Architects and Kings Recipe

In this warming coffee cocktail, apple brandy, demerara syrup, and a dollop of whipped cream take the edge off herbal amaro and spicy rye whiskey.

An architects and kings cocktail served in a glass mug.

Serious Eats / Lizz Schumer

Why It Works

  • Bitter amaro and spicy rye are smoothed out with apple brandy, demerara syrup, and rich whipped cream.
  • Heating up the glass before serving ensures the cocktail will stay warm as you sip.

When you want to stay up and have some fun, coffee cocktails are on the menu. Bartenders from across the country created a few inspired drinks, combining coffee or coffee liqueur with Chartreuse, maraschino, and lemon and aquavit

Here, Josh Relkin of Sable in Chicago created this savory, woodsy cocktail that features bitter Amaro Abano and rye. While the amaro amps up coffee's own bitterness, the hot drink is smoothed out with cream, apple brandy, and demerara sugar.

The drink is meant to use coffee "in its digestif function, after dinner," noted Mike Ryan, head bartender of Sable. "A little sweetness and cream help it lean a little richer and fuller." The potent drink mellows out if you stir in a little of the cream on top.

March 2014

Recipe Facts

Active: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Serves: 1 serving

Rate & Comment


  • 3/4 ounce Rittenhouse rye
  • 3/4 ounce Luxardo Amaro Abano
  • 3/4 ounce Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
  • 1/2 ounce demerara syrup (see notes)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 4 ounces hot coffee
  • Whipped cream (preferably homemade)


  1. Combine rye, Amaro Abano, apple brandy, demerara syrup, and Angostura bitters in a small saucepan and stir. Heat until steaming, but do not allow to boil.

  2. Heat serving glass by running under hot water and wiping dry. Pour mixture into the glass and add hot coffee. Top with a dollop of the whipped cream. Serve hot.


To make demerara syrup, combine 1 cup demerara sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and stir. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Demerara syrup will keep refrigerated for one week.

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