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12 Days of Cocktails: Day 6

Posted on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015


I am admittedly the kind of person that when I find something I like, I tend to really fixate on it. Okay, obsess over it. Take for instance my unhealthy attachment to Dolin Blanc and fennel. Recently, I have been absolutely enamored with coffee cocktails. The last three classes for Sunday School, we’ve had either a coffee syrup or used coffee in some fashion. It’s a tad ridiculous, delicious but ridiculous. So when I was brainstorming cocktail ideas for this series I almost intentionally tried not to use coffee as an ingredient to any of the cocktails. I failed miserably. Mulled wine is one of those quintessential holiday cocktails that is rooted in a very familiar flavor profile. I like to take familiar and put it in a freaky costume. So when I was tossing around ideas for a mulled wine recipe I could not stop thinking about adding espresso to the mix. Just to get it out of my head because I was thirsty. I then actually made the recipe and I was a total goner. The obsession continues! It’s incredibly fun to be able to take a familiar recipe and make a couple tweaks to make it a totally new experience. Also, who doesn’t need a little caffeine boost around this time? Those presents are not just going to wrap themselves. So, I promise I’ll try not to make any more coffee cocktails for like at least a couple weeks. To my credit, I did use fennel but NOT Dolin Blanc in this recipe. Baby steps?

1 bottle of red wine (I prefer a jammy Syrah)
1 oz ground espresso
½ cup chopped fennel fronds
Peel of one orange
½ cup sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD: In a medium sized pot over medium-high heat, add all ingredients except for the espresso. Bring up a to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Take pot off the heat and add espresso. Allow espresso to steep for 15 minutes, and then strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. You may have to strain this twice because of the espresso. Store wine in a thermos or keep on low in another pot, serve warm. Be careful not to let the wine over reduce, you want to make sure it doesn’t get to a syrupy consistency. Good news, is if it does over reduce you can always add more wine. More wine is usually a great way to resolve a problem.

WITH A TWIST: You can also serve this cocktail chilled, up in a coupe, or on the rocks. I think that espresso and tonic may be one of those magical things on the planet, so I like drinking this cocktail on ice with a splash of tonic. Crazy you say? Perhaps, but delicious without a doubt! If you’re feeling really festive go ahead and add some Dolin Blanc to the party. I can’t help myself.

DOUBLE DUTY: For an easy and fun dessert take this recipe and add an extra half cup of sugar and allow the wine to reduce to a syrupy consistency. Strain and add berries of your choice. I prefer blackberries, and then pour over vanilla bean ice cream. A delightful and boozy take on an affogato. Booze and ice cream? It must be the holidays!

Cheers to coffee!

Your neighborhood bar geek,
Catherine Manabat