drip liqueur.jpg
Photo courtesy of Rain City Spirits' Facebook page.
Boozing in the morning is a slippery slope: first you're adding a touch of Baileys to your


Rain City Lifts Spirits with New Coffee Liqueur

drip liqueur.jpg
Photo courtesy of Rain City Spirits' Facebook page.
Boozing in the morning is a slippery slope: first you're adding a touch of Baileys to your coffee to stay warm on these icy winter mornings, and then you're drinking so many White Russians that you've got thugs in your living room, beating you up, and pissing on your rug. If you're going to drink before lunch, at least do it right, by incorporating Rain City Spirits' new coffee liqueur, Drip.

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"Liqueur" in this case is a bit of a misnomer, since Rain City Spirits' magical brown elixir isn't a liqueur in the way we've all come to expect--cloying, syrupy, amateur. It's a beautiful, subtle synthesis of concentrated cold brew made with Caffe Vita's Queen City Blend and Rain City Spirit's smooth, artisan vodka, with just enough pure cane sugar simple syrup to qualify it technically as a liqueur. It's a drink The Dude, and fellow White Russian connoisseurs, would certainly approve of.

Local restaurant veteran Cory Duffy started working on his "great American vodka" in a tiny space near Salumi in Pioneer Square early last year. September moved his (and business partner Joe Matthys') operations into a larger industrial warehouse in SoDo. And in November, they released Drip; they've barely been able to keep up with demand since.

Duffy treats his vodka distilling like coffee roasting--choosing the best quality grains and processing them just so to bring out the finest natural flavors. An avid coffee drinker, he said he's always had his sights on doing a coffee liqueur and knew Caffe Vita would be the brew to beat. Multiple cuppings with the cafe led him to the Queen City Blend, which he explains has the sort of dessert notes of caramel, vanilla, and chocolate that go so well in a liqueur.

He's not wrong. The blend works impeccably well as a liqueur, though it doesn't hurt that Rain City's vodka is so smooth and light that it's drinkable on its own. Coffee nerds take note: Duffy wants to do some super-small-batch releases of Drip, perhaps featuring special single origin beans or one of Vita's seasonal blends. One benefit of producing to order is that he has the liberty to experiment as such.

Cocktail recipes featuring Drip have surfaced recently: Caffe Vita's combines 2 ounces of Rain City vodka with 1 ounce of Drip and a splash of light cream (or eggnog, if you've still got some lying around), while Assaggio Ristorante's Rain City Slide blends the liqueur with Baileys, vanilla vodka, and cream. But my preferred method to drink Drip is what Duffy recommends: simply over ice. I like a splash of cream in mine, but it certainly doesn't need it. The initial notes come from the coffee and simple syrup, lightly sweet with a hint of cocoa. The vodka doesn't really come through until the finish, which is the sign of good vodka--that slow esophageal burn that warms you to your core without any of that cheap well, cleaning product taste. Duffy's called it an "iced Americano with a kick," but I would argue that it's much more impressive than that.

"I want to be able to beat the big guys at their game," Duffy said, "but with craft, handmade stuff." If Drip is any indication of what we can expect from Rain City, I have very high expectations for his future concoctions (he's promised at least an apple liqueur soon). To find Drip in your neighborhood, check out this list. Rain City doesn't have a tasting room, though we can only hope their new space allows for one in the future.

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