Grave Digger

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Cocktail History

The Grave Digger is a Halloween cocktail that was created in 2018 by Katie Stryjewski, the cocktail recipe developer and author behind Garnish Girl. Meant to be a twist on the Spanish Coffee, this spookier version mixed vanilla-infused brandy and coffee with citrus liqueur, and it tops it with sweet whipped cream and crushed cookies.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Vanilla-Infused Brandy: This is a spirit made with distilled white wine. We used Courvoisier VSOP Cognac infused with vanilla extract because it has a rich mouthfeel and a delightful brandy spice with notes of peach, almond, and cinnamon. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative infused with vanilla extract in place of the brandy.

Espresso: This is a concentrated type of coffee made from finely ground coffee beans and hot water. We used ground coffee from a local supplier.

Coffee Liqueur: This is a liqueur made with coffee, spices, sugar, and alcohol. We used Mr. Black Spirits Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur because it has a bold coffee flavor with very little sweetness. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Coffee Original Non-Alcoholic Spiritin place of the coffee liqueur.

Orange Curaçao: This is a liqueur made with oranges, sugar, and brandy or rum. We used Naranja Orange Liqueur because it has a rich, sweet citrus taste. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Monin Premium Triple Sec Syrup in place of the orange liqueur.

Whipped Cream: This is heavy cream that has been whipped and beaten until it is light and fluffy. We used Reddi-Wip Original Dairy Whipped Topping because it offers easier application than making whipped cream at home using an iSi Cream Whipper. For a dairy-free version of this drink, try Reddi-Wip Non-Dairy Coconut Milk Whipped Topping in place of the whipped cream.

Oreo Cookies: This is a cookie made with two chocolate wafers and a sweet fondant center.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Boston Shaker: This is used to shake ingredients. We used the Boston shaker from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Hawthorne Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is shaken. We used the A Bar Above Hawthorne Strainer.

Tasting Notes

The Grave Digger has aromas of cream and cocoa, the initial flavor of sweet cream, which leads into strong, bold coffee flavors fortified with barrel-aged brandy, and a finish with more dark coffee flavor along with equally deep orange sweetness. 

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: This coffee drink is quite luxurious! Kendall’s slight aversion to coffee made the Grave Digger good but not great for her, but coffee lovers like Alex will find this recipe absolutely to die for.

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“This brandy-aided take on the Espresso Martini is a bold, dry flavor bomb of coffee, and I’m here for it. The dark coffee flavor is absolutely the star of the show, and the brandy and Grand Marnier simply aid it with fortification. We used Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur, one of the dryer of the category, and we might recommend a few dashes of simple syrup to others who do the same. That said, the recipe was fantastic, in my opinion, and it makes for a great dessert cocktail after a big meal.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“Full disclosure: I am not a coffee drinker. That usually means I’m not taken with coffee cocktails like so many people are these days, not even when I’m offered the famed Espresso Martini. Since this is essentially that but bolder, I can’t say I loved it. But I can absolutely see my coffee fiend family and friends enjoying this dessert drink quite a bit. The whipped cream and crushed Oreos make it an extra special boozy treat this time of year, too!”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Liquor.com, an online beverage publication.

AuthorLiquor.com

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 1 ½ oz Vanilla-Infused Brandy
 1 oz Espresso
 ¾ oz Coffee Liqueur
 ½ oz Orange Curaçao
 Whipped Cream
 Crushed Oreos

Method
1

Add brandy, espresso, coffee liqueur, orange curaçao, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with whipped cream and crushed oreos.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 ½ oz Vanilla-Infused Brandy
 1 oz Espresso
 ¾ oz Coffee Liqueur
 ½ oz Orange Curaçao
 Whipped Cream
 Crushed Oreos

Directions

Method
1

Add brandy, espresso, coffee liqueur, orange curaçao, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with whipped cream and crushed oreos.

Grave Digger

Make It a Mocktail: Use Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative infused with vanilla extract in place of the brandy, Lyre’s Coffee Original Non-Alcoholic Spiritin place of the coffee liqueur, and Monin Premium Triple Sec Syrup in place of the orange liqueur to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Shop Glassware & Tools

Find collections of cocktail glassware and bartending tools we recommend for your home bar in our Amazon shop.

More Halloween Cocktails

If you like this Halloween-inspired cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Poison Apple Cocktail Recipe

Poison Apple: A rye whiskey cocktail made with cinnamon syrup, cranberry juice, apple cider, lemon juice, and apple slices

Witch's Brew Lemonade Cocktail Recipe

Witch’s Brew Lemonade: A gin cocktail made with lemonade, blue curaçao, lemon juice, and a rosemary sprig

Vampire's Kiss Cocktail Recipe

Vampire’s Kiss: A lemon vodka cocktail made with raspberry liqueur, cranberry liqueur, lemon juice, grenadine, cherry, clove, and cinnamon bitters, and red food coloring

Empress Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail Recipe

Empress Corpse Reviver No. 2: A gin cocktail made with triple sec, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice, absinthe, and an orange twist

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