Coffee Bourbon & Boozy Mocha Brownies

This is it: the first truly alcoholic post on the blog. I know I’ve mentioned my bar work here before, and I even put up a recipe for bourbon-spiked cookies a while back, but so far this blog has stayed mostly teetotaler-friendly. Not a bad thing, necessarily, but infusing spirits requires a similar skill-set to baking, and it’s fun, too. So here’s my first infusion recipe: coffee-infused bourbon. I stumbled upon a recipe back in December, made a few tweaks, let the stuff sit for a couple weeks, and ended up with something delicious. It’s very strong and pleasantly bitter, but with enough vanilla sweetness to soften the blow.

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I had grand intentions of using the infusion for espresso Manhattans or Old Fashioneds, but in the end my friends and I drank all of it neat at a party. (Which was also a great use of it, don’t get me wrong.) Luckily, not before I managed to use some in a tray of amazing boozy brownies. Both recipes are below. The coffee bourbon takes a couple of weeks; the brownies take less than an hour.

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Virgin Apple Cider

So I’m doing this crazy thing called Dry July, where you give up all alcohol for a month. To be honest, I thought it would be harder than it has been, seeing as I work in a bar and all. My only problem is that when I feel like drinking something other than water or tea, I don’t really know what to do. I like coffee, but I can only have so many flat whites a day, and I don’t drink juice or soda or anything like that. And so, I had the brilliant idea to make virgin apple cider.

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Every single person I spoke to about this gave me the same blank stare. “You can’t drink cider,” they said, and when I insisted that in the US we have non-alcoholic cider, they shook their heads and told me that I was talking about apple juice. And so naturally I made an enormous batch of my cider and made everyone drink it so they would know what I was talking about. And almost everyone asked for the recipe.

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