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May 23, 2014 10:17 PM

Ginger and Coffee

Hello, All. What are the preferred liqueurs when it comes to ginger and coffee? These are niggling and glaring absences on my bar and I'd like to fill them to satisfy my compulsion for completion. Do the majors (Domaine de Canton, King's, Kahlua) reign supreme or are there superior craft versions (that don't cost $20/375ml)?

While we're at it, what are your favorite cocktails utilizing either (or both?!) liqueurs?

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  1. I much prefer Trader Vic's Kona Coffee Liqueur to Kahlua, I find it to have a much more authentic coffee taste. It costs about the same or less than kahlua, at around $15-17 for a 750 ml.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ncyankee101

      I didn't even think my local store had any Trader Vic's liqueurs until I checked online a moment ago. I had never noticed them. Unfortunately, no Kona.

    2. I'm still looking for the best coffee liqueur. I've been disappointed lately. Kahlua went down the tubes recently. They keep saying they haven't changed the recipe buts that's nonsense. It just doesn't have that thick consistency and rich coffee taste anymore. I don't care much for the Patron coffee. Tia Maria is ok, but still not what I am looking for. I have made my own and it's been better than most commercial ones. Basically just concentrated coffee syrup with or without neutral spirit added.

      Domaine de Canton is the best ginger liqueur I've had so far. But, I prefer homemade ginger syrup to use in drinks. I make it using fresh, young, ginger and juicing in a juicer, than making syrup by adding equal parts by volume of sugar, and canning it.

      7 Replies
      1. re: JMF

        As much of a fan as I am of homemade, I can never use it fast enough. The shelf-stability of commercial products means there's one less bar item to worry about. Already mindful of fortified wines, beers, sodas, syrups, and fruit juices, I am always hesitant to add another spinning plate to my... plate.

        I am glad to see that Domaine de Canton has your sanction. I debated between a bottle of that and Snap at New Year's and went with Art in the Age's product because I like their philosophy. My mistake was in assuming it was a ginger liqueur. Naturally, I paid for my naïveté. Instead of a fresh ginger bite, it has a mellow, spiced-dessert complexity. Not a substitute and harder to mix.

        1. re: alphanumeric

          Shelf stability, yes, I've spent the past six years working out shelf stable, commercial, but natural syrups and liqueurs. Small batch for the home or bar/restaurant, and large batch for one of my next enterprises.

        2. re: JMF

          Creme de Gingembre - like ginger ale
          Canton - like mild ginger beer
          King's Ginger - like spicy ginger beer
          Snap (I'm told) - like powdered ginger (or a gingersnap)

          Of the first three, I prefer King's. It stands up in a cocktails without having to use too much.


          1. re: EvergreenDan

            Funny, I find King's to be far less potent than Canton. I'm almost done with my first bottle, and for drinks I formulated with Canton I've had to use an extra 50% to get an adequate bite. It's also not as sweet as Canton, which could be a good thing, as the extra 50% doesn't mess with the drink's balance. When this bottle is done I'll go back to Canton.

            Snap tastes like gingersnap cookies macerated in Everclear. I've found no good application for it as of yet.

            1. re: EvergreenDan

              Ran out of King's so I though I would try Giffard Ginger of the Andes. More expensive than Canton. Nice ginger profile and reasonable bite. Better? Dunno.

              Since DSP (whom I trust) tells me that he finds King's to be less potent than Canton, I'm not confident that I can compare them by memory. Since I will never have all the bottles open at once, I may never know. Someone needs to sponsor a ginger-off.

              I use ginger liqueur exclusively in cocktails. Since it is competing with other flavors, I'm looking for the most potent ginger profile, the most alcohol, the least sugar and water. This way it adds ginger without changing the rest of the drink too much. For sipping (really?), you'd want something more subtle, I think.


            2. re: JMF

              Have you tried the St George NOLA Coffee Liqueur? I have heard very good things.

              Bittermens also makes one, but I've not heard anything about it. None the less, I would expect quality products from both companies.

              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                I have to re-visit Bittermens coffee. I think I remember it as being very fresh brewed coffee tasting and not too sweet, but I can't find my notes and I tasted it six months ago.