When you need a drink that’ll perk you up and cool you down, order a coffee cocktail at these Sydney bars that are pretty keen on the bean. And no, they're not all your 21st birthday party's 'expresso martinis'. For more, check out our guide to Sydney's best coffee experiences, plus our lists of the best cycling cafés and Bondi cafés.
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Coffee cocktails in Sydney
We all know coffee is basically society’s most accepted daytime upper and a tequila is reliable party fuel after sundown, so if you combine them you’ve got a one-two punch that’ll pick you up and lay you flat in one boozy, nutty, frothy cocktail. Tequila is the poison of choice for this inner-city bunker, so prepare to have it with dark rum, cacao liqueur and chilled espresso.
A classic Suburban mixes whisky, rum, port and bitters, but at the Wild Rover they give it a little extra firepower by adding Single Origin cold drip coffee to the recipe. What you end up with is a dark, boozy base of Tennessee whiskey, dark rum and port care of the Oak Barrel, coffee to lengthen the drink and an earthy nutty flavour from some walnut bitters.
Tuxedo is a bar dedicated to Espresso Martinis. But maybe you're looking for something lighter and more refreshing than the classic vodka, espresso, Kahlua and sugar syrup mix. The Dirty Espresso Martini is the drink you’re after. They run the water a little faster through more grounds than you would for a stand-alone cold drip, and then just add Mr Black and vodka so it stays clear and light bodied but maintains that roasted flavour. If a classic Vodka Espresso is velvet, then the Dirty is gossamer silk.
We’re fully aware that Tim Philips naming his coffee-infused Old Fashioned the ‘obligatory’ cocktail is a dig at the ubiquity of both Old Fashioneds and coffee cocktails on Sydney menus. We don’t care, because this one is particularly delicious. It mixes barrel-aged tequila, the extra bitter vermouth Punt e Mes, cold drip coffee from Cabrito Coffee Traders in the CBD and a dash of smoked maple syrup for the flavour of campfire desserts.
There are actually two coffee cocktails on the menu at Peg Leg, the nautical-themed bar in Pyrmont. One involves an alarming combination of bourbon, peanut butter, banana, espresso and honey, so we’ll be opting for the shorter, less unctuous mix of rum, Fernet-Branca, black coffee and cacao syrup that comes served over ice and has the boozy, chocolate-orange flavour that we can’t help but associate with Christmas.
Go another round
We're all for a late night hootenanny, but sometimes there's nothing better than bending the elbow with the sun on your back and a cool drink to keep things chill. And we're not alone. Sydney's rooftop bars account for some of the most popular, and hard won, seats in the city, so get in quick for the glory spots with the best views.