10 Boozy Hot Coffee Additions To Make Your Fall Mug Fun And Fabulous

14 min read AUG 31, 2023

Each year it seems that fall arrives a little earlier than the year before.

Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, we love the autumn season so very much that we simply can’t wait for crisp cool air and changing leaves to break out our fall decor and pumpkin (or apple, salted caramel, etc) themed foods and beverages.

Personally, I’ve already made a few batches of maple pecan pumpkin muffins and like many of you, I’ve also been upgrading my morning coffee with an extra dash of pumpkin spice, cinnamon, or nutmeg.

And, foam toppers, don’t get me started! What’s better than the addition of flavors like pumpkin, cinnamon, or salted caramel to a creamy layer that rests atop a freshly brewed cup of robust, hot coffee? Yum!

Then, what about cocktail hour? Those fall flavors with the addition of alcohol in your warm cup of joe are absolutely phenomenal!

And, that’s where we’d like to set up camp today, exploring all the ways you can add alcohol to your hot coffee to create decadently delicious cocktails.

So, here we’ll examine commonly used booze selections and detail how each one best pairs with your hot cup of coffee, including how to incorporate those fall flavors we all know and love.

Coffee Before Booze

Before we can explore the best boozy additions to use in your hot brews, we’ve got to get the tastiest ingredient in these creations down to an art. That ingredient, of course, is coffee.

When making coffee for use in cocktails, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Clean Beans

First, it’s of monumental importance that you start with fresh, clean coffee beans, meaning you’ll want to choose a high quality, sustainably grown, nutrient dense, coffee that contains absolutely no molds, mycotoxins, heavy metals, pesticides, or other harmful chemicals.

Most mass produced coffees on the market today are grown in ways that harm the environment and your health as they’re sprayed with massive amounts of these harsh chemicals. They also lack the measures needed within and after the growing process to negate the presence of disease-causing molds and other health-crippling toxins.

Then, you’ll want freshly roasted beans as well.

The varieties available on grocery shelves, even those that claim to be clean, are often stale depending on how long they’ve been sitting in warehouses or in grocery aisles prior to being purchased.

So, start with high quality, organic, non-GMO, sustainably grown, mold, heavy metal, chemical and toxin free coffee that is freshly roasted for best flavor…each of which are non-negotiable standards here at Lifeboost.

To begin assembling your coffee cocktail with anything less than clean beans can mean that you’ll be tasting any impurities in the brew once you incorporate the addition of alcohol, as booze can highlight these unwanted tastes.

Grind Matters

For best results, we highly recommend using whole beans as opposed to pre-ground coffee in your coffee cocktails.

How you brew your coffee will dictate the type of grind needed, but most often, a coarse grind is best when preparing cocktails.

French press, pour overs, even some drip brewers are best for such a grind.

One exception to this tip is espresso. Espresso makers require a supremely dark roasted bean (espresso coffee beans) and a very fine grind.

Espresso works well in many coffee cocktails as this brew’s bold flavors stand up well to the addition of creams, sugars, and alcohol.

If you only use pre-ground coffee, this doesn’t mean that your coffee cocktails will be a bust. But, freshly ground beans will always have a greater richness and quality.

Brewing Basics

For crafting a truly delicious coffee cocktail, brewing with a french press or using the pour over method is generally recommended. (This is why a coarse grind is commonly recommended.)

In contrast to drip coffee makers, these methods allow for a greater amount of control throughout the brewing process, resulting in a more balanced and flavorful brew.

Again though, as with whole bean versus pre-ground coffee, if you only have a drip brewer, this doesn’t mean you can’t make a delicious cocktail. The above methods are simply preferred for best flavor.

And, now that we’ve covered the basics for the base of your hot coffee cocktails, let’s move on to those boozy additions…

Adding Booze To Your Hot Brews

1- Whiskey

Possibly one of the most popular hot coffee cocktails is the classic Irish Coffee. This cocktail typically incorporates a dark roasted coffee as this roast pairs exceptionally well with whiskey.

Like coffee, whiskey often boasts a bold, robust, or rich flavor, making it a perfect brew companion.

