Friday, 2 October 2015

Mr Black - Cold Press Coffee Liqueur

Word on the street is that Mr Black has arrived.

Don't worry, you don't need to don your detective hat, we're not talking codenames; Mr Black is an Australian cold press coffee liqueur that's just landed in the UK.

We've feautured cold brew coffee before - check out our posts here - and although it's super trendy, you don't have to be a bearded hipster to get involved. Oh, and FYI it was International Coffee Day this week, so this is all very apt!

“In Australia the only thing we take more seriously than the quality of our drinks is the quality of our coffee,” says co-founder Tom Baker. So you guessed it, they married the two together in a bottle and made Mr Black, quickly finding themselves as one of the nation’s fastest growing spirits companies.

"It's your morning coffee, for when your morning starts at midnight."

Mr Black is not your average coffee liqueur; entirely cold extracted, it contains no added flavourings, caramels or vanillas. It’s a purist's dream; bitter and dark, with an unadulterated caffeine kick. A swish shot of coffee with a brilliantly boozy edge that will 100% get you hooked upon first sip... And luckily for me, I didn't have to share a single drop of my little sample bottles because my other half absolutely hates coffee. That said, they still didn't hang around for very long - I couldn't stop myself - give it to me on a drip!

Cold press coffee is a slow process, but this makes sure that there's maximum flavour without the acrid bitterness you can often get with espressos. Single origin Arabica beans sourced from Ethiopia, Brazil and Papua New Guinea, are roasted, ground, and then extracted over 12 hours (at a low 23 degrees if you want to get technical). This gives the coffee a much richer, rounder mouthfeel, and blended with pure Australian grain spirit, the dark, delicious liquid is just as addictive as your regular 'Cup of Joe' - only it's 25%!

Colour: Black ink
Aroma: Overwhelming fresh espresso
Body: Bitter yet balanced. Chocolate and caramel. Fine citrus edge
Finish: Toffee. Marmalade. Coffee ‘til the end

Before we say any more, I think a special mention to the striking bottle needs to happen. Although I've not seen it in the flesh, the sexy black and white-ness really makes you take notice. Then on the back is a secret illustration from Australian artist and tattooist Dale Bigeni, which details an inquisitive owl design (maybe now you could adopt a detective hat). The further you explore the depths of Mr Black, the more the bottle design is revealed... Now that's an excuse to drink up if ever I heard one!

Whilst it's utterly exhilarating on it's own (over ice with a little citrus twist), Mr Black is also a dab hand at adding an extra oomph to cocktails. Blend it with spirits, adding a complex coffee element, or make it the star of the show; both new and classic cocktails can easily take on a bit of caffeine couture.

My samples from Love Drinks enabled me to concoct two cocktails, as well as drinking a bit neat, so I had to choose from 'The Mr Black Guide To Better Living' recipe booklet wisely. First off, a no brainer really; Black Negroni. Developed by co-founder/head distiller Phillip Moore, old world Italian aperitif meets new world coffee liqueur; a beautifully bitter bastard that could perk you up just as much as it's bold booziness could send you to sleep. Just ACE.

Secondly, the more unusual El Jefe (created at Papi Chulo in Sydney). Coffee and tequila aren't a partnership I'm that accustomed to, but sharpened with lemon juice and balanced with agave syrup, it made a wonderful daytime/early evening cocktail. It slipped down all too easily, and its frothy top made it feel a bit like a 'sour' just without the use of any egg whites!

You can find all the recipes below, but as Mr Black states, "if you like coffee, drinking and having a good time, we'll get along just fine." Here here!


Black Negroni
  • 25ml Mr Black Cold Press Coffee Liqueur
  • 25ml Gin
  • 15ml Campari
  • 10ml Sweet Vermouth
Stir with lots of ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a rocks glass and top with a grapefruit twist.

Cold Press ‘Espresso’ Martini
  • 25ml Mr Black Cold Press Coffee Liqueur
  • 25ml Vodka
  • 35ml cold brew coffee
  • 10ml Simple Syrup
Shake vigorously and serve in latte glass or coupe. Garnish with coffee bean.

Flat White Russian
  • 25ml Mr Black Cold Press Coffee Liqueur
  • 25ml Vodka
  • Espresso
  • Steamed milk
Pull espresso shot. Add Mr Black, vodka and steamed milk into a paper takeaway cup and garnish with a take-away lid.

The Ryeball
  • 40ml Mr Black Cold Press Coffee Liqueur
  • 25ml Rye Whisky
  • 12.5ml Campari
  • 1 dash of The Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitter
Stir down ingredients in mixing glass. Strain into rocks glass onto a lump of ice and garnish with a citrus twist.

El Jefe
  • 25ml Mr Black Cold Press Coffee Liqueur
  • 25ml Tequila
  • 40ml of Cold Brew Coffee
  • 10ml Agave syrup 
  • 3ml Lemon Juice
Fill lowball glass with ice. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass. Top with a citrus twist and serve with straws.

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