A Trip Abroad With European Liquored Coffee Drinks

The smell of freshly ground coffee beans in the morning is the perfect motivation to start the day. Although a strong, black cup is the one thing I need to get the gumption to crawl out of bed, a foamy cappuccino is definitely the right companion for a piece of cake in the afternoon.

A Trip Abroad With European Coffee Drinks | Foodal.com

But what about preparing a fiery Ruedesheimer Coffee, an Affogate al caffè on a hot summer’s day, or an Irish Coffee to warm you up? Explore some of the European drinks available and try them out. Make your next coffee a cocktail, when you want to have something a little special instead of your usual java. 

The continent’s diversity is reflected in its different drinking habits. Some traditions have made their way beyond the borders of specific countries, like the Italian espresso or latte macchiato, which are internationally known. But there are more than a few drinks that are equally delicious and interesting, although they haven’t made the same cross-country migrations.

Let’s take a tour through some of regions of Europe and their famous – as well as some the lesser known – coffee concoctions.

It is striking that most of the recipes listed below are mixed with alcoholic beverages. However, every drink is different, as every liqueur has its own unique flavor.

It’s definitely interesting to consider why people put alcohol in their coffee. As you will see, many have tried to “spice up” their harmless looking java juice with something a little stronger.


Germany, as is the case in many other countries, has adopted typical coffee drinks like espresso, café latte or latte macchiato. Nevertheless, there are some recipes that reflect a distinctly local influence.

Pharisee Coffee

The Pharisee Coffee is one of them. What do you think of when you hear this name? Probably not a rum infused coffee drink from Germany…

Vertical image of a tall mug filled with a dark brown liquid topped with swirled white foam on a wooden board.

Pharisee Rum Coffee: Get the Recipe Now
The drink derives from a North Frisian Island in an area that is heavily Protestant, and it has an amusing story behind it.

The local custom was for the folks in the area to abstain from drinking in front of the clergy. But when it came to ceremonies like baptisms and weddings, guests were looking for more than just coffee.

Local lore says they prepared a drink with rum and put some cream on top to prevent the smell of the alcohol from coming through. When a local preacher became aware of this, he shouted, “You Pharisees!” And the legend was born.

Rudesheimer Coffee

As a representative of my home country of Germany, it’s my patriotic duty to provide you with yet another German recipe. This one has a beautiful presentation and is perfect for serving to guests.

Vertical image of two white mugs filled with a cocktail topped with garnishes and chocolate shavings next to sugar cubes.

Rudesheimer Coffee: Get the Recipe Now

Like the Pharisee, Rudesheimer Coffee has an interesting origin story as well. It was invented by a person named Hans Adam for a famous brandy-producing company here in Germany. They even launched a special coffee mug for serving this drink.

Feel free to use any mug that is resistant to fire and heat (i.e porcelain). Yes, it is getting fiery up in here!


In Austria, especially Vienna, you will find a world-renowned traditional coffee culture. This cultural tradition was even listed by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage in 2011.

Viennese coffee houses also have their own kind of vocabulary, which includes specific tableware, and even simple coffee drinks have special names.

Coffeehaus Cafe Griensteidl in Vienna | Foodal.com
The front of the famous coffeehouse Cafe Griensteidl in Vienna, Austria. This establishment first opened its doors in 1847. Photo credit: Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock.com

Many varieties are prepared with Austrian-produced fruit liqueurs that have apricot, plum or orange flavors. All of these drinks have illustrious titles that I think retain their romantic effect only when they’re not translated: Maria Theresia, Biedermeier, or Gebirgskaffee.

Served with a slice of chocolate and apricot Vienesse sacher torte, this is an absolute delight.

The Interior of Cafe Westend, Vienna, Austria | Foodal.com
Interior of Cafe Westend, Vienna, Austria. Photo credit: Radiokafka / Shutterstock.com

This last one is also known as Alp Coffee.

