The Friday Tipple: The Coffee Killer

Holy drinking games, Boozers. We are still wiped out from the excesses of The Presidential Pivot game, not to mention a little debate bingo, so we know what we need to help us recover: something hot, sweet, and strong.

Drag your minds from the gutters, Boozers. We’re talking here about a classic Ammazzacaffè, or “coffee killer”, an Italian tradition where a hot demitasse of strong sweet espresso is followed up with a liqueur, to “kill” the taste of the espresso. In Italy, you might partake of this little digestive after lunch or dinner, but we’re Americans, which means we’ll do whatever we damn please, and with a Vice Presidential debate looming in a few days, we may need a few coffee killers in order to steady our nerves. Have it with a boiled egg and call it brunch if it makes you feel better.

Our coffee killer is sweetened with our own Maple Sugar Simple Syrup — we picked up maple sugar from the Amish folks at the farmer’s market the other day and it makes a gorgeous simple syrup when lightly kissed with cinnamon and orange. You could try substituting a good quality maple syrup instead, such as Langdon Wood Maple Syrup aged in Catoctin Creek’s rye whiskey barrels, but don’t succumb to Mrs. Butterworth’s. We added fruit in the form of apple brandy; you could go for some French calvados, but the Italians would hate that, and, besides, we urge you to go local. There are some amazing American apple brandies on the market now — we are, after all, the home of Johnny Appleseed.

Drink up, Boozers — three more debates to go.

Coffee Killer

2 ounces hot strong coffee, preferably served in a demitasse (no espresso machine needed, just filter 2 heaping teaspoons of ground coffee with 2 ounces of hot water and add a smidge of cinnamon if you like)

1 teaspoon Maple Sugar Simple Syrup (recipe below)

2 ounces apple brandy, served in a small liqueur glass or a shot glass (Laird’s Apple Brandy is a tasty option; we prefer younger varieties so that the apple flavor is more prominent)

fresh orange twist

Here’s how to properly kill your coffee: stir the maple syrup into the hot coffee, throw in the orange twist, and drink the coffee down in one or two gulps. Suck down about half the apple brandy, then pour the remainder into the espresso cup. Swirl to capture the last dregs of coffee and maple, then swallow it down. Now you’re ready to face more questions about slow economic growth.

Maple Sugar Simple Syrup

1 cup maple sugar

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

fresh orange peel (one hefty piece, not zest)

Set sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar liquifies, being careful not to let it burn. Add water slowly and stir. Add cinnamon and orange peel and allow to simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Remove orange peel and cool completely. Yields about a cup; can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months.

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Debate Tipple: The Presidential Pivot

It’s debate time, Boozers. Drinking games abound at this time of year — because who doesn’t enjoy slamming a shot every time the President bashes millionaires or his opponent glorifies Reaganomics? A lot of people will be very, very drunk tonight.

Our own drinking game will require us to actually pay attention to the substance of the debate, which means we may not last too long. We’ll be watching the art of The Pivot, a device by which the candidate cleverly dodges answering the actual question by seamlessly switching to a new topic: for example, a candidate might be asked to explain his opposition to (or support of) universal health care and ends up pushing his concept for lowering taxes for small business owners. If it’s done well, they get away with never answering the original question. If they do it less elegantly, Jim Lehrer slaps them around verbally until they actually have to give an opinion.

To participate in our Presidential Pivot drinking game, you’ll need several shot glasses filled with a variety of liquors, and one filled with water. Each time you identify a pivot, shout “Pivot!” and drink from one of the glasses. The next time you spot another pivot, shout “Pivot!” and drink from a different glass. If the moderator catches the candidate and forces a response, shout “Fail!” and drink some water.

Yes, we think it’s likely you’ll get drunk, so don’t forget cab fare.