Thirsty Thursday

Keoke Coffee drink has strong flavor, making it the perfect beverage for winter

Frankie Prijatel | Senior Staff Photographer

Keoke Coffee was originally created in Southern California.

It’s the first day of December, and we’re starting to hit that time of the year when it feels almost impossible to finish up the last stretch to winter break — especially with the cold weather outside.  Finals are coming up, projects are piling on and the motivation to go to the library is at an all-time low.

If you’re looking for a warm drink to calm down these pre-final nerves, you may want to consider a Keoke Coffee.

Keoke Coffee is a hot coffee cocktail made with Kahlua, brandy, creme de cacao and coffee. It’s served in a glass mug and topped with a dollop of lightly whipped cream. It’s similar to an Irish coffee, except Irish coffee is made with whiskey instead of brandy. The liquors used in a Keoke Coffee are much sweeter, changing the taste and making it much more like dessert.

The origin of this drink may surprise you. While it is a great cold weather treat, it was originally created in the warm sun of Southern California.

As the story goes, George Bullington, the owner of Bully’s Steakhouse restaurant in California, was experimenting with drinks late one night. Keoke Coffee came out of this late-night trial and error.

This story is the reasoning behind the name Keoke Coffee: “Keoke” means George in Hawaiian.

I made myself one over Thanksgiving break, and upon combining ingredients, I immediately noticed the delicious aroma wafting from the glass. Rich scents of fresh coffee, Kahlua and hints of chocolate drifted to my nose.

The drink begins a translucent dark brown color. Within seconds of plopping the whipped cream onto the coffee mixture, it began to melt, sending swirls of white cream throughout the dark liquid. I gave it a stir and brought the entire drink to a lighter opaque brown.

This drink is a coffee lover’s dream. A strong coffee flavor is the most overwhelming flavor, followed by hints of chocolate from the creme de cacao, a chocolate-flavored liquor. It’s extremely sweet because of the sugary Kahlua but the undertone of brandy left me with a final bitter flavor.

I loved this coffee drink and it was incredibly simple to make. I poured about a half a shot of each liquor into each cup, leaving about two-thirds of the cup left for coffee. My one problem was that because the liquor was cold, my drink was initially lukewarm and I needed to microwave it to keep the coffee cocktail steaming hot before adding the whipped cream.


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