Viennese Gebirgskaffee Alp Coffee | Foodal.com

If you want to have a truly Austrian experience, here is what you need:

Viennese Gebirgskaffee Alp Coffee | Foodal.com
Viennese Gebirgskaffee Alp Coffee
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Viennese Gebirgskaffee Alp Coffee | Foodal.com
Viennese Gebirgskaffee Alp Coffee
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  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbs rum
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  1. Place the egg yolk, rum and sugar into a small bowl and mix. Add the coffee and whisk everything with an eggbeater until it starts getting fluffy.
  2. Pour the coffee mixture into two mugs and drink right away.


When you try to associate coffee with a particular region, chances are you probably think of Italy. Right?

This is not unjustified as the country is not only the home of espresso, but also of a vibrant coffee culture that is well known all over the world, often associated with a certain atmosphere and quality of life.

Outside cafe in Venice, Italy | Foodal.com

Besides the famous espresso, you’ll find its smaller and even stronger relative ristretto, and the aromatic lungo.

You also have the standard latte macchiato, which often causes arguments amongst non-Italians about its correct pronunciation.

The specialty I want to introduce to you is the perfect summertime coffee drink – Affogato al caffè, which means “drowned in coffee.”

Vertical image of two glasses with espresso and ice cream on plates with cookies.

Italian Affogato: Get the Recipe Now
This coffee concoction is considered a dessert, and is eaten with a small spoon. You can choose to enjoy simply as is, with ice cream and espresso, or you can add a splash of your favorite Italian liqueur.

Canary Islands

Our next stop is Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands belonging to Spain that has a terrific coffee-based drink known as Barraquito.

Horizontal image of two shooters filled with a layered espresso beverage topped with frothed milk, cinnamon, and lemon peel.
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

When it is made well, this drink looks fantastic as it will have three different layers. These consist of sweetened condensed milk on the bottom, espresso in the middle, and foamed milk on top.

What sets this apart from other similar layered coffee beverages is the fresh note of lemon zest. The liqueur can vary. Tia Maria is often used, a Jamaican liqueur made of coffee beans, rum, vanilla and sugar. Possible variants include Kahlua, Liqueur 43, and Bailey’s.

Barraquito is served in an espresso glass, ideally one that’s transparent so you can see the three layers.


The Emerald Isle is particularly famous for a fun specialty beverage: Irish Coffee!

It is said that this drink originated at an airport where it was offered to passengers who were waiting for their next flight after their original flight was cancelled.

Vertical image of two mugs filled with a deep brown beverage with a fluffy white topping on a gray slate.

Irish Coffee: Get the Recipe Now
It became a phenomenon in the United States when the famous Buena Vista cafe in San Francisco copied the recipe, and served it as a coffee cocktail.

Naturally for an Irish drink, there is some whiskey included, which is mixed with the coffee before it’s topped with whipped cream. You will need two coffee mugs or glasses to serve this.

Pharisee, Ruedesheimer, and Barraquito coffee cocktail photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. See our TOS for more details.

About Nina-Kristin Isensee

Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.

17 thoughts on “A Trip Abroad With European Liquored Coffee Drinks”

  1. Interesting to know that coffee is used with cream in many other countries. I have only heard of an Irish coffee and the joke in England, is “Do you want to make it Irish?” and someone slips a dash of whiskey from a hip flask in it on a cold day or early in the morning to keep you going.

  2. Ah, our fine neighbors to the east do have plenty of great coffee-related drinks, and many of them do contain a little something to provide an extra “kick”. I’ve never been outside the United States, but I actually have had some of these drinks, and I’d be interested to try some of the options listed here.

  3. I’ve had a drink similar to the Pharisee Rum Coffee while I was in Finland – it was awesome. The only difference I would say is, there was less whipped cream on top in Finland. Maybe they like their alcohol to shout at the world from inside the glass! I’m so interested all European countries, especially foods and drinks. Thanks for sharing your great stories and recipes 🙂

    • I’m happy you like it. I haven’t been to Finland yet but I have read about some drinks and I also have the impression that they do nut use as much cream as other countries when it comes to mixing coffee and alcohol. Maybe they need it to be stronger to get through the cold temperatures 😉

  4. Ok, so everything here looks really interesting and I have to admit that I always had a soft spot for Italian coffee. What I never tried before though is this weird Irish version with whiskey. I guess tomorrow morning this is going to be my waking up call, hopefully I won’t regret trying that instead of my usuall Italian blend.

