The days are shorter and the temperatures in the north are beginning to dip. Winter is finally here. The good news is, Kyle Jones—our resident cocktail expert—is taking us on a journey (an escape!) to the Italian Riviera via the islands of the Caribbean with his latest creation: Bella Mattina.
This warm and cozy, rum-focused cocktail features a coffee by Angel Lopez out of Nariño, Colombia which was roasted by Sweet Bloom Coffee in Denver, Colorado. Though it looks like Sweet Bloom isn't stocking these particular beans right now, they have another Colombia Nariño on their menu which has a very similar taste profile.
Kyle and I actually shot this recipe in early 2017. However, I squirreled it away all summer long. I even held back from sharing during our warm fall because I've been waiting for winter to arrive—'tis the season we need to sip on Kyle's delicious Bella Mattina the most!
Stay warm and enjoy!
tLBCC: What inspired the name of this cocktail?
Kyle Jones: This pretty lady is called Bella Mattina which means “beautiful morning” in Italian. While the rum is a Caribbean product, the fernet adds the Italian flare that makes me dream of sitting on a balcony in Cinque Terre overlooking the Ligurian Sea. *deep sigh
tLBCC: How would you describe the flavor profile of the Bella Mattina?
Kyle Jones: If you are a fan of a nice amaro after dinner or enjoy a cup of coffee after your meal, this is a perfect blend for you. I have always been a huge lover of a well executed Irish Coffee, but for some, Irish Coffees can be a bit harsh. With this in mind, I replaced whiskey with a beautifully aged rum to cut out that harshness. The Fernet Branca encourages those beautiful bitter notes of the coffee, while the brown sugar gives balance and a molasses-like layer which regular white sugar wouldn’t provide. This cocktail is a great digestif or a warm and cozy drink to sip while sitting with friends.
tLBCC: Can you tell us a little bit about Plantation Rum and this particular rum you chose to use?
Kyle Jones: Plantation Rum is taking over the cocktail scene across the globe. Alexandre Gabriel, the creator of Plantation Rum and owner of Maison Ferrand, is doing some amazing things in the rum category. Not only does he create beautiful rums, but he collaborates with some of the top minds and historians in the cocktail community. Most notably, with David Wondrich who is the author of Imbibe! and regarded as one of the most sought after cocktail historians. Together they created an amazing pineapple rum called, Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum which took the US by storm. They also just released an amazing overproof dark rum called O.F.T.D at 69% for the tiki fans out there.
What makes Plantation unique is that they source and age their rums from their country of origin then send them back to France where they are further aged in cognac casks used by Maison Ferrand. This double maturation creates this incredibly smooth and easy drinking rum.
We, at Young’s Fine Wine, represent Plantation Rum here in the Bahamas and it is quickly becoming a household name. Just this past February at the Rum Bahamas Festival, Plantation took gold in five of the seven categories that were available. They also swept the entire 2017 Miami Rum festival just a few months back as well. So this amazing rum won’t be a secret for very much longer!
The rum I used was their crème de la crème, the Plantation XO 20th Anniversary out of Barbados. To me, this rum is the pinnacle of sipping rums and I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t absolutely love it. It is an assemblage of 12 to 20-year-old rums that are aged again in used Pierre Ferrand cognac casks. To some, it may be sacrilege to add such a well-refined rum to coffee, but the vanilla and coconut notes are absolutely perfect for this cocktail.
- 1 oz Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Rum
- 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
- 3 dashes Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters
- Spoon of Brown Sugar
- Coffee brewed in a Moka Pot to top—Angel Lopez Nariño Colombia roasted by Sweet Bloom
Roasted Macadamia Nut Whipped Cream
- Heavy whipping cream
- White sugar
- 5 dashes of Bitters Old Men Roasted Macadamia Nut bitters
- Brew coffee (here is a great Moka Pot recipe from Blue Bottle)
- Add the Plantation Rum, Fernet Branca and Scrappy’s Bitters to a glass.
- Next add sugar—amount depends on your preferences
- Then pour hot brewed coffee over top, stirring until sugar is incorporated.
- Gently top with lightly whipped roasted macadamia nut whipped cream to cover top.
- Garnish with coffee grounds and begin imbibing!
tLBCC: Is the Moka Pot your brew method of choice? If not, how do you brew coffee in the morning?
Kyle Jones: The Moka Pot is my preferred method. It’s just a perfect little “machine” for an easy morning brew. Maybe it’s because it makes me feel like I am in Italy. More likely it's because I have a hard time functioning when I wake up and the Moka makes things effortless for me.
tLBCC: Can you tell us about your glassware?
Kyle Jones: Sticking to my love of vintage, these old tea glasses were a market find in Brussels, Belgium. They actually come with tops to put tea leaves in and pour hot water over. I like using these tea glasses for hot cocktails because of the beautiful design and easy grasping handle.
tLBCC: Is there any special technique involved in making whipped cream?
Kyle Jones: Nothing special, just a bit of elbow grease needed. Start by adding a cold heavy whipping cream and a couple of tablespoons of white sugar to a cold bowl. At this point, all you have to do is whisk, whisk, whisk. I added a few dashes of Bitters Old Men Roasted Macadamia Nut Bitters for a touch of nuttiness once the mixture started coming together. It will take a few minutes of hard work to start forming a creamy, buttery texture.
I don’t like to take my whipped cream all the way to form stiff peaks because I prefer to have a bit of a liquidity on top. For a lazier approach—which by all means I am a fan of—you can use a handheld immersion blender or a Kitchen-Aid style stand mixer with whisk attachment.
More Cocktails by Kyle Jones: