Turn your coffee break into happy hour with these spiked coffee ideas.
two clear mugs of spiked coffee with milk
Credit: Casey Barber

Buddy the Elf isn't the only one who loves "syrup" in his coffee. A shot of liquor livens up lattes as well as cappuccinos, cortados or any coffee drink you're usually sipping. You don't need a fancy mug to enjoy a spiked coffee, either—though we support anything that makes a pick-me-up feel even more special.

Use the base ratio of 1 fluid ounce (2 tablespoons) liquor for every 8 ounces (1 cup) of strong brewed coffee, or 4 ounces (1/2 cup, or a double shot) of espresso. Add milk or half and half to taste, or any of our other mix-in suggestions.


Irish whiskey is the classic choice for Irish coffee, but any member of the whiskey family pairs well with an espresso-based coffee drink. Try cinnamon whiskey for a spiced-up option, or maple whiskey for a seasonal note.


Turn your coffee into a White Russian that the Dude would be happy to imbibe. This coffee liqueur is the easiest way to juice up a regular cup of coffee. Add milk or cream to taste, then kick back and relax.

Anise Liqueurs

Sambuca is traditionally paired with espresso at Italian restaurants after dinner is done, but this sweet licorice-forward liqueur isn't the only option if you love its distinctive taste. Try a half-ounce of French pastis or even Greek ouzo for a bracing add-in.


While there's a wide variety of styles for this Italian aperitivo ranging from bitter to bold, brands like Averna and Meletti have a subtle spice and sweetness that go well with coffee. Or try a splash of Caffe Amaro for a like-for-like pairing.


Hints of caramelized sugar make dark rum a natural pairing for coffee drinks. For a sweet touch, try vanilla rum in a latte, or do a half shot of rum and a half shot of ginger liqueur to make your own gingerbread latte.


This aged brandy adds subtle but rich notes of fruit and vanilla to coffee. Try it with this pumpkin spice coffee recipe, which brings in the flavors of pumpkin spice, maple syrup and vanilla for a truly elegant drink.

Chocolate Liqueur

If a mochaccino is your go-to order, this is the easiest way to turn your afternoon buzz into a happy hour one. A little of this creamy liqueur goes a long way, so start with a tablespoon in your coffee, or drizzle it over a whipped cream topping for a treat.

For more ways to spike your cold-weather drinks, try our boozy hot chocolate ideas too.