Last week on Reddit, bputano posted a comprehensive list of 47 coffee cocktails from instagram. Hunting through the list, I was delighted to see that I’d never encountered most of the drinks. The Woken Cadaver caught my eye: coffee, chocolate, and an amaro? It looked like manna from heaven: my wife’s an amaro-fiend – and her relationship with both coffee and chocolate borders on what can be best described as an unhealthy obsession. And I forgot to book Valentine’s Day reservations (a fact which my wife seems incapable of disremembering), so hey, this was well worth a shot.
Another bonus: it didn’t look like a pain in the ass. Infusing Campari with cacao nibs takes an hour and some coffee needs to be brewed for the coffee simple syrup (fast becoming a favorite ingredient since making it), but it’s doable and I had the ingredients on hand.
The Cadaver was created by bartender Chad Combs, bartender at Sticks and Stones, a ramen and cocktail bar that’s set to open (at the time of writing) in Saskatoon, a cold Canadian city with a surprisingly vibrant restaurant and cocktail scene. The drink is shockingly good. Not too sweet, not too spirit-forward, and with rich coffee and dark chocolate flavor that plays well with the bitter Campari. For the coffee I went with a dark Amaretto blend and for gin, I ended up using St. Georges’ neutral Faultline Gin because I ran out of the Beefeater that the original recipe calls for. For fun, I tried a version with the St. Georges’ Terroir gin, but the botanicals didn’t meld well with the coffee flavors.
So thank you Chad Combs. The drink is brilliant… and I’m still married!
Also, word to the wise, I think there’s a shitload of caffeine, so it’s a great way to jumpstart your morning.
- 1 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
- 1 oz Cacao-Infused Campari
- 1 oz Coffee Syrup
- Coffee cup, or a cocktail glass
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
- Stir and strain into a coupe or into a coffee cup.
To create the Cacao-Infused Campari:
- Add 3 tablespoons of cacao nibs to one bottle of Campari. You can make a lot less, e.g. 1/3 of a bottle if you want.
- Let it sit for an hour, turning the bottle over every 5 minutes.
- Strain the solids out, rinse the bottle, and rebottle it.
To create the Coffee Syrup:
- Brew some nice strong coffee. We used 1/2 as much water as we usually would in creating a pot of coffee.
- Add in 40% sugar to 60% coffee. We tired the reverse which was the original recommendation but it came out way too sweet. Maybe with a darker coffee roast it would’ve been fine?