Another signature of an Irish Coffee is the addition of brown sugar and heavy cream, the cream serving as a topping for the hot cocktail. So, if you want to turn this ordinary classic into an extraordinary fall cocktail, here’s a few suggestions:

  • You can use a cinnamon or maple flavored whiskey the next time you prepare an Irish Coffee to transform this cocktail into a fall-themed brew.
  • You can also begin with an ordinary base, using roughly 8 ounces of freshly brewed Lifeboost Dark Roast Coffee, one tablespoon of brown sugar, and 1 ½ ounces of Irish whiskey. Then, instead of simply using plain lightly whipped heavy cream to top the brew, you can infuse cinnamon, maple, or pumpkin flavors into the cream prior to topping the cocktail.

2- Strega

Strega is an herbal liqueur used in the classic Italian Coffee cocktail.

Strega translates to witch in Italian as folklore describes this liqueur as having been created by local Italian witches who combined nearly 70 herbs and spices to create an elixir.

According to the legend surrounding this spirit, a local grocer saved a witch from falling out of a tree. As a token of her gratitude, the witch gave the boy the recipe for this elixir and his family soon began selling it for its restorative and curative abilities.

Now, the liqueur is often added to after dinner coffee as it serves as a digestif.

We won’t include many fall flavor upgrades here as the classic Italian Coffee cocktail already boasts a bit of fall flare with a nutmeg topping, but if you’d like to make this simple, but delicious and warm brew, simply:

  • Add 6 ounces of freshly brewed Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee to a mug, then stir in 1 teaspoon of cane sugar and 1 ounce of Strega.
  • Then, lightly whip a small amount of heavy cream to top the brew.
  • Sprinkle a desired amount of nutmeg on top of the heavy cream, and enjoy!

3- Rum

Rum contains notes of caramelized sugar, and I’m sure that description alone already signifies to you that this liquor makes the perfect addition to a piping hot cup of coffee.

Many folks like to enjoy a hot cup of coffee with the addition of rum after dinner as this combination can aid in digestion (like most coffee-liqueur combos as well).

But, what I love about this liquor is how it also pairs well with fall flavors, especially with spiced rum selections.

Some simple tips and tricks for using rum in your hot, fall coffee include adding one ounce of rum per 8 ounces of hot coffee, then…

  • stirring the combo using a cinnamon stick. (Note: The longer you keep the stick in your brew, the more the flavors (and health benefits) of the cinnamon will infuse into your coffee.)
  • topping your boozy brew with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel with a dusting of sea salt for a salted caramel flavor.
  • adding 1 teaspoon of pumpkin puree, ¼ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, and 1 ounce of Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur or RumChata, both of which will provide a creamy, boozy upgrade in effect and flavor.
  • using maple syrup as a sweetener to add subtle fall flavor notes.

4- Kahlua

It’s only fitting to take a closer look at Kahlua after seeing how rum can enhance your hot, fall coffee, as this liqueur is made using coffee, rum, and sugar.

Kahlua is actually slang for coffee in Arabic, and with this deliciously loved brew as its base, this liqueur can boozily enhance your cup of joe in the simplest of ways.

You can use Kahlua, or any coffee liqueur, as a single addition to your hot coffee, or you can use it in conjunction with many liquors.

To make a decadent fall coffee creation, feel free to add roughy one part kahlua to two parts coffee (think ounces here), then upgrade this base with fall flavored creams such as adding pumpkin spice and a teaspoon or so of pumpkin puree to some heavy cream, or use any clean pumpkin infused coffee creamer of your choice.

But, if you’re looking for something a little extra, you simply must try this warm, decadent, rich, and delicious Hot Butter Kahlua Coffee Cocktail:


  • 8 ounces freshly brewed Lifeboost Dark Roast Coffee
  • 2 tablespoons butter batter (see recipe below)
  • 1 ounce Kahlua (see below for homemade Kahlua recipe)
  • Whipped cream, optional for topping
  • Cinnamon, optional for topping


  • Add frozen butter batter into your favorite coffee mug.
  • Top with freshly brewed, hot coffee and stir until fully combined.
  • Stir in Kahlua.
  • Top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon, and enjoy!

