Cocktail-Inspired Coffee Drinks

Appled Kyoto, The Gentleman, Julep-Inspired and White Russian

Want a buzz without alcohol? Specialty coffee drinks give you a drink that combines the nuance of cocktails with the lift of coffee.

Kingdom Coffee

“We’re less about emulation and more about creation,” says Kingdom Coffee co-owner Isaac Neale. To that end, the Springfield, Missouri, shop served a Screwdriver-esque drink, the Brewdriver; it was inspired by espresso’s dominant chocolate notes that Neale thought would pair well with fresh orange juice, along with housemade vanilla syrup, served over ice. Kingdom’s rotating seasonal menu will debut three to five winter drinks starting Fri., Dec. 2, including a virgin White Russian. The drink is made with one part half-and-half; one part virgin Kahlúa made with single-origin Guatemala Huehuetenango coffee; and two parts gin-inspired tea made with cascara, coriander seeds, juniper berries and lemon. “Our mantra is ‘as good as or better than anywhere else’ – and you can get a coffee mocktail here for $5.50 that’s as good as anywhere else,” Neale says. “You can’t have quality that cheap with cocktails or wine or beer; you’re going to pay to get an elevated product. That’s what I love about coffee – it’s a totally approachable luxury experience.”

Kingdom Coffee, 211 S. Market Ave. #100, Springfield, Missouri, 417.350.1234,

Second Best Coffee

When Second Best Coffee café manager Gentry Houston creates drinks for the Kansas City roaster and coffee shop, he starts with seasonal elements and then tries to represent them in a beverage. “Our goal with a specialty drink is to create an experience with the coffee as the foundation for other ingredients,” he says. A summer favorite was The Gentleman with espresso and lightly sweetened citrus. This fall, Second Best served an Appled Kyoto, made with apple, cinnamon and Kyoto cold-brewed coffee, shaken and served over ice, as well as Jack Gusto, which combined espresso, house-roasted pumpkin purée, maple syrup, dark brown sugar and fall baking spices that was shaken with ice and strained. “I often think of it in elements: I need a sweet element, I need a bitter element, maybe I need a savory element, and then temperature and presentation just kind of fall in line from there,” Houston says. Second Best’s winter menu debuts this month and will include new coffee drinks.

Second Best Coffee, 328 W 85th St., Waldo, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.377.0354, 

Sump Coffee

Tim Wiggins and Scott Carey are constantly innovating in their respective workplaces – Wiggins as bar manager and beverage director at Retreat Gastropub and Carey as owner of Sump Coffee – and together they’re pushing boundaries. This summer, the pair joined forces to offer a series of three specialty coffee drinks composed of shrubs developed by Wiggins that use coffee made by Carey, including a Julep-inspired drink using a shrub made from Burundian coffee, honey, mint and apple cider vinegar combined with tonic. The seasonal drinks are and only available at Sump, and the two have plans in the works for winter. Wiggins offers a Cold-Fashioned on Retreat’s brunch menu, made with Sump cold brew, sugar and Angostura bitters. He also recently added Breakfast Flip to the menu, featuring Sump brew, brown sugar, a whole egg and nutmeg. “Coffee mocktails combine the creativity of what baristas are doing with what bartenders are doing, so my worlds overlap,” Wiggins says.

Retreat Gastropub, 6 N. Sarah St., Central West End, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.261.4497,

Sump Coffee, 3700 S. Jefferson Ave., South City, St. Louis, Missouri, 917.412.5670,