FLAVORS OF THE SEASON: Flavored syrups help create promotable coffee drinks such as Torani's Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Latte, and the Icicle Mocha.
Few countries appreciate a great cup of coffee as much we do. In fact, America is the largest coffeeconsuming nation in the world, so it's little wonder that we continue devising so many innovative ways to work with it behind our bars.
At the ultra-luxurious Phoenician Hotel and Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., director of restaurants Brian Pierce is rolling out a new beverage menu for golfers dubbed "Tees and Toddies." At the turn, guests are offered a premium variety of coffee specialties served either hot or cold, a selection that includes the Bunker Breeze, which features Stoli Vanil, Godiva Chocolate, Kahlua, Amaretto and coffee and the Bogie Brandy Alexander, which is made with Brandy, Kahlua and creme de cacao.
You don't have to convince George Delgado, beverage consultant and former head bartender at Windows on the World, that coffee is the ideal delivery system for spirits and liqueurs. "I've been working with coffee drinks for years and know full well that their popularity is steadily growing," he says.
Delgado advocates simplicity when devising these specialties. "One of my more successful coffee drinks is the Cafe Curacao, a straightforward concoction made with Grand Marnier and freshly brewed coffee. I sprinkle grated orange peels on the frothed milk. As you stir in the milk, the zest is imparted into the coffee's flavor and aroma."
Another Delgado creation and signature of the World Bar in the Trump World Tower is the Espresso Misu, a lavish cocktail made with a base of espresso coffee, Stoli Vanil, Kahlua and heavy cream. The ingredients are shaken over ice and strained into a chocolate-rimmed cocktail glass.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar is one of the acknowledged pioneers in the art of mixology. For devotees of great drinks and sophisticated cocktails, their bar menu makes for excellent reading.
High on Fleming's hit parade are the Almond Mocha, a savory blend of Disaronno Amaretto, chocolate syrup and coffee topped with dairy fresh whipped cream, the Fleming's 52, which is made with equal parts of Kahlua, Grand Marnier and Baileys, and the Iced Cafecino, a cool sensation featuring Stoli Vanil, Kahl?a and iced coffee topped with a cinnamon stick.
"We're looking to create a memorable evening for our guests and coffee drinks to a large degree help do that," contends Barney Confrey, a Fleming's operating partner. "They are a perfect complement to the dining experience and an important element of our beverage program."
Cosi is a chain of innovative all-day cafes featuring signature bread and coffee products. The chain is 80 locations strong in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Specialty coffee drinks are an integral aspect of their beverage marketing and include such espresso-based items as the Arctic Mocha and Arctic Latte.
"We promote signature coffee drinks to provide an additional reason for guests to visit our restaurants, both during and outside of traditional meal day parts," states Paul Seidman, vice president of food and beverage at Cosi, Inc. "We believe that they broaden our appeal and widen our scope of consideration. Coffee specialties are a unique, highly portable indulgence."
Another innovator of specialty coffee drinks is, appropriately enough, Coffee People, a successful chain of 23 cafès in Oregon. Its latest offering is the Toffee Crunch Latte, which features Torani English Toffee syrup, bits of Heath Bar and is available in both a hot and cold version. According to director of marketing Alex Eldridge, the LTO specialty has been such a big hit with consumers that it will likely become a standard menu item.
At the heart of most popular-coffee specialties are flavored syrups. For instance, listed among Torani's current repertoire are the Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Latte, an autumn signature made with Torani Cheesecake Syrup, Pumpkin Spice Syrup, milk, and two healthy shots of espresso; and the Icicle Mocha, a delectable blend of Torani Peppermint and Ginger Spice syrups, Torani chocolate sauce, milk and a double shot of espresso.—Robert Plotkin