Cold brew coffee for a summer cocktail

Cold brew is key to a coffee cocktail

Historically, coffee and booze played nice in mug-worthy drinks. But hot beverages are hardly appropriate during the year's sweatiest months.

Coffee lovers have long buzzed about the cold-brew method, dubbing it the ideal process for iced coffee. Now, distillers and bartenders are catching on, too: A spate of new, delicious coffee liqueurs have joined the trailblazers, and each uses cold-brewing to extract optimum flavor.

The generally excellent distillers at House Spirits in Portland, Oregon, have released an excellent liqueur–made with Stumptown beans, natch. And neighboring New Deal Distillery has two coffee liqueurs–each made from a different roast.

The process is simple to replicate at home with the Toddy Cold Brew system ($38; click here to buy). Substitute high-proof vodka or rum for water, and add sugar to the final product for a liqueur that matches beautifully with everything from bourbon to ice cream (click here to see the recipe).

And caffeinated booze is getting play among bartenders as well: In the coming weeks in New York, bartenders are pairing with baristas in a competition to create an ideal coffee cocktail.