  5. I’ve always heard that mixing alcoholic beverages with stimulants is not a good idea as the drinker tends to drink more, thinking that he/she is not getting drunk. However, these recipes seem like pretty fun ideas to try out one at a time. My personal favorite visually off this list is the Ruedesheimer Coffee Cocktail, but I believe I would be more likely to try the Affogato al caffè, because who doesn’t love ice cream? This is an excellent article overall.

    • Thank you. Well, it is really tempting to drink more when you do not taste the alcohol that much, one should indeed try to stay on top of things and maybe only prepare one drink per person 😉
      By the way, I can definitely recommend the Affogate recipe, it is so quick and easy to make, especially for guests. And the ice-cream-coffee-mix is quite unbeatable in summer!

  6. I love these type of alcoholic coffee drinks although I do agree that they are best kept to just one serving. I like them after a meal, in place of dessert (and sometimes as well as!).

    The full story with the Irish coffee is that a group of passengers arrived at a port close to Shannon airport. They were cold and miserable, having sailed all the way from America so the head chef at the port decided to add a little whiskey to their coffee to warm them up. One of the passengers was the owner of the Buena Vista and the rest is history.

    • Thank you for the story, missbishi. I can imagine they enjoyed this little bit of “extra” in their drink. Yet, it’s somehow surprising that this casually invented drink has become so popular. If we have one the next time, I think we should definitely drink a toast to the airport-chef!

  7. This article makes me want to tour around Europe tasting different coffee drinks! In fact, that sounds like a dream, maybe I’ll plan it for next year!

    I was in Germany recently, it’s a shame that I wasn’t offered a Ruedesheimer! It looks delicious.

    • Well, that is a pity indeed. If you’re planning your trip, tell me and I will be searching where you can get a real Ruedesheimer Coffee experience 😉
      I think it is served at traditional established bakeries or cafés. It is not quite popular nowadays I’d say, who knows, maybe it will experience a revival sometime.

  8. One of my favorite indulgences is Irish coffee, consisting of good not-too-strong black brew, served in a heatproof glass, add a measure of Irish whisky and a teaspoon of sugar then stir and pour heavy cream gently over the back of a clean teaspoon onto the swirling mixture until you have a half in thick layer. You need the sugar or the cream is prone to sink. Drink the coffee through the cream and ignore the mustache!

    • That sounds really delicious. And I have also heard about the aspect of drinking it through the cream to get the mixture of hot coffee and cold cream. It is such a perfect drink for the cold season with the dash of whisky to warm you up 😉

  9. Hi Nina! Thanks for writing such a great article, after reading it I had to go to the kitchen and prepare myself some “special coffee” drink. 🙂
    Looking at my personal bar I found this great hazelnut liqueur from Italy, it’s called Frangelico. The bottle has an interesting monk design, it’s a must have for anyone who likes collecting nice bottles. Anyways, what I prepared for myself was some hot coffee with a bit of hazelnut liqueur. For the recipe you simply make some hot coffee, then add about an 1 oz – 1.2 oz of Frangelico and a bit of whipped cream, the result is a delicious coffee that is a truly delightful experience!

    • Thank you, I hope you enjoyed your after-reading drink 🙂
      I was searching for the Frangelico bottle online, because I haven’t seen it before, and you’re right. It has this special design, I really like it. And I can imagine the hazelnut flavor goes so well with coffee, I think I am going to find out where I can get this liqueur and try out your drink suggestion. It sounds delicious, thank you!

  10. I am European and I’d never tried any of these beverages or recipes. I’d like to, though, Irish Coffee is the one I know more about, and I’ve always wanted to try. Not that I don’t have them here around Portugal. It may be a slight different version, but I’m sure I’d find something, it just didn’t happen yet.
    About doing them at home, it may be the closest I’d go to be honest, and since I drink a cup everyday and I’ve recently started adding cinnamon to it, – which tastes amazing – I may give these recipes a try and include my sister as a judge too!

    • Yeah, the Irish drink is probably the most common one, also internationally. I think Portugal also has some special coffee cocktails, right?
      I hope you and your sister enjoy some of these varieties and can assign good scores for the one or the other 🙂


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