(TC The holidays have come and long gone, but plenty of winter still lies ahead. A coffee drink might be just what you need to weather midwinter's bleak chill.
Coffee can serve many purposes:
As an afternoon pick-me-up. As a sociable cup of cheer -- served with cookies, of course -- for friends dropping by. As a grand finale to a special meal.
For a reward or to revive your spirits, try Coffee Grog, a spiced-up, caffeine version of the sailor's favorite. Adding liquor is optional, but the sailor would.
Mocha Cappuccino is simply a rich, adult version of hot chocolate. Have a kaffeeklatsch over it when guests drop by.
Cap a dinner with Venetian Coffee -- but note that it is not "one for the road." If you have guests, perhaps you should offer one of the other coffee drinks to the designated driver.
Coffee grog $
Makes 8 cups.
2 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
orange peel, cut into large strips
lemon peel, in small strips (optional)
1 cup cream, heated
4 cups strong coffee
8 cinnamon sticks (optional)
Cream butter and add brown sugar, salt, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla extract. Mix until well-combined.
For each serving, place 2 teaspoons of the butter-sugar mixture in a heated mug. Add orange peel and lemon, if using, then 2 tablespoons of the hot cream. Finally, stir in 1/2 cup of the coffee. If desired, serve with a 6-inch cinnamon stick to be used as a stirrer.
Note: The butter-sugar mixture for the grog can be prepared and refrigerated for making 1 or more cups at a time. The cream should be heated as needed.
For a more bracing brew, add a jigger of brandy or rum to each cup.
Makes 8 servings.
4 cups hot cocoa (see note)
4 cups double-strength coffee or espresso
1 cup foamed half-and-half (optional)
sweetened whipped cream, to taste
cinnamon or other toppings (see note)
If you have an espresso steamer, use it to steam the cocoa, then add the coffee or espresso. Otherwise, simply combine hot cocoa and espresso.
Also foam the half-and-half in the espresso steamer, if you have one, then float a little of the foam on top of each cup of mocha before adding the whipped cream. The purpose is to keep the whipped cream from cooling the mocha too quickly. (The half-and-half may be omitted if you don't have a steamer.)
Garnish whipped cream as desired with cinnamon or special spice mixes, colored sugars, flavored milk powders or grated chocolate and serve immediately.
Note: Readily available mixes can be used for the cocoa. To make your own, combine 4 teaspoons cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 or 3 pinches of grated vanilla bean, then stir in 4 cups of milk and heat. Instead of the vanilla, the cocoa also can be flavored with almond extract or flavored syrups.
Venetian coffee FOR EACH DRINK:
1 ounce vodka
1 ounce coffee liqueur
1 ounce Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1 cup strong hot coffee or double espresso
whipped cream to taste
chocolate and coffee candy shavings or sprinkles
Combine the vodka and liqueurs in a warmed brandy snifter. Add the coffee and top with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles or shavings. Serve at once.