We made coffee espresso-infused* vodka this week. It was totes easy! We just took a cup of fresh, dark-roast beans and gently cracked them open by applying pressure with the bottom of a measuring cup. (See photo.) Then we dumped ‘em into a fifth of vodka (something middle-shelf; I think we used Stoli or Ketel) and stored it in a cool, dry place for a few days. Voila!

We’ve suffered through fiasco infusions before. (Would you like to taste the most terrible homemade peach-flavored vodka ever? No, you would not.) This one’s practically foolproof because, unlike a delicate peach, the robustness of the beans lets you know by smell whether or not your infusion’s balanced, needs more time, etc. We knew we had something good after about a week, when the espresso aroma actually eclipsed the alcohol-y smell of the vodka. Next, of course, came the question of what cocktail to invent with it…

I am of the firm belief that an espresso vodka with a splash of red wine is the start of something promising. However, since a household consensus could not be reached on that point (the other one of us had his doubts), we came up with this instead. I know it reads over-the-top sweet, like a drink the Dude would abide by, but trust me when I say this baby is multifaceted: It opens with rich java, curiously transitions into a raisin-y flavor and finishes long and smooth. It tastes manly, actually, which maybe will spark a creative thought or two when I ask you…

What should we call it?

You Call It #2

1 1/4 ounces housemade espresso-infused vodka

3/4 ounces Grand Marnier

1/2 ounce housemade vanilla syrup

1/2 ounce light cream or half-and-half

4 or 5 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

1 cardamom pod

Drop the cardamom pod into the bottom of a cocktail shaker, and use the bottom end of a muddler to crack/crush. Fill shaker with ice and add all liquid ingredients. Shake vigorously. Strain into cocktail glass.

* When I originally posted this, I called it coffee-infused vodka. Sean has since corrected me.

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