The Espresso Liqueur That Clocks In At 50 Proof

Work hard, love hard, and live a life filled with friends — particularly friends who appreciate receiving handmade batches of liqueur as holiday gifts. That's the motto of the family behind Mario's Hard Espresso.

As told to Forbes, Joe Grasso is on a mission to carry his father's legacy through meticulously handmade batches of booze. Alongside his son, Grasso is churning out coffee-based drinks and distributing bottles for around $40 in stores throughout the United States. The label has already won awards at both the New York and the Los Angeles International Spirit Awards and took home additional honors at the SIP International Spirit Awards. But Grasso is most proud of maintaining integrity in his business, keeping the smooth spirit a family-run artisanal effort.

Alongside a compilation of heart-warming home videos, Mario's states bottles of their hard espresso can help make life sweeter. But be warned: this coffee-flavored sweetness comes with a punch.

Sip slowly

The exact recipe for this life-sweetening liqueur remains a family secret, but from Mario's website, we know that each bottle is made with triple-distilled, 200-proof grain neutral spirit that helps create a silky smooth platform for the other ingredients — 100% Arabica dark roast Italian espresso, organic Madagascar vanilla, and cane sugar — to shine. You don't need much to build a drink that can easily be enjoyed; simply pour the liqueur over ice, or if you're feeling extra inspired, incorporate the booze into an espresso martini cocktail recipe.

As told to Forbes, Grasso recognizes the perfect coffee drink can land on a continuum from comforting to romantic or soothing to stimulating. So if you're looking to cap off a meal, kick off an evening out on the town, or finish a long day in the comfort of your own home, sip slowly. Bottles of Mario's Hard Espresso may look homely, but they deliver a 50-proof kick of coffee-flavored libations.