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This cocktail was the winner of the BARista Night Cold Brew Cocktail Throw Down, which was held at Grato in West Palm Beach in 2017. Mixologists from all over Palm Beach County came together at chef Clay Conley’s restaurant to compete for the best cold brew-based craft cocktail. Reed Ferguson took home the trophy with his Pura Vida cocktail, a name that means “the simple life” or “the pure life”.
Reed used Dawn Patrol cold brew in the competition, which is made by local roaster Pumphouse Coffee using a rotating blend of one to three organic coffees from South America, Central America, and/or East Africa. The current batch uses organic Honduran coffee from Coprocael. The flavor profile is heavy chocolate on the front end, usually accompanied by a hint of citric acidity and a slight nuttiness. If you’re not able to find this cold brew where you are, look for a locally available one with a similar profile.
Cold brew is combined with vodka and coffee liqueur in this recipe. Using a small amount of Galliano Ristretto coffee liqueur enhances the profile of the cold brew, rather than masking it, and a dash of vanilla bitters adds a touch of richness.
If you can’t find Dawn Patrol cold brew, a ready-to-drink nitro cold brew is recommended in lieu of a concentrate. Vanilla bitters are available from many different cocktail ingredient manufacturers, or you could even make your own with spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon to create a personalized flavor profile.
Fill a rocks glass or martini glass with ice and water and then discard (or use a glass that has been chilled in the freezer). Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until well mixed. Double strain into the pre-chilled glass.
The Pura Vida pairs well with a charcuterie board. Create a platter that includes a selection of delicious staples: honey, nuts, goat cheese, thinly sliced prosciutto, and an assortment of cured meats. The clean coffee cocktail pairs well with the richness of the charcuterie board and the two together makes for a perfect cocktail hour when entertaining friends.
This competition-winning cocktail uses just a few high-quality ingredients to really emphasize the profile of the coffee. So make sure you choose a good quality cold brew with similar flavor notes to that of Dawn Patrol. Or why not come to Palm Beach and try the original recipe for yourself?