Last month, Stumptown Coffee Roasters held what may have been the world’s very first Cold Brew Throwdown in Portland, Oregon. It was at that event that Matt Milletto of Water Avenue Coffee debuted Midnight Driver, a pinot noir barrel-aged cold brew coffee cocktail. We are here to share his recipe with you today, because it is everything.
To craft his cold brew concoction, Milletto worked with the team at Bull In China, a Portland-based barware accessory outfit. Since August 2014, Bull In China has been utilizing local artisans to craft custom barware equipment. Bull In China founders (and longtime career bartenders) Daniel Osborne and Lucas Plant, along with marketing director Katie Burnet, want to elevate the bar experience with high-end bar products as well as carefully curated vintage barware the group independently sources.
And now, Bull In China and Milletto are teaming up to work with bars in the Portland area to develop highly curated elevated coffee experiences. Plant recalls a visit to New York City’s Amor Amargo, an amaro & bitters bar with an advanced coffee cocktail service, and sees a future where bars “treat cold brew like a base spirit and turn it into a cocktail experience.” Milletto adds that non-alcoholic coffee mocktails could be implemented with a cold brew base, “giving a non-alcoholic drinker an experience versus a soda water, which also gives a bar an opportunity to sell a cocktail.”
We love the idea of a carefully crafted coffee non-alcoholic cocktail menu, but what if we want a little extra buzz?
Enter the Midnight Driver.
The Midnight Driver is made with a cold brew concentrate of the complex Water Avenue Barrel Aged El Salvador: a celebration of relationships between WAC, the Menendez Family in El Salvador, and Sokol Blosser Winery of Dayton, Oregon. The concentrate is then blended with a blood orange creme de cacao, Amerina, olive oil, oils of orange and lemon peel, and dusted with a pinch of Jacobsen Salt Co. brand sea salt, harvested on the Oregon coast.
“The ingredients accentuate all the flavors found in the coffee,” says Milletto, “nuttiness and chocolate of the coffee and dark berry notes.” The sea salt “pulls out nuances” while the olive oil enhances the drink’s viscosity which “hold the flavors on your palate”.
The drink is a cold brew cocktail masterstroke, garnering Milletto a people’s choice award at Stumptown’s Cold Brew Throwdown and ultimately winning third place overall. Milletto and Bull & China plan on working together to create more drinks like this, with Water Avenue Coffee brewing exclusive cold brew bases. The four see a big future for cold brew in cocktail bars. Bull In China’s Osborne says simply: “It’s going to blow people’s minds.”
Pinot cold brew concentrate – 3oz
House made blood orange creme de cacao – 1/4oz
Amarena or Maraschino 1/8oz
Olive oil – 1 drop
Oil of 1 orange peel – stir with orange
Oil of lemon on top – cut for garnish (sail)
Jacobsen’s sea salt – light pinch
Place all ingredients save the lemon oil and salt in a glass of ice. Stir. Strain into glass. Garnish with lemon oil and salt.