John the Revelator + coffee infused bourbon.

Who’s that writing?

John the Revelator.

I’ve recently become very fond of the combination of Suze and Amaro Montenegro. The marriage of the gentian bitterness of the Suze and the sweetness of the Montenegro play a great supporting role to quite a few base spirits – which I’m slowly working through to identify particularly good candidates. One that was really a revelation was some coffee infused bourbon that I’d made as an experiment and hadn’t yet found a home for. Time out while we make some of that:

Coffee infused bourbon.

I was very pleased with the way my tea infused rum turned out and a logical progression was to turn to coffee. Could we pull off a similar trick with that? Coffee is, of course, bitter, so a spirit with a little natural sweetness was the logical choice. And we’d already done rum so bourbon was going to be the way to go. The good news is that this is even easier. Put 300ml (10oz) of bourbon whisky in a clean jar. Fill a 2oz (60ml) jigger with whole dark roasted coffee beans and chuck them in the jar too. Wait 3 hours, shaking or stirring a few times if possible. Strain. Done. See told ya it was easy. Now what was I writing?

John the Revelator.

So 2 parts of our coffee bourbon and a part each of Suze and Montenegro is getting pretty close to something good. If I have a weakness it’s firing a couple of dashes of orange bitters at everything I see but, as usual, it seems to tie the whole room the other ingredients together. Stir with ice yada, yada, yada – you know what to do by now. The name? Well what was playing on the stereo?

John the Revelator*.

1.5oz / 45ml coffee infused bourbon (see text).

0.75oz / 22ml Suze.

0.75oz / 22ml Amaro Montenegro.

2 dashes of orange bitters.

Stir with ice and strain into a DOF glass containing a chunk (or ball) of clear ice. Can also be served “up”. Garnish with an orange twist.

Toast Blind Willie Johnson or any of the thousands of others who sang about this cocktail.

*He wrote the book of the seven seals.


It has recently come to my attention that Suze has two different formulations which vary slightly in strength and sweetness. The recipe above is based on the one sold in the EU and bottled at 15%ABV. If using the 20% export version (which I understand contains more sugar) you may need to make a slight adjustment to the  quantity. I can’t tell you exactly by how much but let your taste buds be your guide.


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