In the previous post, I talked about how awesome coffee liqueur is and how many awesome brands there are on the market, but how little they get used in drinks outside of the obvious Black and White Russian drink duo.

If you read the previous post, you’ll notice that amongst the recipes and drinks included, there was a fortified Old Fashioned formulae emerged and is something that can be used with other spirits, albeit with a minor tweak here and there.

And seeing as though its Negroni Week all over the globe, I figured that this second of a three-part installment would be the best way to explore a way in which coffee liqueur can be used in an effective manner, as well as providing a fantastic segway into how a simple rum Negroni riff helped influence and form one of the most challenging drink explorations to date.

Speaking of which, step forward the Migration, a riff on the Negroni that is attributed to Theo Lieberman that uses black strap and Bermudan rum, Cynar and Sweet Vermouth all in equal parts. An awesome drink that has a pronounced note of coffee and molasses, primarily due to the black strap and Goslings in the drink, the Migration is generally known as a stirred version of the Jungle Bird, albeit without the citrus and shaken elements.


  • • 0.75oz Cruzan Blackstrap
  • • 0.75oz Goslings Rum
  • • 0.75oz Sweet Vermouth
  • • 0.75oz Cynar

Add all ingredients to a rocks glass. Add a jumbo piece of ice, stir a couple of times, and garnish with an orange peel.

Theo Lieberman, Milk & Honey, New York, 2011

A drink that I was first introduced to back in the beginning of 2015, it was the first of many variations in which I saw how the Negroni could be riffed on. And even though there was no coffee liqueur in the drink, it the spring-board as to how I looked at the anatomy and make up of drinks, especially ones that consisted of simple measurements of ingredients that came straight off the back bar.

Transporting the concept of a simple coffee flavor over to a Manhattan style of drink, however  – as in one that employs coffee liqueur and vermouth in its most simplest form – seemed way less common and difficult to source in terms of drinks that could or have stood the test of time.

Google searches tell me about drinks such as the ‘Coffee Manhattan’ which uses Maxwell House Coffee freeze-dried coffee (yeah or nah?) and another drink called ‘Breakfast’, which utilizes 23 drops of Sriracha bitters (definitely nah).

Over the course of almost two years, and driven by the inspiration and flavor profile of the Migration, I experimented with different makeups to try to formulate a template in which a spirit could be swapped out to create a different drink, but keeping the same ratios and ingredients throughout, creating a Mr. Potato Head style of sub-category if you like.

After finally coming across a structure that was balanced and easy to put together last year, what I ended up with was the Transmigration, an evolution of the above that straddles the Manhattan/Negronistyle of drink with the addition of coffee liqueur, and the name of a psuedo-category in which the spirit is interchangeable with the name of the drink.


  • • 0.75oz Cruzan Blackstrap
  • • 0.75oz Goslings Rum
  • • 0.5oz Sweet Vermouth
  • • 0.5oz Cynar
  • • 0.5oz Coffee Liqueur

Add all ingredients to a chilled boston glass. Add ice, stir for 20 -30 seconds (until the mixture is chilled and diluted) and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with an orange peel and serve.

Tom Walker, Fresh Kills, New York, 2017

NB – Named after one of the most common Tropic Birds in Bermuda, the Longtail is the first creation within the Transmigration family that continues the concept of travel in which the other spirits which can be subbed in the drink. Sub the rums for blended and Islay scotch and you have the City to City, named after the Gerry Rafferty album of the same name released in 1979 (if you’re looking for the link, he was Scottish). Take out scotch for an ounce and a half of bourbon and you have the Kentucky Trail. Take out the bourbon and add applejack and replace the twist with a cherry and you have the New Jersey Commute, which is an absolute killer applejack Manhattan number. Keep the orange twist and add equal parts Jamaican Rum and Smith & Cross and you have the Highway 2000, named after one of the longest stretch of roads in Jamaica. Take out the pot still rums and replace with Anejo tequila and you have the El Camino, which roughly translates as ‘The Path’ (you can also sub in a little Mezcal for this too). Sub the tequila for Japanese whisky and you have the Ryoko Cocktail (pronounced Yo-koh) which in Japanese means ‘to travel’. And if you cant get enough of any of those and STILL want more, add in Cognac for a Route Nationale or Spanish brandy for a De La Frontera.

Finally, this post is dedicated to all the bartenders working all over the globe, and especially to Martin Hudak, who is an avid fan of both coffee and Negronis.

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