Cold Brew Coffee is in Cocktails. Of Course.

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Coffee cocktail

Thanks to the proliferation of cold brew coffee, cocktails are maturing.

Thanks to the near ubiquity of cold brew coffee, coffee cocktails are growing—and growing up. More, and better, third wave bean-toned beverages are proliferating in bars from coast to coast, and these highbrow tipples are far cry from the original Espresso Martini. Pardon the pun, but this trend has been percolating for years, some might even say for decades or centuries.

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Coffee, Meet Booze
During the 18th century, coffeehouses in Europe and America functioned as public meeting spaces, becoming important centers for conviviality and commerce.

But by most accounts, the coffee there was awful, bearing little resemblance to what one might find at a local Starbucks today. Brewed in enormous eight to 10 gallon pots and served piping hot, many coffeehouse customers found the brew too bitter, and made it more palatable by adding milk and sugar, as well ingredients like ale, wine and spices.

By the 1870s, coffee had become downright indispensable to Americans, who consumed six times as much as most Europeans.

No wonder tea remained the favored drink in the Old World. But in the New World, coffee was king, thanks in part to proximity to coffee growing countries in Central and South America. According to coffee historian Mark Prendergrast, writing in Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World, the American taste for coffee swelled throughout the 1800s, particularly after the War of 1812 when American access to British tea was temporarily halted. Around then Brazilian coffee had become closer and cheaper. By the 1870s, coffee was downright indispensable to Americans, who consumed six times as much as most Europeans. No doubt much of that coffee was flavored with booze.