The last time I was at Dirty John‘s in Iowa City (I’ll be back today!), I picked up bottle of Mississippi River Distilling Company’s MRDC’s Coffee Liqueur. This product is made using fresh roasted Peruvian coffee beans, vanilla and cinnamon from Iowa Coffee Company and blended with MRDC’s River Pilot Vodka in MRDC’s Le Claire, Iowa distillery. Only 4,000 bottles were made, so get yours now. I see that I have bottle 2,856, so what is on the store shelves may be the last of the production run. This particular liqueur has a very strong aroma of fresh-brewed coffee and only 20% alcohol content. So, while I could just use this as I would use Kahlua, I wanted to do something different. I found a cocktail recipe that needed coffee liqueur and it looked like a good choice to show off the coffee flavor of the MRDC Coffee Liqueur. Let me tell you, this is a fantastic cocktail–a bouquet of spices and coffee richness that I’ve not run across before. Here are the mixing instructions:
Add 1 oz each of spiced rum (I those Sailor Jerry’s) and coffee liqueur to a cocktail shaker with ice. Add a dash of Angostura bitters. Shake, and pour over a chilled glass with ice. Given the low alcohol content of the MRDC Coffee Liqueur, I’d consider doubling the ingredients. It is that good.
Just confirming that this is indeed a “coffee liqueur” took some sleuthing. Way down on the bottom of the label in 8-point type I see the words “coffee liqueur.” I’m not sure why the company didn’t just call it that in the larger part of the label. Maybe it is just a marketing decision or maybe there is a concern about public or governmental backlash over the issue around caffeine added to malt beverages. You may recall that the TTB issued a November 17, 2010 TTB Press Release stating that the TTB (f/k/a ATF) would follow the findings of the FDA that adding caffeine to alcohol was illegal. This is because caffeine has only been approved as a “generally recognized as safe” additive to cola-type beverages at 200 parts per million. Of course, adding a product like coffee to a spirit is not quite the same. As the FDA stated: “These Warning Letters are not directed at alcoholic beverages that only contain caffeine as a natural constituent of one or more of their ingredients, such as a coffee flavoring.” Your coffee liqueurs are safe. For now.