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Photo: Brian Quinn

Arriving in the French Quarter for the 10th annual Tales of the Cocktail festival, with the thick heat and humidity in full force, I was ready to find respite and a good drink from a historic establishment. Luckily for me, Napoléon House, a hundred-year-old bar, was around the corner and serving up a surprising new addition to their bar menu: the Café Napoléon.

Though coffee cocktails, with an Irish coffee being the most well known, have long delivered that double-barrel of both a caffeinated and spirited kick, it’s not always easy to find a compelling coffee-based drink. My favorite such cocktail is the Dominicana, Sasha Petraske’s variation on the White Russian, involving aged rum, coffee liqueur, and a cream float. It’s definitely a delicious closer to the night. However, the original Coffee Cocktail is also a solid, but more cold-weather choice, employing an egg yolk, marrying the port, cognac, simple syrup and nutmeg with a eggnog feel.

The Café Napoléon has a more citrusy note, which is ideal for warmer-weather. It’s served on ice with equal parts cognac-based Mandarine Napoléon, a Belgian orange-flavored liqueur, and Bittermens New Orleans Coffee Liqueur, a chicory, Taza cocoa nibs, vanilla, and coffee liqueur created with the help of Brigade Coffee, a small batch roaster in NOLA, that will change seasonally, depending on where the beans can be sourced from. An easy drink to make and worth the effort in seeking out these liqueurs locally, or online, to make for that perfect night cap. Or perhaps a start to your day, if you happen to be in New Orleans this week.