Before we left for Italy, I received an email asking if I’d be willing to try and review Cask and Kettle Hot Cocktails. According to Brigid Presecky, author of the email, these coffee cocktails have it all—”smooth, aromatic beverages… in one pod—including the alcohol. All you need is hot water.” She went on to tell me that there are five flavors (Irish Coffee, Mint Patty, Mexican Coffee, Hot Blonde Coffee and Spiked Dry Cider). Brigid had me at “Irish Coffee.”
Count. Me. In.
Cask and Kettle
Cask and Kettle is woman-owned, operated, and certified (by the Women’s Business Enterprise). The pods look like K-cups, but you won’t need a Keurig machine to drink the coffee. Simply mix eight ounces of hot water and the pod’s liquid contents in a cup, and you have an instant coffee cocktail. Cask and Kettle advises the the drinks are gluten-free, decaffeinated, and in pods made of 100 percent recyclable material.
Cask and Kettle currently offers five varieties of cocktails:
• 76-proof Irish Coffee—vodka Irish whiskey, and coffee
• 75-proof Mint Patty—vodka, mint, and coffee
• 74-proof Hot Blonde—vodka, vanilla, and coffee
• 60-proof Mexican Coffee—vodka, tequila, and coffee
• 50-proof Spiked Cider—vodka and apple cider
Trial By Fire
Cask and Kettle sent me four sleeves of the coffees—Irish Coffee, Mint Patty, Mexican Coffee, and Hot Blonde Coffee. I invited a neighbor over to try them with my husband and me.
Since I have a Keurig machine, I was able to pop the pods in the machine. The directions say to add six-to-eight ounces of water. Both my neighbor and husband asked me to use more water, so I started with 10 ounces for each of us.
Patty, my neighbor, tried the Mint Patty. I made hers into a knock-off cappuccino by frothing cream for the top. “It’s very good,” she told me, adding, “I don’t think I’d like it stronger, though.” Patty told me that it went down smoothly and that she liked the light mint taste. “It adds just the right bit of mint.”
My husband, Mike, decided to try the Mexican Coffee that afternoon. I added the frothed cream to his coffee, too. Expecting to have a little cinnamon in the coffee, he was a bit disappointed not to taste it. He thought the alcohol taste too strong even though I had watered it down a bit for him.
I had the Irish Coffee, one of my favorite coffee cocktails normally. I added the frothed cream and enjoyed the smooth taste. I later tried the 76-proof Irish Coffee using eight ounces of water and plain cream as an after-dinner drink. It was a delightful way to relax after cleaning the kitchen. I love the mix of roasted coffee with the earthiness of the whiskey. I don’t ever drink black coffee, I think the cream enhances the flavor.
The next day, I made both of us a Hot Blonde cappuccino. Mike liked that one much better than the Mexican coffee. “The flavor of the vodka was not as strong,” he said. I liked the smell of vanilla that came through when I brewed this one.
And the Winner is….
I tried all of the coffees, and while I liked all of them, I preferred two, the Mint Patty and the Irish Coffee. I happen to like mint in coffee, and as I mentioned, I like Irish Coffee. It follows, therefore, that I prefer to wind down with those two. I like the subtle vanilla flavor in the Hot Blonde, and like my husband, I wish there were cinnamon in the Mexican. That said, though, I enjoyed it, too. I think I’ll try it over ice next time.
That brings me to the fact that you don’t have to just drink these things hot. Italian that I am, I tried a Mint Patty Affogato—vanilla ice cream with the hot coffee poured over it. YUM. Cask and Kettle’s website even offers recipes; you’ll find everything from Irish Coffee milkshakes to a Spiked Cider Vinaigrette.
The Bottom Line
You may be asking why someone would buy a sleeve of coffee cocktails when you could brew a pot of coffee and throw a little vodka and flavoring in it. Aren’t we all about convenience? Coffee makers evolved into Keurig and the like machines, and espresso machines have the Nespresso, Breville, and more. Moreover, dropping the pods in our luggage or camping gear is easier than lugging a huge pot, coffee grounds, and bottle of vodka. Convenience, my friends, is key.
Besides, the price is right. Paying $15.99 for a sleeve of five pods is a little over $3 per cocktail. There aren’t many places you can buy even a cup of regular coffee for that.
I’m hoping that Cask and Kettle comes up with more flavors. I think an Italian version with Amaretto would be perfect.
Please Note: As I mentioned, Cask and Kettle sent me the four sleeves gratis. This in no way influenced my review of the cocktails.