Don't know how to use it? We've got a recipe for the Rise & Shine mixed drink, below. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
Waking up is about to get a lot more fun. This week, the mad scientists at Belle Isle Craft Spirits and Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co. release their first ever collaboration, a coffee-infused moonshine. And yes, it's caffeinated.
“We wanted instantly, as soon as you open that bottle, for you to get that coffee nose," says Gregg Brooks, Belle Isle's production director. "We wanted it to be slightly sweet, and I knew right away we didn’t want to do a sugar bomb by any means. We just wanted enough sweetness to offset the bitterness, the richness and that caramel and chocolate flavor from the coffee itself.”
To strike that perfect balance, the teams took a three-pronged approach to determine the recipe: proportion of beans to cold brew, selecting the particular variety of beans and roast, and experimenting with sweeteners. After roughly one year of tweaking the components and method, Brooks hit gold with Blanchard's fair-trade organic Honduran beans soaked in local honey and white whiskey, topped off with cold brew. In fact, there are nearly 40 gallons of cold brew in each batch, along with 110 pounds of beans. The honey, which comes from a man named Bubba in Waynesboro, is the same used in the distillery's honey-habanero infusion (compared to this blend, the new coffee flavor uses only about a third of the honey). “We just kind of went back and forth with tweaking," Brooks says. "We’ve done everything from a bottle at a time to 10 liters at a time to two liters at a time.”
By the Belle Isle team's calculations, one two-ounce shot of the stuff contains around the same amount of caffeine as a cup of tea; just enough to kickstart your night (or day, no judgment here), but it's not engineered to keep you wired.
This marks the third Belle Isle Craft Spirits bottled infusion, with more on the way: The team hopes to launch one new infusion each year, and in the Manchester distillery's forthcoming taproom, guests will find additional small-batch experiments such as barrel-aged product and other infusions. And in the even nearer future, expect a few brunch takeovers and events popping up around town to promote the new infusion. For now, you can already find Belle Isle Craft Spirits' Cold Brew Coffee at most Richmond-area Virginia ABC stores — at around $25 per 750ml bottle — and you can find a recipe, below.
The Rise & Shine
A take on an internationally beloved coffee drink, the cold brew and tonic, The Rise & Shine adds a bit of oomph to this fizzy, bright way to get buzzed.
Pour 1.5 ounces of Cold Brew Coffee moonshine over ice in a glass, and top with tonic water. Peel a sliver of orange rind, and exercise it along the rim of the glass. Drop it in, stir and enjoy.