The Easiest Way To Make A Boozy Iced Caramel Coffee

Making your go-to morning caramel iced coffee at home is substantially cheaper than hitting up your fave local coffee shop every day. News flash: With the boozy version we're talking about today, you can save on your late night bar tab, too.

Sweet, savory caramel is a natural flavor match for rich, earthy, bitter coffee, and the easiest way to make a boozy iced caramel coffee is with one do-it-all ingredient. Forget the syrup; it's all about caramel flavored vodka. Start with plain cold brew, or brew a pot of regular drip coffee ahead of time, transfer it to a sealed jar, and thoroughly chill it in the fridge for a few hours. From there, simply combine the two ingredients — coffee and a shot of caramel vodka — in a rocks glass over ice and stir. That's it!

One of the best parts about this boozy bevy is its potential for customization. You can make your iced coffee as sweet, not sweet, strong, or weak as you like. We suggest starting with equal parts caramel vodka and iced coffee as a jumping-off point. For a thicker mouthfeel, stir in some of your tried-and-true flavored coffee creamer or a splash of heavy cream. If you prefer a plant-based milk substitute, creamier varieties like cashew, soy, or oat milk would work especially well here.

The unsung power of caramel vodka

The brand of spirit you select will also determine your cocktail's flavor. Smirnoff Kissed Caramel vodka is on the sweeter side (and wicked budget-friendly.) If you prefer your caramel a little saltier, Effen and Stoli both make killer salted caramel varieties with savory burnt caramel, toffee, and vanilla notes. Pinnacle makes a sweet-salty version that sits right in the middle.

Even though we're specifying an iced drink, this boozy treat would also be delicious served hot. (Step aside, Bailey's; there's a new coffee superstar in town.) Although, if the iced version is more your style, we do have one pro tip to offer: To avoid over-dilution with regular ice, if you have some extra prep time, make a quick batch of ice cubes from frozen cold brew or frozen cream. For a hot version, feel free to stir in a spoonful of homemade salted caramel sauce (which takes less than 20 minutes to batch up, using our recipe).

This caffeinated cocktail is a killer pick-me-up on dog-tired weekends, or as an evening digestif that'll stave off an impending after-dinner food coma. As an added bonus, that bottle of caramel vodka will make a useful addition to your home bar for other drinks. Use it to add a sweet touch to your next espresso martini, or substitute it for bourbon in a Mississippi Mudslide. You could even add it straight into a mug of hot apple cider when the leaves start to turn.