Question: Do you like any cold coffee drinks? Have you ever created a new drink at home?
Coffee seltzer, espresso tonic, carbonated cold brew, iced coffee soda — one of these may sound familiar, or maybe this whole sparkling coffee trend is new to you. What is it? Well, it depends who you talk to, but essentially it’s a mix of some kind of coffee and some kind of sparkling drink, and it’s delicious.
If you’ve ever gone to a high-end coffee shop and had a shot of espresso with a sidecar of sparkling water, that’s likely the inspiration for the coffee seltzer drinks we’ve seen trending right now. While recipes have been floating around on the internet for a couple of years, it seems like the dog days of summer have bubbled up the trend again.
Roasters and baristas love to experiment, and many have created their own unique versions of the drink.
“We created a beverage that is some vanilla syrup with S.Pellegrino sparkling water and ice, and then we pour a double shot of our espresso on top,” “And people went bonkers. People love it. We also have a number of customers who really love it without the vanilla syrup, which gives it the sweetness that some customers really enjoy.”
And it’s not just vanilla that makes for a lovely accent to espresso. “We had an espresso honey tonic on our menu” . “We have a very engaged staff that loves to experiment, and we obviously allow that because a lot of good things come out of it.”
Like many of our most innovative creations, coffee seltzers offer a chance for real experimentation.
“We were playing around with the idea of a coffee seltzer, but everything was really bitter”. “We knew we wanted to sweeten it a little bit, but sugar really didn’t just seem like our thing. First we tried sugar. We tried even some mocha powder and things like that. And we really loved the idea of honey in there and just, it hit all the right notes and [turned] into this really pleasing, cool coffee drink that did really well for us.”
Both experts we spoke with had different techniques for mixing their drinks, with Marlette saying, “We start off with honey, then we pour the espresso, then we top it off with tonic water. No ice.”
“I personally do it seltzer first, then some ice, then the espresso on top,” says Higgins. “The alternative way is to do ice first, then the seltzer, then the espresso. But the important thing is to put the espresso last.”
As a fan myself, I make a shot of espresso and let it cool. Then I take an 8-ounce glass, add ice, pour lime or lemon seltzer and top with the shot of espresso.
Whatever your method, it’s a fun drink to play around with at home during the warmer months, and even into fall. The most important thing is to use high-quality ingredients that you love!