Keoke Coffee

Keoke Coffee

A boozy coffee drink is always a good ideal after dinner, when you’re winding down for the day and want a nightcap. The alcohol and the coffee tend to cancel eachother out, which means that you end up feeling warm and relaxed even if you don’t make your drink with decaf. Keoke Coffee is a classic coffee drink that definitely sounds like it should have originated in a tiki bar, but it was first poured in a Southern California steakhouse, Bully’s. The story says that the restaurant’s founder, George Bullington, was experimenting with drinks with his staff after hours and came up with a coffee drink that combined Kahlúa, crème de cacao, brandy and coffee, topped with whipped cream. The drink was named Keoke Coffee after him, since “keoke” means George in Hawaiian – either because a Hawaiian cook suggested that the drink needed a more colorful name or because someone on staff was a tiki fan and talked everyone else into it.

As a Kahlúa fan, I confess that I sometimes double the Kahlua when I’m making this drink, and I’ll make the drink with espresso if I’m looking for a little more of a pick-me-up.  Feel free to play around with the ratios, but start with the original recipe, which has been a classic for more than four decades.

Keoke Coffee
1/2 oz brandy
1/2 oz Kahlúa
1/2 oz dark crème de cacao
4 oz hot coffee
Lightly whipped cream
coffee bean, for garnish.

Combine spirits and coffee in a heated Irish coffee glass (or small coffee mug). Stir gently to combine. Pour cream over the back of a spoon to float on top of coffee. Garnish with a cherry, if desired.

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