Sip-Worthy Coffee Cocktails, Ranked

Coffee cocktails are perfect for giving fans of java and mixed drinks their favorite pours in a single glass. The right type of coffee has a tendency to add depth and character to even simple blends of spirits, while the right form of alcohol can bring out dimensions in coffee you won't taste at the breakfast table. Though coffee-infused liquor is a tricky way to combine the two into a single-spirited swig, adding other elements like mixers and flavor enhancers can help make delicious connections between both beverages.

Rather than trying every coffee cocktail, we thought it would be easier if we defined the ones that work best and did a bit of drink-ish detective work. We've gathered a list of our favorite coffee cocktails and ranked them from worst to best, though they're all pretty fantastic. You can play master mixologist and try to recreate them for yourself or ask for them at your favorite watering hole and see how well the bartender fares. Give them all a try. No matter where you start, you're in for a delicious double buzz — one from the joe and one from the juice.

12. Mudslide

More of a milkshake made with a generous pour of alcohol, the Mudslide has all the sugary fun ice cream fans could ask for in a coffee-and-booze-infused chocolate treat. Though the origins are as hazy as the drink in the glass, it's possible that a customer at a bar called The Wreck was served a White Russian with Irish cream liqueur replacing heavy cream in the recipe, ramping up the creamy sweetness. It's equally likely that Bailey's created the drink in the 1970s as a way to promote their booze. A drink with mythology is a sure winner with us.

Making a Mudslide requires a formula that can be easily committed to memory: 1 ounce each of coffee liqueur and vodka, plus 1 ½ ounces each of Irish cream and heavy cream, go into the glass. A drizzle of chocolate syrup makes a theme-appropriate garnish, as do chocolate shavings. You can also add in a few scoops of ice cream in place of heavy cream, turning the drink into a dessert. The possibility is a bit sweet for our tastes, so the Mudslide makes a slippery drop to the bottom of the glass in our ranking.

11. Dalgona Coffee Cocktail

The super-fluffy sorcery of Dalgona coffee took TikTok by storm, introducing the café set to their new favorite way of enjoying high-octane brew. No matter how internet users like to believe they discovered something unique with this cloud-like concoction, the wondrous whipped coffee actually arose in Korea in the 1960s and was popularized by actor Jung Il-woo, who compared the taste to a popular candy called Dalgona. It kept a pretty low profile until digital exposure took it viral.

Once the coffee became a web celebrity, a cocktail version arrived to entertain a more grown-up audience. The process for turning coffee into a cocktail incorporates 1 ½ ounces of the coffee liqueur into 2 teaspoons of sugar, mixed with 3 tablespoons of instant coffee. This mixture is frothed to Dalgona perfection, then fluffed onto two glasses filled with your favorite milk and a dash more of Kahlúa. You aren't required to share this whipped wonder with a friend or loved one, but if you happen to have someone nearby who loves coffee and liquor as much as you do, invite them and call it a party.

10. Bourbon Cold Brew

Bourbon and coffee are a flavor duo tailor-made for cocktail romance. When the smoky-oaky essence of bourbon merges with the roasty-toasty personality of the coffee, these two beloved beverages become something greater than the sum of their parts. The requirement for true bourbon to be distilled in Bourbon County, Kentucky only helps make this drink more specific and special than just coffee dressed up with a shot of whiskey. With cold brew sharing the glass, you get a specialty coffee known for its smooth flavor.

It must be as simple as pouring equal parts bourbon and brew in a bartender's silver bullet and giving it all a solid shake, right? Almost. If you want to use that simple blend as a base for bigger and better-tasting things, balance 1 ¼ ounces of bourbon with 2 ½ ounces of cold brew, then add 1 ounce of heavy cream and ½ ounce each of maple syrup and triple sec. Shake well with ice and pour yourself a sweet, citrusy, creamy beverage that hits all the right notes. Experiment with other liqueurs like amaretto, chocolate, or raspberry to bring coffeehouse charm to your home bar.

