How to make a warm cocktail
By Alex Kavita

Image [Courtesy]

Kenyans love their hot drinks! Yes, we like to have conversations over the large lemon-honey mug. As a person who has worked across the country, I’m still blown away by how some bars boast a vast collection of thermos flasks that are placed on the table by 4.15 pm. Talk about prep! Well, the climatic temperature has dropped significantly in most areas – and if you are not keen on tall iced drinks then here is a warm substitute that you can make at home or order at the bar.

There are a lot of scientific analytics on alcohol and heat. You’ve probably had a steak on red wine sauce, flambéed foods or coq au vin and wondered why the alcohol didn’t have any effect on you? When alcohol is exposed to heat, it will evaporate leaving behind a liquid which has a concentrated taste of the drink, but without the alcoholic content. That’s why a chef can have an alcoholic flavoured dish that is free of alcohol.

For a cocktail, you may want to just warm it up; not boil. Today’s cocktail is going to be heated up by the hot liquid we add to it – coffee.

Let’s talk about coffee then. Go for your preference. I don’t mind an instant coffee on my weekdays but I still brew a mean Robusta on Saturday morning. Key thing when making coffee is temperature. Coffee making is an extraction process and the best temperature to achieve a decent cup is just below boiling point. If you boil water in a kettle or sufuria, let it sit for a minute before adding it to your coffee mug. This helps drop the water’s temperature from boiling point. Coffee makers are awesome inventors – just saying.

Lots of spirits can be used in hot cocktails. The star of the show today is rum: Ron Zacapa rum from Guatemala. Expect a myriad of flavours from this one drink that is hard to replicate. Made from virgin sugar cane honey, exceptional solera ageing system in a very cool climate, five types of barrels exchanged to mature the same liquid for up to 23 years! The result is an exceptional liquid – the first in the international rum hall of fame. Huge fruity notes, and chocolate flavours – spectacular on ice and indeed perfect with coffee!


Ron Zacapa rum – 50ml

 Piping hot coffee – 50ml

Your favourite sweetener – I will use 1 teaspoon brown sugar

 Whipped cream – Whisk it to a fluffy consistency (not runny, and not very stiff)

You will also need:

 Whisk and bowl and cream

Serving vessel – coffee mug or latte cup or large not so fragile glass.

Coffee making set-up (instant coffee and hot water)


Start with the sugar, add a little coffee and stir to dilute.

Measure in rum and follow up with coffee real quick and stir again. Make sure there is at least half an inch left to fill the glass

Pour in the cream – should float – enjoy!


 Add a little sugar to the whipping cream to accelerate the whisking process. Stop once you start ‘forming soft peaks’ as you lift the whisk. This consistency will float enabling a nice sipping experience – just enough coffee and cream in every sip.

If you want to ‘knock it out of the ballpark’ then warm the serving vessel (cup) first before you start and try different flavours like cinnamon to your syrup and blended raspberries in your cream (Thank me later – wink wink)! It is a very versatile cocktail.

The writer is a 7-time award-winning bartender, accomplished hotelier currently working as a brand/ambassador, educator for the luxury Diageo portfolio with EABL