Luscious Black Forest Coffee Recipe

Coffee drinkers tend to have specific ways of customizing their drinks, whether they favor a particular type of coffee, coffee maker, milk or dairy alternative, sweetener, or other add-ins. While you may be fairly set in your ways about your daily coffee regimen, there's no reason you shouldn't step outside the box now and then for a special treat. Tasting Table recipe developer Julianne De Witt shares this luscious Black Forest coffee recipe that's on a different level from the ordinary cup of joe you drank this morning. 

Chocolate and cherries seem made for each other, and Black Forest cake is one of the most enduringly popular ways to enjoy the combination. Black Forest cake typically features a chocolate sponge cake soaked in cherry brandy, layered with whipped cream, and garnished with cherries on the top. De Witt describes this recipe as featuring "The flavors of Black Forest cake but in a luscious, adults-only, after-dinner coffee." If you're hosting in the cooler seasons, she adds that it is a great recipe for entertaining around the holidays. This easy recipe lists the measurements for a single mug, making it the perfect solo pick-me-up on a cold evening, but we recommend that you double the recipe and serve it at the end of a romantic dinner for two.

Gather the ingredients for this luscious black-forest coffee

To start, you'll need a lemon wedge and granulated sugar to coat the rim of the mug. Next, for the coffee, you'll need kirsch, crème de cacao, freshly brewed black coffee, and cherry syrup (from jarred Bing cherries). The garnish truly steals the show here, and it features whipped cream, shaved or grated dark chocolate, and Bing cherries. As for the fruit she notes, "I used jarred Bing cherries in syrup but maraschino cherries and their syrup can be used instead."

Step 1: Rub lemon on the rim of a mug

Rim a heat resistant mug with a lemon wedge.

Step 2: Dip the rim in sugar

Dip the rim into the sugar.

Step 3: Add kirsch to the mug

Pour the kirsch into the mug.

Step 4: Add crème de cacao

Pour the crème de cacao into the mug.

Step 5: Add the coffee and the cherry syrup

Add the coffee and top with the cherry syrup.

Step 6: Stir the coffee

Stir to combine.

Step 7: Garnish and serve the coffee

Top with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and a cherry and serve.

Why do these liqueurs work so well for a luscious Black Forest coffee?

To transform a classic cake recipe into a delicious hot beverage to sip, De Witt breaks down the flavor components of the dessert and sources them in spirited ingredients. "I use kirsch and crème de cacao to mimic the flavors of cherry and chocolate in this coffee," she explains. Kirsch is common in the Black Forest region of Germany and surrounding areas of Switzerland and Austria. "Kirsch is a clear brandy made from distilled Morello cherries," De Witt clarifies. While you may have seen cherry brandy on liquor store shelves, she points out, "It's different from cherry brandy which is brandy infused with cherries." Nevertheless, if your shopping expedition doesn't lead you to kirsch, "Cherry brandy or even cherry vodka can be used as a substitute."

For the chocolate element, De Witt uses Crème de cacao. As she explains, "Crème de cacao is a liqueur flavored with cacao (chocolate bean) and vanilla. It comes in white or dark." For this recipe, you can use either. You could also experiment with your favorite chocolate liqueur. Cherry syrup deepens the cherry flavor, and the final whipped cream, shaved chocolate, and cherry topping highlight key elements of the dessert. You can make chocolate shavings or curls with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, or you can use a microplane to grate a chocolate bar over the whipped cream.

When can you serve this luscious Black Forest coffee?

If you're already a fan of Black Forest cake, the idea of one more way to enjoy the classic flavors is undoubtedly enticing. However, before you turn this coffee into a liquor-infused milkshake, De Witt remarks, "I think the flavors lend themselves more to a hot drink." This is the perfect rich and luscious beverage to enjoy on a cool winter day, to warm you up from the inside out.

Considering the alcohol content, you're not likely to sip this Black Forest coffee first thing in the morning (except perhaps on Christmas day), but there are plenty of occasions to enjoy it. De Witt shares, "I like to serve this as an after-dinner drink in place of dessert," which sounds like a perfect plan considering its inspiration. A mug of this sweet, spirited, and flavorful coffee would make the perfect ending to a cozy Valentine's Day dinner for two. Whether you serve it after dinner, in the late afternoon to warm you up, or as an après-ski after a blustering day on the slopes, it's guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Luscious Black Forest Coffee Recipe
4.9 from 19 ratings
Luscious Black Forest coffee, a spirited version of the popular chocolate and cherry cake, is the perfect winter warmer to enjoy after a romantic dinner.
Prep Time
Cook Time
coffee with whipped cream topping
Total time: 5 minutes
  • For the rim
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • granulated sugar
  • For the coffee
  • ½ ounce kirsch
  • 1 ounce crème de cacao
  • 1 cup freshly brewed black coffee
  • ½ ounce cherry syrup, from jarred bing cherries
  • For the garnish
  • whipped cream
  • dark chocolate, shaved or grated
  • bing cherries
  1. Rim a heat resistant mug with a lemon wedge.
  2. Dip the rim into the sugar.
  3. Pour the kirsch into the mug.
  4. Pour the crème de cacao into the mug.
  5. Add the coffee and top with the cherry syrup.
  6. Stir to combine.
  7. Top with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and a cherry and serve.
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