Cold Brew Cocktails

Get a Proper Caffeine Buzz with 11 Cold Brew Cocktails

People get their buzz going in different ways. For some, it might be a happy hour cocktail after work. For others, it might be a morning or midday caffeine fix. Certainly, there are plenty of us who partake in both – so why not just do it at once? Enter the world of cold brew cocktails, with these 11 caffeinated cocktail creations across the city.

Affloatgato at Urbana
With mezcal, Averna, vanilla syrup, cold brew and vanilla ice cream

“When I was a child in Rhode Island, my grandmother would occasionally treat me to a root beer float, or her famous ‘coffee cabinet’ with vanilla bean ice cream and Rhode Island’s traditional coffee syrup,” says lead bartender Andrea Tateosian, who came up with the Affloatgato and its catchy name. “I wanted to recreate the nostalgia of this drink while staying true to Urbana’s Italian flavors.” Urbana: 2121 P St. NW, DC;

Affogato Mr. Roboto at Quarter+Glory
With Nonino Amaro, Dolin Rouge vermouth, cold brew, cream, Averna and vanilla ice cream

Kenneth McCoy came up with this riff on an affogato, and found his own pun-inspired name. Not only is he the chief creative director of Public House Collective, but you may recognize him from Spike’s Behind the Bar. He has a simple description for this one: “La dolce vita!” Quarter+Glory: 2017 14th St. NW, DC;

Black Irish at Jack Rose
With Jameson Black Barrel, Drambuie, cold brew, Angostura bitters and lemon peel

Head bartender Benny Hurwitz took his inspiration from a classic Irish coffee, transforming it though into an Old Fashioned-style cocktail. “This cocktail brings together two great classics: the Irish coffee and the Old Fashioned,” he says. “A balance of spirit, sweet and spice with an added dark-roasted finish.” Jack Rose: 2017 18th St. NW, DC;

BSDC Nitro Irish Coffee at Bourbon Steak
With Red Breast 12 Irish whiskey, cane syrup and Alchemist cold brew

“We wanted to really elevate our coffee service in the restaurant and bar, and were particularly impressed with the cold brew by Alchemist in Alexandria,” explains head bartender Torrence Swain. “Their nitro cold brew coffee is incredibly smooth, and has this creaminess that really works with the Red Breast. Whether or not you take your coffee black or with sugar, we found a little sweetness to be just right with the addition of cane syrup.” Bourbon Steak: 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC;

Carajillo at Radiator
With blanco or reposado tequila, Licor 43, cold brew Kona coffee and orange peel

“The Carajillo has a soft spot in my heart,” explains lead bartender Sarah Rosner. “One of my dear friends served a cold brew cocktail to me on my annual trip to Puerto Vallarta, and I immediately wanted to create a variation for American palates. And I absolutely had to use Kona coffee. Cold brew Kona is delicious and easy to keep behind the bar, and it incorporates a piece of my Hawaiian homeland into this cocktail.” Radiator: 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC;

Grace Street Martini at The Rye Bar at Rosewood
With rye whiskey, Grace Street cold brew, Maraschino liquor, Kahlua and simple syrup

The Rosewood partnered with Georgetown neighbor Grace Street Coffee to offer a pop-up coffee shop in their lobby, in-room coffee bags and a specialty cocktail at The Rye Bar. “We’re honored to be working alongside an established hotel, and [to] bring their visitors a signature DC experience,” says Angel Cabrera, GM of Grace Street. The Rye Bar at Rosewood: 1050 31st St. NW, DC;

Chico O’ Farrill at Colada Shop
With amber rum, simple syrup, Fernet, mint and cold brew

Juan Coronado came up with this cocktail, a perfect fit for Colada Shop’s trifecta of Cuban culture, coffee and cocktails. The drink is named for Arturo “Chico” O’Farrill, a Cuban composer and conductor. “He’s best known for his work in the Latin idiom, especially Afro-Cuban jazz or ‘Cubop,’ although he also composed traditional jazz pieces and even symphonic works,” Coronado says. Colada Shop: 1405 T. St NW, DC;

Hipnos at Dino’s Grotto
With rye whiskey, amaro, cold brew Kona coffee, sugar, absinthe rinse and orange bitters

“Spicy chocolate notes that rounds out with a hint of licorice,” describes Dino’s Grotto Beverage Director Ric Newton about his drink. “I use Kona coffee to pick up the chocolate notes in the amaro. The rye adds the spice; the absinthe [adds] the licorice. The sugar and bitters makes all the ingredients get along.” Dino’s Grotto: 1914 19th St. NW, DC; www.dinoinshaw.comm

Spiked Nitro Cold Brew at Penn Commons
With green Chartreuse, Tempus Fugit Dark Cacao and housemade cold brew

“Cold brew is really having a moment right now, and I was eager to try it out behind the bar,” says Passion Food Hospitality Wine and Beverage Director Scott Clime, who makes his own nitrous-charged cold brew in-house. “Charging it with nitrogen lightens it up by pumping it full of tiny bubbles so you get that Guinness-like creaminess, and the addition of Chartreuse was a no-brainer.” Penn Commons: 700 6th St. NW, DC;

The Monks Made Me Do It at The Royal
With Rujero singani, green Chartreuse, cold brew, hopped grapefruit bitters and lemon

The Royal is an ideal destination for a combo caffeine and cocktail fix, as the all-day joint is known for their stellar programs for both. “The natural citrus notes and bitterness of the cold brew really pair well with the lemon juice and the rich floral earthiness from the Rujero singani,” explains bar manager Andrew Larsen. “Using the Chartreuse and the hopped grapefruit bitters really kicks the complexity to another level.” The Royal: 501 Florida Ave. NW, DC;

Wide Eyed at Dirty Habit
With Hamilton Jamaican rum, macadamia orgeat, salted falernum, cream and Vigilante cold brew

Head bartender Sarah Ruiz wanted to go funky and nutty with her Wide Eyed cocktail. “I love rum and salt together,” she says. “The addition of macadamia and cold brew creates a decadent drink that highlights the funky Jamaican rum.” Dirty Habit: 555 8th St. NW, DC;


Jake Emen

Jake Emen is a freelance writer focused on food and drink, as well as travel and lifestyle. Currently based outside of Washington, D.C., he has been published in a wide range of print and online outlets, including Whisky Advocate, Eater, Vice Munchies,, Tales of the Cocktail, Washington Post Express, Distiller, Roads & Kingdoms, Time Out, Tasting Table, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, and a range of others. He also runs his own site,, and can be followed on Twitter, @ManTalkFood.