Coffee Cocktails Make Detroit’s Late Night Scene More Caffeinated

By: Karen Dybis | June 21, 2021
Coffee Drinks

Photo Courtesy of Irish Coffee.

Most people see coffee as something they drink to wake up, that early-morning beverage that gives both caffeine as well as great flavor when done right. But coffee also is a traditional ingredient in alcoholic beverages and makes for a great enhancement to an evening out, whether you’re enjoying an outdoor patio or a carry-out cocktail at home. 

Coffee is the beverage created from the coffee plant. The history of this amazing plant goes back centuries, and, believe it or not, the plant itself can live to 100 years old. Coffee has been a part of the United States since the nation began, causing Thomas Jefferson to call it “the favorite drink of the civilized world.”

Mixing coffee with alcohol has similarly long legs. Consider Irish Coffee, which is said to have been created in 1943. According to one story, Irish Coffee started in Limerick, Ireland, where a chef who felt badly for the pilots and airport passengers who seemed weary on their flights came up with the mix of coffee, Irish Whiskey, brown sugar and lightly whipped double cream

Metro Detroit bars and restaurants honor this tradition with Irish Coffee on many menus as well as several innovations to this classic drink. They also are innovative, coming up with many other ways to enjoy coffee and alcohol, blending the two flavors and caffeine to make sure the good times last well into the night. 

Here are some locally made coffee drinks that include alcohol. As always, consume these drinks responsibly. 

The Skip

This Detroit bar is known for its fancy drinks and frozen treats. Consider getting its Frozen Irish Coffee, which includes whiskey, cream, sugar and a cold brew concentrate. This drink is creamy, rich and decadent all at the same time, and adding the ice allows some of the sharp flavors to mellow as the water melts.


Evening Bar

This night-time joint inside the Shinola hotel is a great getaway from everyday traffic and business, right on Woodward Avenue. It features an alcoholic coffee drink called the Bright Eye & Bitter, which includes Bruto Americano, Letherbee Fernet and cold brew. The drink is as potent as it comes, so enjoy it with an appetizer. 

Willis Show Bar

This vintage bar is beloved by fans of its great shows as well as its traditional drink menu. Try a glass of the Late Shift, which features Reyka vodka, coffee liqueur, cold brew and Earl Gray Tea. That’s a ton of caffeine in one sitting, so be prepared to stay up all night with friends and everyone else at the bar. 

Great Lakes Roasting Co.

Many people know this as a coffee house, but it also has a huge bar menu that becomes activated in the evening. The bartenders at this great Detroit-based business can put coffee in a variety of drinks, so check out the specialty menu. They also have a busy happy house that will have you coming back for its many flavors and mixes. 

Irish Coffee

This bar and restaurant in Grosse Pointe Woods is a must for a coffee-alcohol combination just for the name alone. Come for its classic Irish Coffee and stay for the old-school menu, which includes its local favorites such as cheese sticks and a melt-in-your-mouth Ground Round burger and all the fixings. They’ll even add a little more whipped cream and green food coloring to the top for special occasions.

Remember to drink responsibly and plan ahead with a designated driver or take advantage of one of these local designated driving services.