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Stirring It Up: Make Sam's "Hot Mama" Cocktail at Home

Posted by Lori Bailey on

Our co-founder Sam Schroeder returned from Portland with a shiny first-place trophy from the U.S. Coffee in Good Spirits Championship... and half a mind to take a couple days off after a very long weekend. So, after some well-earned rest, he was gracious enough to meet us back in our Training Lab to chat about what’s next at the World stage of this competition. And to make one of his winning cocktail recipes: a custom creation that he's whimsically dubbed the "Hot Mama."

For competition, Sam was tasked with mixing up three cocktails: two of his own creation, one hot, one cold; and, last but not least, a drink of the committee's choosing. As for the committee, they seemed in the mood for several rounds of solid Irish Coffees, which Sam did his part in delivering to the judging panel. Leaving him the challenge of creating, practicing, and perfecting two signature beverages to blow the judges away.

Sam preparing his winning cocktail from the U.S. Coffee in Good Spirits Championship

For Worlds? He'll have to do it all over again—but halfway across the world in Taipei, Taiwan, amidst the best of the best from across the globe. And he'll face the added challenge of a third, Chopped-style round in which the panel presents him with a surprise set of ingredients with which he will have to get creative to concoct a spontaneous signature cocktail. He'll do this as only the second representative from the United States to ever grace the World stage, facing off against the top competitors from countries who have participated in this competition for years. Daunting, yes—but Sam sees this as a rare chance to go all-out and shoot for the moon. "If I'm going to go, I'm going to go to win," he said, the nose-tingling heat of his warm coffee cocktail wafting across the table.

Sam floating the cream layer on his signature hot cocktail

Out of the three drinks Sam made for Coffee in Good Spirits, this was his personal favorite: the Hot Mama, which blends top-quality, freshly-brewed coffee with tequila (preferably Patrón Reposado), pineapple rum, and maraschino liqueur. And the best part, according to Sam? The maraschino-absinthe cream, which he gently floats on top to create an elegantly-layered drink. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, it's just what we want to be drinking to drive off the lingering chill of these late-spring evenings.

 Sam mixing his signature cocktail from U.S. Coffee in Good Spirits

As for the perfect coffees to pair with this recipe? Sam recommends our Ethiopia Bombe Natural, which boasts beautiful flavors of tropical fruit, citrus, and maple syrup. Or our Maria Flor Anaerobic Natural, which has a wine-like complexity supporting notes of sweet cherry and smooth chocolate.

Ready to make it? Gather your ingredients, get out your cocktail glasses, and let's go!

The Hot Mama


240 ml strong Coffee (brewed at a ratio of 1:14 coffee:water) 
45 ml pineapple rum (such as Plantation)
30 ml reposado tequila (such as Patrón Reposado)
30 ml maraschino liqueur (such as Luxardo Maraschino
For the absinthe maraschino soft whip:
150 ml heavy whipping cream
30 ml maraschino liqueur
2 dashes absinthe
Make the cocktail:
- Brew the coffee, using a ratio of 1:14 coffee:water to get a strong cup.
- In a pitcher or carafe, stir together the coffee, pineapple rum, tequila, and maraschino liqueur.
- Pour into warmed Irish coffee glasses or coupes.
Make the absinthe-maraschino whip:
- Pour the heavy whipping cream into one half of a cocktail shaker.
- Add the maraschino and absinthe.
- Whip, either using the shaker or with a milk frothing wand. The mixture should be soft and thickened, but not whipped to stiff peaks.
- Layer on top of the drink.
And, finally, enjoy!

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