9. Boozy Iced Mocha

If you're already prone to enjoying your coffee with a generous splash of chocolate in the glass, you might as well go the whole nine yards and add a little liquor to the concoction, too. Make no mistake: This is not an iced latte but an iced mocha, where chocolate is welcome. This cool and refreshing quaff puts the best of cold coffee, creamy chocolate, and luscious liquor straight into the glass with no excuses. A mix this exciting encourages lovers of iced mocha to make the easy leap from a beverage best enjoyed at a café to a drink better suited for a pool party without spilling a drop.

Combine 2 ounces each of cold espresso and coffee liqueur with 4 ounces of any milk and 4 tablespoons of fudgy syrup. A quick back-and-forth in a drink shaker and you have a cocktail that puts power in the glass. If you're so inclined, you can go the extra mile and garnish with powdered cocoa and whipped cream to recreate a frap-a-riffic experience. It's a familiar flavor with a boozy boost that mocha cravers won't refuse.

8. Long Island Iced Coffee

Long Islanders sure do love boozed-up versions of otherwise mild-mannered beverages. In addition to the iced tea, which has no iced tea whatsoever, there's also a Long Island Iced Coffee, which actually does include coffee, making the sipping situation here both more and less confusing at the same time. The bottom line is that this jolting java cocktail uses a generous amount of liquor with just enough coffee to assert that essential essence that every coffee drink requires.

If a drink recipe were ever easier to follow than this one, we haven't heard of it. Mix 1 ounce each of rum, coffee liqueur, tequila, vodka, and Irish cream into a super-shot of alcohol-laden deliciousness, drop in 4 ounces of coffee, and shake with ice. Pour into a glass and top with whipped cream and cinnamon to maintain the illusion that this is something on the Starbucks secret menu. Even though the name is geographically specific, beverage buffs from all corners of the world should feel free to claim it as their own. Those who happen to be in Long Island are welcome to an extra shot of pride.

7. Mezcal Mocha

The twin spirits of two quintessential Aztec creations, mezcal and chocolate, meet their equal in the essence of coffee with this extraordinarily enjoyable swizzle. The blend is sweet and celebratory enough to be considered a dessert cocktail. Mezcal itself is a variation of agave-based spirits originating in Mexico, a sibling of tequila. For a mezcal mocha, the meeting of so many esteemed flavors in a single beverage is enough to cause a tremor in the hearts of drinkers who favor a touch of sweet mystery in their pours.

To make yourself happy, grab a bottle of Kahlúa (or whichever bottle holds your new favorite coffee liqueur) and add 2 ounces of that to 2 ounces of mezcal and 6 ounces of your most-loved milk in a cold shaker. Drop in a teaspoon of agave nectar for sweetness, add ice, and shake. If you're a sucker for sweeter things, you can pour this enchanted potion into a glass drizzled with chocolate syrup, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon. Don't be surprised if the first sip transports you to another universe entirely — just wait until you take sip number two.

6. Whiskey Maple Coffee

Irish coffee is a welcome old friend on the mixed drink menu. The history of this warming beverage dates back to 1943, when a chef named Joe Sheridan crafted a tasty treat for weary Limerick travelers awaiting their postponed flights. With such a rich heritage, what could possibly be done to give a perennial favorite an upgrade that doesn't anger aficionados by making the drink too ambitious? The obvious answer is adding a hint of maple syrup to bring a soothing softness to the blend.

Here, 4 ounces of coffee is joined in a glass filled with ice by 1 ounce each of whiskey and cream. The twist comes when you drop ½ ounce of real maple syrup in and give it a spin. The light sweetness of the syrup perfectly compliments the sharpness of the whisky and turns the cream into more of a coffee creamer. All told, you have a simple update of a long-enjoyed favorite that's perfect for coffee aficionados with a soft spot for something stronger riding shotgun.

5. Café Amore

Ah, a coffee cocktail that wears its heart on its sleeve — and in its name. With Café Amore, anyone who adores warm European blends with romantic names can achieve true love with this heated tryst between brandy and coffee. This invention is rumored to have originated in Paris, but as with most whispers of lascivious liaisons, the truth cannot be confirmed. What can be confirmed is that the elements on the mixer card for this beauty are classics, offering an elegant variation on coffee cocktails with a surprise flavor that hasn't made our list yet: amaretto.

