Cocktail culture is infusing iced coffee with new taste sensations, reports Oliver Strand in The New York Times (6/12/14). At G&B Coffee in Los Angeles, Charles Babinski and Kyle Glanville offer “the iced almond-macadamia milk latte” in which house-made almond-macadamia milk “is shaken over ice with espresso, then strained into a chilled Mason jar filled with ice from a Kold-Draft ice maker, an expensive machine you find in cocktail bars.” Kyle says the goal was to make a beverage he, himself, would like to drink.
“We never wanted to feel like we had to do something just because customers wanted us to do it,” he says. “You stop thinking of what you do as solely being in service of the coffee, and start thinking about what’s exciting to people.” The impetus, says Kyle, was Starbucks. “We started talking about hijacking the Starbucks holiday menu and remaking it …taking the names as inspiration and building our own drinks around them.” The G&B shop also “feels like a bar,” featuring “a long counter” where you “belly up … and drink where you stand.”
G&B is not alone in its ethos of alcohol. At Everyman Espresso you can get “an espresso old fashioned: espresso, tiki bitters and simple syrup shaken over ice and strained into a heavy glass. Madcap Coffee … just introduced the espresso Moscow Mule, in which espresso and ginger-lime syrup are stirred together and strained over ice, then topped with sparkling water.” Stumptown coffee meanwhile, packages iced-coffee in beer-like bottles, and Blue Bottle, in a relatively wholesome twist, uses “small milk cartons.”