As you all know I am a sucker for favors at parties – last year I did a candy cane vodka for our holiday party and it was a big hit. This year I was inspired by a coffee manhattan I had at the movie theater of all places. At the Atlantic Plumbing Cinema in the Shaw neighborhood of DC you can not only book your seat in advance (love that!) but they have a full bar with some really talented mixologists. Patrick and I were there for a matinee and the bartender had been experimenting with coffee simple syrups and bourbon. Since bourbon already has coffee notes in it, infusing it with fresh coffee beans just takes it to the next level. I ran right out and bought some mega bottles of Bulliet Bourbon at Costco. I needed to make 85 mini bottles (we have a lot of friends!) so got two 750 ml bottles but you can do it with any size or any amount really, even just for one cocktail. I am not going to give you a recipe here since its stupid simple, just throw some coffee beans into the Bourbon and wait until it reaches the “coffeeness” level you like. For a 750ml bottle I would recommend adding about 20-25 beans and shaking the bottle everyday for about 5 days. The beans like to sink to the bottom or float to the top so shaking it helps make sure all the bourbon gets infused. If you start with less bourbon then you could do the same number of beans, it will just take less time, about 2 days.
I get my mini bottles from here but you can also usually find nicer glass ones at World Market or Home Goods if you are only making a couple for friends this season. This year I decided to print my own labels (mostly because I didn’t get my act together to order any). If you want to order some I can recommend Tinyprints for this. They are pretty reasonable and have a bunch of cute designs. If not just go out and buy labels and then go to Avery.com where they have templates like this Christmas lights one I used. I do not recommend throwing in a couple of beans into the bottles you give out as decoration as they will continue to infuse the bourbon and at some point all you will be able to taste is the coffee.
You could certainly recreate my manhattan with the bourbon, drink it straight up or toss a little in your coffee for an extra holiday kick! Luckily we have a bunch leftover as these are going to make perfect stocking stuffers. Enjoy!