The German Coffee Drink With A Boozy Twist

Coffee and alcohol — two beloved beverages typically enjoyed on opposite sides of the day. Although often prepared in different settings, the skills required to make an outstanding cocktail and an outstanding coffee overlap, notes Tales of the Cocktails. Both are concocted by professionals with a fine-tuned palate to a drink's flavor. The vocabulary to describe the results has a lot in common, too — from floral to full-bodied — descriptors overlap. 

The Irish Coffee and the Espresso Martini, born in the 20th century, are today's celebrated icons of this dual-beverage bond, they're just a blip on the timeline of coffee cocktails. For the future, Miguel Lancha of Barmini tells Vinepair he sees a new wave of coffee cocktails coming thanks to cold brew. And looking to the past, mixed drinks of coffee and alcohol have a history that stretches back centuries. The practice of pouring some booze into a coffee was popular as far back as the 17th century, notes Foodism, and there are plenty of drinks along that coffee cocktail timeline worth exploring. 

One, in particular, is a German coffee drink popularized in the 1800s that's also worth a try. Meet Pharisaeer Kaffee — it might just hit the spot.

What is Pharisaeer Kaffee?

Looking for a wintery drink with just a dash of booze? German Pharisaeer Kaffee fits the bill — a warm coffee mixed with a shot of rum and a dollop of whipped cream on top. The national drink of Germany's Frisia region even has a designated vessel: a tall glass with a serving plate underneath. Pharisaeer Kaffee is subject to variations, though, so expect to find different coffees, liquors, and levels of sweetness. However, the one steadfast of the drink is the consumption method — avoid stirring the beverage. Sipping the boozy coffee mixture through the whipped cream is the way to enjoy, and a stir means you'll be the one buying the next round, notes The Spruce Eats.

Pharisaeer Kaffee is known for its bold flavors with a strong hint of booziness similar to Irish coffee. As a result, a robust joe is favored, matched with a dark rum. The sweetness is adaptable based on the user, and the whipped cream is made as foamy as possible. Combined together, these simple components yield a hard-hitting result, per Foodal.

History of Pharisaeer Kaffee

As a well-known drink from the Frisia region of Germany, Pharisaeer Kaffee is accompanied by a tale of its invention. Legend has it the drink emerged during the christening of a young girl on Nordstrand Island. Led by a pastor who shunned alcohol consumption, the congregation wanted to sneak some booze into the service. They poured rum into warm coffee but needed a method to disguise the evaporating smell so they opted to dollop whipped cream on top to contain the aroma. The technique didn't work, with the pastor inevitably catching on to the surreptitious behavior. He exclaimed, "You Pharisees," meaning hypocrites, and the name of the beverage was born, per All Tastes German.

Whether this origin is lore or fact, the popularity of Pharisaeer Kaffee correlates to the increasing accessibility of coffee in Germany. The first coffee shops appeared in the Central European nation in the 16th century, but high prices barricaded the general public from enjoying the stimulant. In the 19th century, costs decreased, and a greater share of the population could grab a cup of joe; it was around the same time that Pharisaeer Kaffee originated, via I Like Germany.

How to make Pharisaeer Kaffee

Like with other coffee cocktails, the paramount consideration is the type of coffee to utilize. According to Perfect Brew, a range of coffee methods work, but a well-pulled double shot of espresso offers the best flavor and mouthfeel. Next, it's all about rum selection, with this recipe favoring top-shelf white rum. The assembly comes together much easier than procuring the ingredients. After a double shot of coffee is poured into a cup, it's mixed with a tablespoon of white sugar and an ounce of rum. Then, the cream, which is hand-whipped, is placed on top. Stirring the drink is discouraged; it's meant to be sipped through the foam.

Of course, there are many variations — some incorporate whiskey rather than the sugarcane spirit. However, the most common base is dark rum, with I Like Germany recommending a more intensely flavored, boozy Jamaican interpretation of the liquor. Remember to adjust and tinker with sugar ratios; the sweetness should perfectly counterbalance the other two selections. After a few go-arounds, you'll have your own perfected variation — the perfect post-dinner drink to enjoy alongside some German spiced cookies.