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Coffee is the ultimate pick-me-up. Thomas Jefferson threw some shade at England (tea drinkers!), calling coffee “the favorite drink of the civilized world.” Eventually, some geniuses combined the flavors of coffee with alcohol to create a bunch of coffee liqueurs, three of which I “review” here. (Spoiler alert: they are all awesome.) The great thing about these liqueurs is their versatility. Add milk, cream, ice cream, whipped cream, whiskey, hot cocoa or vodka in any combination and you will have yourself a delicious cocktail. I’ve supplied a few recipes below, but these liqueurs are something you can have so much fun with. Add an espresso or hot cocoa rimmer, and top it off with whipped cream and a cherry!

Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy

Made from the natural flavors extracted from selected imported coffee beans, it sounds real fancy. It’s made in Massachusetts, but Mainers have looked past that glaring flaw and made Allen’s a Maine mainstay. Some call it the “Machias Manhattan” or the “Millinocket Martini.”

In the late ’60s, Allen’s was sold and distributed mostly in Down East Maine. There it became a staple of fishermen, who added a warming splash to their coffee.

Allen’s Sombrero
Combine equal parts Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy and milk over ice.

Grind Espresso Shot

Made with Arabica coffee beans, espresso, coffee extract and blended with Caribbean rum, Grind Espresso Shot is the “coffee-est” of the three. Grind is made in Connecticut, which is still New England. Not only does their bottle have three simple recipes on it, but their website (grindespressospirit.com) has a bunch more that I will be sure to add to my brunch menus. What a great way to start the day.

Grind Espresso Spritz
Pour 1.5 ounces of Grind over ice, top off with club soda and add an orange slice.

Griffin’s Wharf 1773 Coffee Liqueur

Saving the best for last, we have Griffin’s Wharf 1773 Coffee Liqueur. Fast becoming a local favorite, it is produced by Stroudwater Distillery and Coffee By Design. Griffin’s Wharf starts with a blend of beans from Central and South America roasted at a high temperature to produce a full-bodied brew with a deep flavor and smoky qualities. I recently read a study that said dark roast coffee was healthy or something. In the spirit of the American Revolution, drink this while dumping a crap-ton (imperial measurements only!) of tea into the ocean. Check out the recipes they post on Instagram (@griffinswharf).

Coffee Crisp
Shake 3 ounces of Vespertino Tequila Crema and 1 ounce of Griffin’s Wharf, strain, pour over ice and garnish with coffee beans.

Jessie Lacey resides at the heart of downtown Portland with her border collie puppy Josie, making cocktails and trouble.