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This Coffee Crack Cocktail From Berlin Is NSFW

This Coffee Crack Cocktail From Berlin Is NSFW

geist im glas neukölln berlin germany brunch coffee crack cocktail sprudge

Berlin has no end of excellent Third Wave coffee joints cropping up, but sometimes a loose night out demands something dirtier from your morning-after caffeine. The American-style brunch menu at Geist im Glas, in Berlin’s hip Neukölln’s neighborhood, offers just that kick in the form of their devilishly good Coffee Crack Cocktail.

Named after the Brothers Grimm fairytale The Spirit in the Bottle, Giest im Glas was opened in early 2012 by the dynamic Englishwoman Aishah Bennetts and her American business partner, J. Ray Sparks. The cafe is located on the tree-lined Lenaustraße, a quiet, cobblestoned street off Kottbusser Damm, neighboring the hip enclave of Weserstraße and its many bars and cafes. While most Neukölln bars stick to the minimal combo of furnished shop-front and cheap beer, Giest im Glas has carved out a niche as artisan cocktail-makers. They specialize in house-infused spirits—the gorgeous bottles are lined up along the bar like an apothecary—and unique creations like the Rosemary’s Baby (rosemary- and lemon-infused Barbados aged rum with ginger beer). While evenings are a candle-lit affair in the bar till late, on weekends they open from 12 p.m.–4 p.m., with tables set up along the pavement, deck, and front room for brunchers.

geist im glas neukölln berlin germany brunch coffee crack cocktail sprudge

geist im glas neukölln berlin germany brunch coffee crack cocktail sprudge

Geist’s menu of brunch-only cocktails make for perfect companions to the shop’s American-style brunch: think fluffy buttermilk pancakes with Maker’s Mark maple syrup; killer heuvos rancheros with black beans, fried corn tortillas, pico de gallo, and guacamole; and biscuits and sage-cream gravy with sausage and mushrooms. But my go-to/Sunday-savior/bff is unquestionably the Coffee Crack Cocktail.

Sparks was inspired to create the cocktail during one of Berlin’s annual Chili Cook-Off competitions, which the Geist team have won two years in a row. Sparks recalls getting “embarrassingly drunk, thanks to a nice guy with a moustache who was serving up coffee-infused vodkas.” He ecstatically knocked back one after another as the chili festivities continued. “That’s where the name came from,” Sparks tells me with a grin. “The idea that it’s like crack. You can’t get enough.”

geist im glas neukölln berlin germany brunch coffee crack cocktail sprudge

Ray Sparks of Geist Im Glas.

Like all Geist creations, the recipe was developed by Sparks with Bennetts and the staff, seeing the addition of Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters, Kahlua, and a cold brew made from Hubert Tempelmann’s Bio Spiztenkaffee filter coffee (which is also offered hot during brunch in bottomless, American diner-style mugs, a rarity in Berlin). Geist infuses their vodka with coffee beans, and the result is a coffee creation both delicious and addictive.

“We really like foam here,” Sparks tells me, “and we use a lot of fresh egg whites in our drinks.” Indeed, the Crack Cocktail arrives with an aromatic half-inch of foam like a heavenly, alcoholic crema. The textures of the creamy foam and the cool, sharp liquid pair smoothly, and the tones of bitter and spice balance the cocoa’s sweetness and the vodka punch. It is dangerously drinkable. Check out the official recipe below, and craft this drink at your own peril.

geist im glas neukölln berlin germany brunch coffee crack cocktail sprudge

Coffee Crack Cocktail

-4 centiliters Russian Standard vodka infused with coffee beans
-4 centiliters cold brew coffee
-2 centiliters Kahlua
-3 drops Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a speed shaker with crushed ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into martini glass or cup.

Annabel Brady-Brown is a freelance journalist based in Berlin, writing for ExBerliner and more. This is her first feature for Sprudge. 

Photos by Septimus Brope for Sprudge.com. 


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