Espresso and Tonic Might Be The Refreshing Iced Coffee Drink You've Been Waiting For

Categories: Grind

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Heather Hoch
This could be the iced coffee drink for you, if you can handle its flavor.
On the everlasting quest to switch up my iced coffee routine, a friend recommended that I try tonic and espresso. As a fan of gin and tonic and a fan of black coffee, it seemed like a good option for me. However, its intense, unique flavor definitely isn't for everyone.

See also: 5 Flavored Iced Coffee Drinks You Won't Be Embarrassed to Order

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Heather Hoch
Since Lux serves both espresso drinks and cocktails, it seemed like the most logical place to find what other coffee shops in the country call a "Kaffe Tonic." After speaking with the bartender, he gave me a cup of ice, a bottle of Canada Dry tonic (though most places that serve the drink use Fever Tree), and a shot of espresso. He also warned that he's tried the combination before and it was "not awesome," in his experience.

In fact, almost everyone I told about the drink combination thought it sounded gross, but I still wanted to try it. I figured about two parts tonic water and one part espresso would be a good ratio to dilute the espresso a bit but still retain the coffee flavor.

At first taste, the drink is definitely unlike anything you've had before from an iced coffee drink and probably more closely resembles an amaro spritz. The bittersweet quinine flavor from the tonic added a kick to the espresso, which my coffee companion compared to "coffee with a taser."

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Heather Hoch
Some espresso might have been spilled in making this drink.
However, the combination made sense after a few sips when some of the bitter shock wore off. After all, espresso is traditionally served with a palate cleansing side of soda water. Think of this as an option to streamline that process into one cohesive drink. It's kind of like the midway point between coffee and cocktail. I'd be interested in taking the drink a few steps further toward the cocktail direction by adding a liqueur or flavored bitters to the drink to see what happens. Next time.

True, not everyone will like this drink. But if you enjoy bitter flavors and are looking for a clean, simple way to enjoy coffee without added dairy or artificial flavors, it's at least worth a shot. Like a Negroni or a cappuccino, your first few sips might not convince you, but let the drink's composition sit with you for a bit. It rounds out nicely.

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Location Info

Lux Coffeebar

4402 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General


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28 comments
Tracy Guest
Tracy Guest

I can't wait t try this! And I have a counter full of bitters just waiting to be tested!

HD Barnett
HD Barnett

I was thinking more along the lines of the Apple Pie Moonshine at Bootlegger's... (lol!!)

thewperry1
thewperry1

There's a breakfast spot in KC that serves a Little Richard: a shot of espresso in an ice cold glass of Mexican Coke.

Eric Troje
Eric Troje

Looks Good! My kind of energy drink. Later for the designer cans with a dozen different ingredients.

Maggie May Eads
Maggie May Eads

Rachel Zaik John Mr-Keyboards Johnstonbaugh Jamison Waldrip Doug Bollig

Joseph Cuevas
Joseph Cuevas

We offer this at GreaterThan Coffee. We call it a Black Tonic. I personally find it very refreshing. But not everyone is a fan.

Teresa Hauer
Teresa Hauer

This was the first drink I had at Songbird when they first opened. I...did not like it one bit. But I'd be willing to give it a second chance! Espresso and Coke is something I want to see in coffee shops.

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