KC Coffee Cocktail

Nine Bars

Omaha World Herald journalist Edward Morrow’s famous quote from the 1920s, “If you want to see some sin, forget about Paris and go to Kansas City,” spoke to the city’s then reputation as the Midwest’s bootlegging capital. Libations are less sinful (or illegal at least) but they are no less rare and Kansas City has become home to an impressive, modernized cocktail movement.

Since beverage cultures likes to intermingle, and Kansas City boasts a great craft coffee scene, many of the city’s respected bar menus feature libations spiked with coffee from local roasters, too. Among the many craft bartenders attracting press and a loyal following is Kenny Cohrs, a friend I regularly tap for recipes and bartending advice. He shared his caffeinated take on an undeniable classic. His martini cocktail features a blend of beans from Kansas City’s The Roasterie. It’s a toast to the city’s beverage appetite and lineage. Enjoy!


Kenny Cohrs’ Espresso ‘Martini’

1 shot fresh espresso (or equivalent amount drip coffee*)
1 1/2 ounce vanilla vodka
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 dashes lemon bitters*

Combine, add ice, and shake all ingredients. Strain into chilled cocktail (coupe or martini) glass and add no garnish other than the beautiful foam.

* Using drip coffee will make a less intense cocktail. Kenny currently uses a proprietary blend from The Roasterie in Kansas City, mainly Ethiopian with Colombian and Mexican as well. Add a splash of cream for a variation.

* Experiment with using Angostura bitters or any other version, as well as using the bitters as a garnish instead of shaking with other ingredients.

—Emily McIntyre is a regular contributor to Fresh Cup. Kenny Cohrs of Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar in Kansas City created this recipe.