9 Fall Coffee Cocktails That Are Better Than Espresso Martinis

Caffeinated booze that bucks the trend.

Mexican coffee at Residents Cafe gets a kick from tequila, mezcal, and chili. Photograph by Hawkeye Johnson.

Espresso martinis were all the rage last year—and let’s be honest, they’re still having a moment—but caffeinated booze isn’t limited to the trendy coupes. Here are nine spots for spiked coffee drinks to check out this fall.

Mexican coffee at Residents Cafe
1306 18th St., NW
Consider your step pepped after this cocktail, which combines cold brew, Patron coffee liqueur, tequila, mezcal, and an extra kick from ancho Chile and cinnamon—all with a touch of cream to finish. The Dupont cafe will launch a new seasonal patio theme soon with more hot options.

Autumn whip deliciousness at McLellan’s Retreat
2031 Florida Ave., NW
The witty barkeeps at this Dupont tavern came up with an excuses-themed cocktail menu for fall. Our favorite: “Alarm didn’t go off,” a boozy version of an Einspänner (a Viennese coffee with whipped cream). Coffee-infused vodka is topped with house-made, pumpkin-esque spiced “autumn whip.”

Corn-y coffee at Royal
501 Florida Ave., NW
Harvest season calls for an “Abasolo Gold” cocktail from this LeDroit Park cafe/bar. The concoction blends Mexican heritage corn whiskey and newly released Nixta Elote Licor—a toasty corn liqueur, the world’s first—from a distillery near Mexico City. Cold brew gives the drink a caffeine boost, and it gets a creamy note from Coco Lopez.

The Absolo Gold cocktail at Royal with Mexican whiskey, corn liqueur, and cold brew. Photograph courtesy of Royal

All the caffeinated booze at Duke’s
Dupont Circle, Woodley Park, and Foggy Bottom locations
Drinkers will be fully fueled after bottomless boozy coffee and tea drinks from Duke’s DC gastropubs. On tap: hot toddies, Irish coffees, bourbon-vanilla sweet teas, and yes, espresso martinis. The bottomless deal is offered from 3 to 6 PM for $26 within a 90-minute limit.

Mocha-rita at Urban Roast
916 G St., NW (suite C-2)
Leave it to this hybrid coffee shop and cocktail bar in Penn Quarter to create a full “bar-ista” menu of caffeinated, boozy options. Classic coffee drinks and cocktails are combined in creations like the “mocha-rita,” a tequila-spiked mocha with cocoa bitters. We’re also tempted by the vodka infused “caramel macchi-tini.”

An energetic Old Fashioned at The Freshman
2011 Crystal Dr., Arlington
Restaurateur Nick Freshman’s all-day cafe in Crystal City pours a new take on the old fashioned. Rye whiskey is stirred with a house-made espresso syrup using local Swing’s coffee and bitters. It’s served over an iced coffee sphere that slowly melts into the glass.

An ice coffee sphere gives the Freshman old fashioned an extra buzz. Photograph by LeadingDC

Byzantine latte at Melina
905 Rose Ave., North Bethesda
The Cava team’s upscale Greek restaurant at Pike & Rose offers a variety of after-dinner sips, including a spiked Greek coffee. We’re tempted by the comfort of a Byzantine latte on a cold day, made potent with honey-cinnamon brandy.

Buzzbomb negroni at Last Call Bar
1301-A, 4th St., NE
Mixologist Rachel Sergi’s riff on the Italian cocktail will get you going thanks to Jameson cold brew added to the traditional mix of Campari and gin. Tea drinkers can also get a buzz from a London Bridge Manhattan made with Earl Grey-infused vermouth.

The Dude’s Morning at Silver
3404 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 7150 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda
The upscale diner offers several spiked coffee creations, both hot and cold. We like the sound of this morning warmer for fall, which draws on a white Russian (and The Big Lebowski). Local Compass Coffee is mixed with vodka and Kahlua for a creamy sip, and topped with fresh whipped cream.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.