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Booze makes coffee taste better. Hurrah! Join us as we explore the best coffee liqueurs on the market.

“Like water, alcohol relieves coffee of its flavourful compounds, and in many ways it does it better. Alcohol is better at extracting coffee oils, has the ability to form stable emulsions (known as nano-emulsions) with those oils, and is useful in the fight to preserve fragile soluble matter once appropriated…The only problem with using alcohol to make coffee is the taste of the alcohol itself. The hot fumes and peppery burn that we associate with ethyl-alcohol do not improve the flavour of a coffee. By adding sugar to an alcohol extraction we dramatically lessen the effects of alcohol burn,” writes Tristan Stephenson in The Curious Barista's Guide to Coffee.

DrinkUp.London's top four Coffee Liqueurs:

Mr Black Cold Press Coffee Liqueur 

Our verdict: Game changer. This super tasty Aussie product is delightful to sip on and we love it in a Coffee Negroni.

And a word from them: Mr Black is truly are bean to bottle. We are passionate about good coffee and spend a great deal of time sourcing our green beans directly from the farmers. Making Mr Black is a truly hands-on process, we roast our three different single origin, arabica beans ourselves, we grind them, make our cold press coffee, bottle it and label it ourselves. Every batch of 300 is made by hand and takes a week. We don’t filter anything and we don’t add any artificial colours, flavours or caramels. We love coffee and we want to showcase the amazing flavours that can be found within this miraculous bean. 

Tia Maria

Our verdict: Based on Jamacian rum, Tia Maria has a really unique taste which adds delicious complexity to a coffee cocktail. It was also the original coffee liqueur in the Vodka Espresso

And a word from them: Tia Maria is an incredibly versatile liquid, as well as being a perfect ingredient for any coffee based cocktail, the notes of vanilla, spice and chocolate can bring an extra dimension to any drink. Also the brand is deeply rooted in a rich and exciting history dating back to the 17th cent that very few brands could contest to. There is not much it does not pair with, but some highlights would be of course coffee, but also dark chocolate,, vanilla and tequila. Tia Maria is a great product to use to impart coffee flavours into cocktails because they employs a master roaster who picks the finest Arabica beans from around the world in order to deliver the premium taste that make the perfect accompaniment to any cocktail looking at delivering a rich coffee taste. 


Our verdict: This liqueur is made with real coffee passion and works incredbly well in a classic Espresso Martini, epspecially when you're using illy as your base espresso as well. 

And a word from them: What happens when the illy and Campari join together? Nothing less than magic in a bottle—a 28-proof treat called ILLYQUORE, a sumptuous twist on the signature illy taste , rich with notes of dark chocolate, vanilla bean and, of course, illy espresso. Always velvety smooth, ILLYQUORE can be served straight over ice, or shaken with other ingredients in a favoritecocktail.  Enjoy as the crowning touch to a fine meal, or any time that feels right. ILLYQUORE is one of a kind: coffee liqueur like you’ve never imagined.


Our verdict: Made from sugarcane and coffee, this is a favourite around the world, and while Kahlúa is a key ingredient in any White Russian, we adore it to pimp our milkshakes and make them that extra bit special. 

And a word from them: Originating in Mexico, since 1936 Kahlúa stands for a rich heritage, full of diversity and colour; something truly unique. Its deep brown colour is attractive and deep. Kahlúa Original offers enticing scents of bittersweet coffee bean and roasted chestnut and multilayered flavours of black coffee and sweet butter.