Cocktail Recipes

Spiked Vanilla Latte

Starbucks continues its march toward world domination by dipping its far-reaching, coffee stained fingers into the spirits market. A while back they released two liqueurs – one coffee based (obviously), the other, cream based. I recently had a chance to try the cream liqueur.

Normally, I wouldn’t have much interest in such a product. My wife, however, is not one to be scared away by corporate branding. She recently picked up a Starbucks Cream Liqueurcouple bottles on sale. I’ve been on a major coffee kick lately, so I gave it a try.

I found the liqueur to be too thick and rich on its own. I rummaged through our makeshift liquor cabinet and kitchen to find something to mix it with to thin it out a bit. What I found was day-old coffee and Smirnoff Vanilla Twist vodka. Anyway, after some minor deliberation on proportions, here’s what I came up with:

2 parts Starbucks cream liqueur
2 parts chilled day-old coffee
2 parts vanilla vodka

Start with some ice in a rocks glass. Pour the vodka first, then the liqueur, then the coffee. Stir it up and enjoy. Three parts stimulant, three parts depressant. Those proportions are really approximations, so tinker with them all you want. It’s a cousin of the White Russian and Mudslide, with some different flavors highlighted. By the way, the coffee doesn’t really have to be day-old, I’m just telling you what I used.

I naively thought it was the first cocktail I’d ever invented (or at least tweaked enough to be considered new), but when doing a little fact checking for this blog post I found a nearly identical recipe at Starbucks very own website. They call it a “Vanilla Latte,” so I stole their name and added the “Spiked” because I use more vodka… and it sounds cooler.

I figure you could easily use either of the classic, creamy liqueurs – Bailey’s or Kahlua – in the drink, but I was using what was on hand. The liqueur has the distinct taste of Starbucks coffee, so if you’re a dedicated soldier in the Starbucks army, you should consider giving it a try.


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