‘Tis nigh Negroni Week, the annual charitable co-branding event from Campari and Imbibe Magazine. While mostly happening in the bar world, the occasional cocktail-minded coffee bar gets in on the action, and that's where our partners at Madcap Coffee come in: they've crafted a thrilling threesome of booze-free cocktails for service June 6th-12th at their Grand Rapids cocktail bar, with $1 per drink donated to charity.
Let's meet the drinks! These recipes were prepared by Trevor Corlett, Madcap co-founder and seasoned American barista competition competitor, along with Jonathan Miller, Madcap's Grand Rapids cafe educator and Colin Whitcomb, head of training & quality control at Madcap's DC branch. These recipes might not contain Campari, but they do contain fascinating ingredients like delicious coffee, cascara, tea from San Francisco's noted Song Tea, and y'know, juniper berries, if you have any of those sitting around. After we check out the recipes, we'll chat with Whitcomb on the inspiration behind these beauties.
Negro Bianco (A Tea Mocktail):
– 4 grams (4ml) Huang Meigui white tea from Song Tea
– 6 grams (6ml) Dried Juniper Berries
– 4 grams (4ml) Orange peel
– 1.5 grams (1.5ml) Cinnamon stick
– .5 grams (.5ml) clove
– .5 grams (.5ml) cardamom
– fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
Steep 4g Huang Meigui, 6g crushed juniper berry, 4g ornage peel, 1.5g cinnamon stick, .5g clove and .5g cardamom in 5.6oz 210 water for 4 minutes.
Strain over 4.4oz ice until completely dissolved.
Negro Bianco Recipe:
– Mix the following
– 2 parts tea
– 1 part grapefruit juice.
Stir over ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass, and serve with an expressed orange peel
Tè & Caffè Amaro (A Coffee & Cascara Mocktail):
– 15 grams (15ml) Cascara (dried coffee cherry skins)
– 10 grams (10ml) Lemon Peel
– 10 grams (10ml) Orange Peel
– 2 shots (approx 2oz) espresso (Recommend Madcap's Third Coast Espresso)
Cascara Tea Recipe:
Steep 15g cascara with 10g lemon peel and 10g orange peel in 10oz water for 10 minutes on a low simmer.
Strain into jar and refrigerate.
Tè & Caffè Amaro Recipe:
Mix the Following:
– espresso shots into cocktail shaker
– add ice and stir
– Add 1 part cascara for every 2 parts chilled espresso
Strain into rocks glass and serve with an expressed orange peel.
The Bogotá Sunrise (Coffee Mocktail):
– Tonic Syrup: 1 part Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup, 1 part water
– fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
– Aeropress coffee (recommend Madcap Coffee Luis Reinoso, Lucas Melo or San Sebastian)
Aeropress Coffee Recipe:
– start with 40 grams (1.5oz) of finely ground coffee in the aeropress
– add 150 grams (5.25oz) of water heated to around 205F
– stir coffee grounds and water together
– steep for 3 minutes than press
The Bogotá Sunrise Recipe:
Mix the Following
– 10 parts Aeropress coffee
– 1 part tonic syrup
– 1part grapefruit juice
Stir over ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass, and serve with an expressed lemon peel
Hey Colin Whitcomb! Thanks for chatting with us about the above delicious drinks. First I want to ask you: why use tea for one of your coffee cocktails?
The tea was Trevor’s idea, and it resonated with us for a couple of reasons. First of all, drinks of this type of drink tends to suffer a bit in the visual department—no matter what the ingredients they mostly look cloudy and brown. Tea allowed us to achieve a strong visual distinction, hinting at one of our favorite Negroni variations, the Negroni Blanco. But, moreover, tea showcased our relationship with Song Tea & Ceramics, whose product we revere. Honestly, it feels a bit indelicate to over-steep one of Peter Luong's teas, but the dryness and bitterness is delightfully reminiscent of certain fortified wines.
Madcap has fielded many barista competitors over the years, which means plenty of signature drink courses. How much does this inspire these kinds of mocktails away from the competition format?
Perhaps what we gain the most from working year after year on sig drinks is a strong process and a willingness to experiment. The vision driving these mocktails, Trevor’s signature drinks, and our own seasonal drink program at Madcap is very similar: to recast aspects of a coffees quality in a format that is approachable, delicious, and paired to a specific coffee. The departure in these Nergoni riffs is that here, instead of trying to achieve goals outlined the the WBC scoresheet, we're free to make something that we think everyone could enjoy.
Why no booze?
Unfortunately we’re not licensed to sell alcohol, and we needed drinks we can serve in the cafe. Working with spirits would be awesome, and, in a way, intimidating. I will say that when developing these drinks, we had ideas in mind for how to incorporate Campari, vermouths, gins, etc. Should anyone be interested, just give us a holler and we’ll be happy to send along some suggestions for how to spin these mocktails into cocktails
Where and when can folks drink these drinks?
At the original Madcap cafe on 98 Monroe Center, Grand Rapids, MI June 6-12.
What's your favorite?
The Bogota Sunrise is my favorite. We brewed Luis Reinoso’s coffee in an aeropress and added fresh grapefruit to create a deep, citrusy, winey base (that would make a killer base for an Americano variation), and stirred it with tonic syrup for sweetness and added bittiness. For me, the result felt true to the spirit of both Luis’ coffee, and the negroni, while being just plain tasty.
Thanks much, and cheers!
Jordan Michelman is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge.com. Read more Jordan Michelman on Sprudge.