As for starting up a Café Amore affair for yourself, blend hot espresso in a glass with 1 shot each of amaretto and cognac and finish it off with a spritz of whipped cream. Yes, a set-up like this is totally crying out for chocolate in some form, so add a splash of syrup, shavings, or powder if you feel so inclined. Add a buttery chocolate cookie stick as a garnish, too; we won't tell. Then, settle in for a hot cocktail infused with all the almond-flavored passion your coffee-loving heart can take.

4. Coffee Negroni

The negroni became a viral drink darling when the Sbagliato version featuring a proper pour of Prosecco took over TikTok. This Italian aperitif was born in Milan in the 1860s, long before internet trends made beverages web-famous. The saucy swirl of gin with bitters, sweet vermouth, and a squeeze of orange essence brings its own sophistication to the party, a drink for the grown-ups who know how the world works. Being something of a sophisticate itself, coffee joined in on the conversation, and the coffee negroni came to be.

To achieve a coffee negroni, add ice to a highball glass and pour in 1 ounce of gin, ⅔ ounce each of bitters and sweet vermouth, and ⅓ ounce of coffee liqueur. Garnish is, as ever, a twirl of orange zest given a squeeze into the glass to add its juicy flavor, plus a few coffee beans for a visual kick. Stir with the longest spoon you can find and serve to your favorite dinner party guests while discussing Proust and the nature of the human psyche. Or, just sip it on your patio while you read the paper. We're not judging here.

3. Mexican Coffee

Coffee takes on a slightly different character in Mexican culture, with spices and brown sugar lending layers of complexity to any form of brew. A Starbucks take on the recipe includes cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of cayenne that puts a different kind of heat in the pot. Turning this tempting, traditional formula into a coffee cocktail you'll be eager to sip is as easy as adding 1 ounce of Kahlua and ½ ounce tequila to 6 ounces of your Mexican mix and topping it with fresh whipped cream.

Similar to a Mexican coffee cocktail with a more cosmopolitan spirit, the Carajillo is another drink that twists coffee and alcohol into a single swig that includes a specialized cordial called Licor 43. This liqueur is crafted from a family recipe and uses botanicals and tropical fruits in the distillation process. It's a golden nectar, poured in 2-ounce amounts with 2 ounces of espresso over ice. Steal a secret from iced coffee lovers and use cubes made of espresso to prevent your cocktail from becoming watery as the ice melts. Flavorful tradition makes it easy to rank this one near the top.

2. White Russian

The legacy of the White Russian goes back to the late 1940s when Belgian bartender Gustave Tops created its ancestor, the Black Russian, a splash-about between vodka and coffee liqueur. Sometime in the 1960s, cream was added to the original, giving rise to the White Russian and a whole new way to enjoy coffee and booze. Even the Dude was wise enough to abide by this café-and-cream concoction in "The Big Lebowski."

A three-point turn between the fridge, the coffee maker, and the liquor cabinet will land you squarely in the center of White Russian territory. As the mixology lore goes, 2 ounces of vodka mixed with 1 ounce of coffee liqueur and a generous splash of cream or milk poured over ice is all it takes to craft a smooth, sippable beverage that's as sweet and cool as an autumn evening. Stick with tradition and serve as-is or get groovy and drop in a dash of cinnamon syrup to make the mix even more rapturous. You just can't go wrong. The purity of this blend, combined with its colorful legacy, sends it soaring to the heights of our coffee drink menu.

1. Espresso Martini

No matter if you prefer your martinis shaken or stirred, including espresso in the recipe is sure to create a bond, so to speak. An espresso martini is actually one of the most popular drinks in the U.S., according to Forbes Magazine, which makes it easy to find one at almost any bar you step into. The flavor is sophisticated without being stuffy, and the combination is easy to achieve without the need for too much drink-mixing expertise. Anything that's simple to create and tasty to sip is a sure winner in the coffee cocktail war.

Whether you make yours at home or let your favorite bartender mix one up for you, part of the fantastic formula of an espresso martini is knowing which coffee liqueur is your best choice. Kahlúa is an obvious option, though a bottle like Caffe Borghetti offers a touch of Italian boldness. A prime vodka will pair up properly, as will cold brew concentrate and a dash of simple syrup to sweeten the deal. Mix to make the magic happen and pour into a classic martini glass for a classy coffee cocktail that won't disappoint. There's no better brew to top our list.