Instagram can be a great place for discovering what's new in the coffee world. Last fall, Kyle Jones — otherwise referred to as @mr.sazerac, or our resident cocktail expert— stumbled across Sunup Green Coffee in an Instagram post and sent me the link. Aside from being really curious about what a green coffee drink might taste like, I was excited about the possibility of using green coffee as an ingredient. As far as I can see, green coffee has been embraced in health circles, but it's not really considered part of the end game in the coffee industry, yet. Sunup is a pioneer.
I reached out to the folks at Sunup and they very kindly sent a box full of their product my way. The next time I saw Kyle, he worked his magic and crafted a delicious cocktail around the unique flavor profile of Sunup's Green Coffee drink. Today I'm so excited to shared Kyle's creation, the Mar Verde—or "Green Sea" in Spanish.
If you are not familiar with Kyle's work, he also brought us two cascara based cocktails: the Cascara Fragaria Sour, and the High Tea. When he's not contributing caffeinated cocktails to this site, Kyle is very busy as the cocktail connoisseur for Young's Fine Wine in Nassau, Bahamas, where he designs bar menus and trains bartenders, among other beverage related things. In other words, Kyle knows a thing or two about making cocktails! I hope you enjoy!
tLBCC: What were you trying to achieve with this cocktail? How would you describe its overall flavor?
Kyle Jones: While the base of this drink is quite simple, I wanted to try to accentuate the green coffee flavor. Adding the egg white creates a silkier texture and the gin mimics some of the botanical notes you might find in the Sunup bottle. It results in a velvety sour that has not only a slight punch of coffee but also caffeine.
tLBCC: How would you describe Sunup's flavor profile to someone who’s never tried drinking green coffee?
Kyle Jones: If you are a tea person who isn’t a big fan of coffee, but still looking for that caffeine kick, Sunup is a great option. It has notes of green tea but ends with subtle taste of those unroasted coffee beans. It is slightly sweetened with cane sugar as well, so there no harsh bitterness. As they say, the taste is “from nature” not “from roaster."
tLBCC: Where did you get that gorgeous strainer from?
Kyle Jones: A lot of my pieces I find at flea markets or antique shops. I always make a point to look for equipment from different eras to add to my collection. The more everyday stuff I only use Cocktail Kingdom pieces. They are the most reliable, durable pieces on the market…oh and they come in gold! So there’s that too….
- 1 oz Sipsmith London Dry Gin
- 2 oz Sunup Green Coffee
- 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
- 3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
- 3 dashes Dead Rabbit Orinoco bitters
- 1 egg white (for info about egg whites in cocktails and egg white alternatives check this out)
- Add all ingredients to shaker without ice.
- Dry shake to incorporate egg white.
- Add Ice and shake again.
- Double strain into coupe glass and add garnish.
tLBCC: In what setting would you serve the Green Coffee cocktail?
Kyle Jones: You could serve this cocktail in any setting. It might be a nice starter at a dinner party to inject a little caffeine into your friends and can also be a conversation starter about how Sunup is produced.
tLBCC: Can you tell us a little bit about the Dead Rabbit Orinoco bitters you used? And, do you have any ‘rules’ when it comes to using bitters in a cocktail?
Kyle Jones: I always tell my bartenders that bitters are the salt and pepper of the cocktail world. You don’t want to over season your cocktail by adding too many. You want the essence of the bitter, but not too much to dominate the flavor. Just as in any cocktail, it’s all about balance.
If you aren’t familiar with the bar Dead Rabbit in NYC, it is hand down my favorite bar. I’m obviously not the only one who thinks so considering they were voted “World’s Best Bar in 2016!" Their handcrafted Orinoco Bitters by Adam Elmegirab are a great aromatic to add to a cocktail. You will catch notes of cardamom, chamomile, cassia, raisins, orange peel and molasses.
tLBCC: This cocktail is not only delicious, but it’s also presented beautifully. Do you have any tips on cocktail presentation?
Kyle Jones: Just as with food, you first begin eating/drinking with your eyes. People tend to form a judgment on whether or not they will like the drink in the first 5 seconds they see it, even before they taste it. If you present something that is clean and pretty, you’re off to a good start. It begins with your glassware choice, is it appropriate for that cocktail? I always hate going to bars and seeing poorly cut garnishes or citrus that have obviously been sitting out for days. If you are going to take time to craft a beautiful cocktail, take pride in how you finish it too. While I loathe seeing bartenders pull out those foot long tweezers to place a garnish on a cocktail, it's actually sometimes necessary. For the more delicate presentations, like floating a wheel on top of a cocktail, you need to be able to do it gently and precisely. Nowadays, in my opinion, you see people trying to do way too much with garnishes. I prefer to keep it simple.