pure cocoa, unbleached flour, dark brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla, grated nutmeg, cloves, crumbled cinnamon and chili pepper. The drink is spicy, robust and highly aromatic. It’s likely the most exotic version of hot cocoa, but may also be the most captivating.


COCOA DRINK NECESSITIES

Warmth coupled with soul satisfying flavor make an irresistible combination. Whether crafted with coffee, espresso, tea or cocoa, a well conceived hot drink is a timeless thing of beauty. More importantly, they’re capable of soothing frayed nerves and thawing frostbitten extremities.

Here are some pointers to help you create your own cocoa masterpiece.


• COCOA COCKTAILS — Nowhere is it written that you can’t lace hot cocoa with something a wee bit stronger than syrup. As a collective they’re outrageously delicious. It’s hard to make a mistake when working with hot cocoa.

For example, the altogether delicious CANADIAN TOE TOASTER derives its extremity-warming abilities from the addition of brandy, Canadian Whisky and Peppermint Schnapps. The CHOCO-NANA is braced with a shot of gold rum and Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, while the features the likes of Kahlúa and silver tequila.


• COCOA MODIFIERS — Under the category of why leave well enough alone, consider adding a dose of hot fudge, caramel and chocolate sauce to your hot cocoa. They’ll add to the flavor, as well give the drink more body. If adding a sauce is more of a concentrated blast of than what you’re looking for, perhaps a splash of black raspberry or vanilla syrup is the ticket.


• ICE CREAM — On the other hand, it may well be time to drop a scoop or two of ice cream into your cocoa concoction. Shortly after splash down, the melting ice cream forms a frothy layer atop the cocoa for a fabulous presentation. The coup de grace is there’s a wide variety of ice cream flavors that work with hot cocoa, a list that includes banana, chocolate, French Vanilla, raspberry, strawberry and Almond Roca, to name but a few.


FINEST CALL COCOA RECIPES

CANADIAN TOE TOASTER

Coffee glass, heated

Build in glass

1 oz. Finest Call Bar Syrup

1 oz. Brandy

1 1⁄2 oz. Canadian Whisky

1 oz. Peppermint Schnapps

3 oz. hot chocolate

3 oz. coffee

Garnish with whipped cream and cocoa powder


CHOCO CHATTER

Coffee glass, heated

Build in glass

1 oz. Finest Call Orgeat Syrup

1 oz. Vanilla Rum

6 oz. hot chocolate

Garnish with whipped cream drizzled with chocolate syrup


CHOCOLATE CHERRY

Coffee glass, heated

Build in glass

1 oz. Finest Call Cherry Syrup

1 oz. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

1 oz. Baileys Irish Cream

6 oz. hot chocolate

Garnish with whipped cream


CHOCOLATE ORANGE TRUFFLE

Coffee glass, heated

Build in glass

1 oz. Finest Call Triple Sec

1 oz. Brandy

1 oz. Crème de Cacao

6 oz. hot chocolate

Garnish with whipped cream and grated orange peel


CHOCO-NANA

Coffee glass, heated

Pour ingredients into an empty blender canister

1 1⁄2 oz. Finest Call Banana Puree

1 oz. Gold Rum

1 oz. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

6 oz. hot chocolate

Flash blend

Garnish with whipped cream drizzled with chocolate syrup


COCOA CONTENTÉ

Coffee glass, heated

Pour ingredients into an empty blender canister

1 oz. Finest Call Raspberry Puree

1 oz. Silver Tequila

1 oz. Kahluá

6 oz. hot chocolate

Flash blend

Garnish with whipped cream sprinkled with shaved chocolate


CUDDLE-UP COCOA

Coffee glass, heated

Build in glass

¾ oz. Finest Call Agave Nectar Syrup

1 oz. Dark Rum

1 oz. Kahlúa

6 oz. hot chocolate

Garnish with whipped cream


HUCKLEBERRY HOT CHOCOLATE

Coffee glass, heated

Build in glass

1 1⁄2 oz. Finest Call Huckleberry Syrup

1 oz. Vanilla Vodka

6 oz. hot chocolate

Garnish with whipped cream drizzled with Finest Call Huckleberry Syrup


LEMON BLISS HOT CHOCOLATE

Coffee glass, heated

Build in glass

1 oz. Finest Call Agave Nectar Syrup

1 1⁄2 oz. Limoncello

6 oz. hot chocolate

Garnish with whipped cream and grated lemon peel


STRAWBERRY CREAM COCOA

Coffee glass, heated

Pour ingredients into an empty blender canister

1 1⁄2 oz. Finest Call Strawberry Puree

1 oz. Vanilla Vodka

1 oz. Crème de Cacao

6 oz. hot chocolate

Flash blend

Garnish with whipped cream drizzled with Finest Call Strawberry Syrup


WINTER SPECIALTIES WITH PIZZAZZ

CREATING HOT COCOA CLASSICS

Hot cocoa’s origins go far beyond Bosco or Ovaltine. In fact, cocoa beans were so revered by the Aztecs they were used as money. While Cortez lusted after the Aztec’s gold and riches, he and his men had little fondness for the bitter mixture, that is until they added cane sugar.

Upon returning to Spain, Cortez introduced King Charles V and his Royal Court to sweetened hot cocoa, and not surprisingly, it became the rage of the aristocracy. For more than a century, cocoa remained the domain of the wealthy and privileged. By the early 19th century however, steam-operated grinding machines caused prices to drop dramatically. The innovation greatly improved the flavor of cocoa and led to large-scale manufacturing.

Cocoa trees grow only in tropical climates in a band 20 degrees north and south of the Equator. They produce kernels, or nibs, which contain up to 54% cocoa butter. After the beans are crushed, heat is used to liquefy the cocoa butter to form chocolate paste. When dried, it is crushed and pulverized into a fine powder. Most premium producers of cocoa powder add a small amount of alkaline salts to the paste prior to drying. The salts render the powder darker, give it a more intense chocolate flavor and allow it to stay in solution longer in liquid.

One of the great things about making a cup of cocoa is that it doesn’t require specialized equipment or training. Although there are many ways to make hot cocoa, the following is a typical scratch recipe.

In a saucepan over a low flame, whisk together 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of water. After the powder and sugar go into solution, stir in another 1/2 cup of water and a cup of milk. Keep stirring over low to moderate heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring from the bottom of the saucepan at a low temperature to prevent scalding. Once the mixture is hot, remove the pan from the burner and allow it to cool. Serve with whipped cream, marshmallows or both for a finishing touch.

Creating great tasting drinks with hot cocoa is almost foolproof. It’s about as straightforward as mixology gets. Here then are the best kept secrets behind America’s greatest hot cocoa drinks.


• COCOA COCKTAILS — Nowhere is it written that you can’t lace hot cocoa with something a wee bit stronger than syrup. As a collective they’re outrageously delicious. It’s hard to make a mistake when working with hot cocoa.

Take for example the EL SUENO, a featured cocktail at Tres Agaves in San Francisco. The drink is made with Corzo Silver Tequila, cinnamon sugar, hot cocoa and Horchata whipped cream. At Scottsdale’s Mosaic Restaurant, the hot drink to ask for is the PEPPERMINT BARK, a lip-smacking good libation featuring DeKuyper Peppermint Schnapps, Mozart White Chocolate Liqueur, homemade Mexican vanilla hot chocolate and whipped cream.

The venerable COLORADO AVALANCHE combines Kahlúa and Chambord with the flavor of hot white chocolate, while the CHICAGO TIMES is made with equal parts of hot cocoa and coffee, Amaretto, Tuaca, Bailey’s and Frangelico. The CARTE BLANCHE is a savory blend of Godiva Chocolate liqueur, brandy and crème de menthe.


• COCOA MODIFIERS — A 3/4 full cup of hot cocoa is almost begging for an added blast of flavor. It could be a splash of hot fudge or chocolate sauce; after all, chocolate and caramel complement the flavor of hot cocoa. If adding a sauce is more concentrated than what you’re looking for, perhaps a splash of black raspberry or vanilla syrup is called for.

Some recipes call for the addition of vanilla extract, cloves, cinnamon, lemon juice, instant espresso powder or mint chocolate chips for flavor. Cornstarch or arrowroot can be added for thickening. Substituting brown sugar for regular granulated sugar is another creative option.

Then there’s the Mayan hot cocoa recipe made famous in the movie Chocolat. It’s made with milk, pure cocoa, unbleached flour, dark brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla, grated nutmeg, cloves, crumbled cinnamon and chili pepper. The drink is spicy and highly aromatic.


• ICE CREAM — After modifying the cocoa base, it may well be time to drop in a scoop or two of ice cream. Shortly after splash down, the melting ice cream forms a frothy layer on the cocoa. It creates a fabulous presentation. The coup de grace is there’s a wide variety of ice cream flavors that work with the satisfying taste of hot cocoa, a list that includes banana, chocolate, French Vanilla, raspberry, strawberry and Almond Roca, to name but a few.

An example is the CAFÉ GLACE, a specialty at Brûlée: The Dessert Experience in Atlantic City. It’s a hot, decadent blend of XO Pyrat Reserve Rum, a demitasse of espresso and a generous fill of hot chocolate. The finishing touch is a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The combined effect is spectacular.

Warmth coupled with soul satisfying flavor make an irresistible combination. Whether crafted with coffee, espresso, tea or cocoa, a well conceived hot drink is a timeless thing of beauty. More importantly, they’re capable of soothing frayed nerves and thawing frostbitten extremities. Have fun, experiment and concoct the next international phenomenon.

Difficulty of
Preparation

Upselling
Potential

Alcohol-Free
Options