Improved Iced Coffee Recipe

Laced with bourbon, absinthe, and maraschino liqueur, this iced coffee is unexpectedly floral and evolves as the ice melts.

An improved iced coffee cocktail served over crushed ice in a goblet.

Serious Eats / Lizz Schumer

Why It Works

  • Maraschino, absinthe, and orange bitters add an herbal zing.
  • Fresh nutmeg grated on top adds aroma.

Iced coffee gets an upgrade by Mike Treffehn of The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. in Philadelphia. Treffehn said that the bar doesn't serve coffee because "we're not equipped to brew coffee at a level we'd want people to purchase," but the staff likes a cuppa, made from a drip pot in the back. "Sometimes, I'll need a coffee, but want to 'spruce it up' a bit, so I make this, an 'Improved Iced Coffee,'" Treffehn said.

Treffehn's absinthe and bourbon-laced creation is unexpectedly floral, and evolves as the ice melts. At super-cold temps, the maraschino comes forward, but as you sip, that warming bourbon sensation takes hold.

If you like this, Chartreuse and coffee liqueur make an elevated, caffeinated cocktail. Sable in Chicago created this twist on whiskey-spiked coffee with amaro. And if you like things bright, this citrus-kissed espresso is for you.

March 2014

Recipe Facts

Active: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins
Serves: 1 serving

Rate & Comment


  • 6 ounces brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1 ounce Old Grand Dad Bonded Bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce Luxardo Maraschino
  • 1/2 ounce cream
  • 1/2 ounce demerara syrup (see notes)
  • 3 dashes absinthe
  • 3 dashes orange bitters
  • Nutmeg (optional)


  1. Add coffee, bourbon, maraschino, cream, demerara syrup, absinthe, and bitters to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake until cold, about 15 seconds.

  2. Strain into a goblet filled with crushed ice. Garnish with fresh nutmeg if desired.

Special Equipment

Cocktail shaker, cocktail strainer, goblet


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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