When our 2023 U.S. Coffee in Good Spirits champion Sam Schroeder concocted the Coffee Sherry, we all knew it was an instant winner: a smoothly-sweet, sumptuous coffee cocktail worthy of a romantic après-dinner lounge. Then along came Reyna Callejo, who just last weekend secured first place in the 2024 Coffee in Good Spirits Qualifiers. Hardly one to leave good enough alone, she’s taken Sam’s Coffee Sherry and done the unthinkable: removed all the booze.
Instead, she’s crafted her very own NA sherry and absinthe (yes, from scratch), mixing them in place of their alcoholic counterparts. And the result is, stunningly, almost better than the original.
To make this at home, you'll need a few special ingredients (linked below), a sous vide device, and the willpower to temporarily transform your kitchen into a mini cocktail laboratory (because let's be honest—Reyna's recipe is no slouch). You'll also need some great coffee—preferably a high-quality natural process for its richly fruity flavors. We're making the Coffee Sherry with our Jose Landaverde Gesha Natural, which lends subtly tropical notes of pineapple and coconut milk to this velvety drink.
Rather go with the full-alcohol version? Find that recipe here.
The N/A Coffee Sherry
Note: this recipe calls for made-from-scratch No-loroso Sherry, lime oleo syrup, fig & cherry PX (Pedro Ximenez) syrup, Luxardo syrup, and N/Absinthe. Proceed to those recipes below before starting on the cocktail recipe.
N/A Coffee Sherry recipe
100mls brewed coffee (1:12 ratio; we recommend a natural-process such as Jose Landaverde Gesha Natural)
10mls Lyre's Dark Cane Spirit
10mls No-loroso Sherry (recipe to follow)
10mls lime oleo syrup (recipe to follow)
5mls fig & cherry PX syrup (recipe to follow)
Combine all ingredients in a coupe glass and set aside.
To float on top:
5g Luxardo syrup (recipe to follow)
5g N/Absinthe (recipe to follow)
40g heavy cream
Shake to whip, using a spring to aerate. Buy the heaviest cream you can find (40% is ideal) to get the silkiest, softest foam. Float over the top of the spirit base, then serve with a Luxardo cherry (the only correct cocktail cherry).
No-loroso Sherry (difficulty: 5)
500g white grape juice
50g golden raisins
50g toasted oats
50g dried apricots
Combine ingredients in a large jar and let steep for 2 hours at room temperature . DO NOT HEAT. Strain solids and move to part 3.
9g Rishi Quince Eucalyptus Tea
7.5g Rishi Peach Blossom White Tea
25g dried cherries
25g golden raisins
25g dried apricots
40g orange peel
Combine ingredients in a vacuum bag and set sous vide to 140ºF. Sous vide for 1 hour, then strain solids and move to part 3.
450g Part 1
450g Part 2
135g maple syrup
Stir all parts, maple syrup, and salt together. Place in clean container and use within 1 week.
Lime Oleo Syrup (difficulty: 1)
50g lime peel
Muddle peels and sugar together vigorously, and let steep for 24 hours. Strain, then measure the final weight (we got 35g).
Make a rich syrup (2:1 ratio of sugar to water) and combine at a 1:10 ratio with lime oleo concentrate (eg. for 35g of lime oleo concentrate, add 350g of rich syrup for proper dilution).
Fig & Cherry PX Sherry Syrup (difficulty: 2)
200g brown sugar
25g dried cherries
30g dried mission figs
1g crushed nutmeg (crushed from whole, not ground)
3g crushed black cardamom
Add all ingredients to a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, covered. Remove from heat, let steep for 1 hour and strain solids.
Luxardo Syrup (difficulty: 1)
1 jar luxardo cherries
Strain 1 jar of luxardo cherries, and weigh the final syrup weight. Transfer cherries back to jar and store in refrigerator.
Divide syrup weight by 2, and add water (eg. if 150g syrup, add 75g water). Bring to a boil in small pot and remove from heat immediately. Use within 2 weeks.
N/Absinthe (Difficulty: 3)
20g lemon peel
1 green cardamom pod
200g vegetable glycerine
Combine ingredients in a shallow bowl and place, uncovered, in chamber vacuum sealer and infuse. If not using a chamber vacuum sealer, seal in vacuum-sealed bag and sous-vide for 12 hours at 130F. If none of those options are available, over low heat, combine ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 2 hours.
Strain and discard ingredients. You can add a drop of green food coloring if you want your N/A absinthe to look like its alcoholic counterpart.