Petit Cafe Recipe

This cocktail marries the sweet, herbal notes of Green Chartreuse with coffee liqueur and a little cream.

A petit cafe cocktail served in a glass mug.

Serious Eats / Lizz Schumer

Why This Recipe Works

  • This drink uses coffee liqueur instead of coffee for a more concentrated flavor.
  • Hovering a bar spoon over the glass allows you to gently float lightly whipped cream on top of the drink.

A cuppa joe. Java. The elixir of life. The humble coffee bean has many names, but one thing's for sure: a lot of us consider it the best part of waking up or the only way to get through a long day. But coffee isn't just for the a.m. hours. Its savory-chocolaty-fruit-and-nut flavor blends well with a variety of spirits, from grappa to whiskey, rum and more.

Coffee lends itself to creativity, and doesn't necessarily require a high-brow bean to taste great with everything from Chartreuse to sherry. We asked a slew of bartenders from around the country about their favorite ways to use coffee in cocktails. After testing them all, we must weigh in: These drinks are gutsy, creative, and most of all, delicious. 

Try them all!  This caffeinated drink has amaro to complement the bitter notes. This twist on whiskey-spiked coffee includes herbal maraschino liqueur, and this citrus espresso is served at Eleven Madison Park.

H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir in San Francisco created this deceptively simple combination for the 2006 Chartreuse Cocktail Competition. An unexpected blend of Chartreuse, coffee liqueur (he uses Galliano Ristretto), and cream, this drink is sweet but herbal with a smooth, rich texture.

Ehrmann calls this drink, which is layered with botanicals and complementary flavors, a "smaller, colder, bolder" version of the classic Irish Coffee. If you've never thought to mix Chartreuse with coffee, get right to exploring this match: The flavors are surprising and bright.

March 2014

Recipe Details

Petit Cafe Recipe

Active 8 mins
Total 8 mins
Serves 1 serving

This cocktail marries the sweet, herbal notes of Green Chartreuse with coffee liqueur and a little cream.


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 ounces Galliano Ristretto or other coffee liqueur
  • 1 1/2 ounces Green Chartreuse
  • Pinch brown sugar (optional)


  1. Whip cream in a bowl with a whisk until it reaches a thick consistency, but is still fluid enough to pour, about 45 seconds.

  2. Add coffee liqueur and Chartreuse to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into a small wine glass or snifter.

  3. Top drink with whipped cream by floating it over the back of a bar spoon. Garnish with a pinch of brown sugar on top if desired.

Special Equipment

Whisk, small wine glass or snifter, mixing glass, bar spoon

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