Butter Batter

  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ceylon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

In a small saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter. Add powdered and brown sugars, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and add vanilla ice cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the warm mixture, whisking until fully incorporated. Cool the mixture slightly, then pour into a freezer safe container and store in the freezer.

Homemade Kahlua

  • 2 ½ cups strong, freshly brewed Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee
  • 4 cups cane sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups aged rum
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Stir sugar and hot coffee together until dissolved. Let cool completely, then add rum and vanilla. Store in an airtight container.

5- Rumchata

Another rum infused liqueur that is exceptional in any cup of coffee is Rumchata.

Rumchata is a liqueur made from Carribean rum, Mexican spices (such as cinnamon) and Wisconsin dairy cream.

And, while there are a wide variety of ways to use this in hot coffee in combination with fall flavors for a tasty coffee cocktail, Rumchata has made this a super simple process as they also have a pumpkin spice flavored selection as well.

Obviously, when using Pumpkin Spice Rumchata in your hot coffee, a simple splash or two in your brew topped with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon or nutmeg would be exceptional.

But, using the original liqueur provides you with a base where you can craft a variety of fall flavored coffee cocktails using any of the following tips:

  • Add Rumchata and cinnamon schnapps to your hot coffee for a warm, slightly spicy, and creamy twist.
  • Add 2 ounces of Rumchata to 8 ounces of freshly brewed coffee, then stir in 1 tablespoon of apple butter and top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon for a non-pumpkin fall treat.
  • Combine equal parts Rumchata and pecan liqueur to 8 ounces of hot coffee, then stir in 2 teaspoons maple syrup and top with a pinch of cinnamon for a maple-pecan coffee that you’ll fall in love with after one sip.

6 - Bourbon

While whiskey is made with rye or barley, bourbon is made with corn which is why this liquor often boasts sweeter flavors, and this characteristic allows the liquor to pair well with a hot cup of joe.

This sweet element of bourbon makes the addition of fall flavors a seamless pairing as well.

So, when combining coffee, bourbon, and a few hints of fall, you can create a cocktail that is truly out of this world.

When doing so, you can simply add a bit of maple syrup in combination with coffee and your favorite bourbon for subtle fall sweetness.

Or, you can take things up a notch by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice, even a teaspoon or so of pumpkin puree to your hot coffee, stirring the mixture together with a little maple syrup and an ounce or so of bourbon.

7- Bailey’s Irish Cream

Like Rumchata, Bailey’s makes the perfect addition to your hot cup of coffee as it contains a creamy element that tames the bitter notes in your brew.

Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur is made using real dairy cream, Irish whiskey, and a blend of chocolate flavors.

And, if you ask me, while this addition to your hot coffee along with some butterscotch schnapps is delicious, my favorite way to enjoy Baileys and coffee is when it’s prepared with hot chocolate and a bit of caramel and sea salt.

Yep, a hot dark chocolate salted caramel boozy coffee…sounds like a mouthful until you have a mouthful, then it’s just heaven!

The simplest way I’ve concocted this cocktail is to prepare hot chocolate using coffee instead of milk or water. Then, simply add an ounce or two of Bailey’s Irish Cream, and stir to combine. Top with whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel syrup and a very light dusting of coarsely ground sea salt, and enjoy!

Want an option that contains the ho-cho flavors without the added sugar? Add 8 ounces of Lifeboost Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Coffee to a mug, stir in 2 ounces Bailey’s, and enjoy!

8- Schnapps

I’ve briefly mentioned the use of butterscotch or cinnamon schnapps within a few of the selections above, but the use of these flavored selections can’t be overstated when you’re looking to add delicious booze to your hot brew.

Generally, when using schnapps in your hot coffee, adding another alcohol element is a good idea. For instance, when using butterscotch schnapps in hot coffee, a creamy addition such as Bailey’s pairs well.

When you’re reaching for cinnamon schnapps, I’d recommend Rumchata over Bailey’s as it already contains cinnamon flavors.

Of course, for a subtle upgrade to your brew, you can sip Buddy the Elf style and simply add a little bit of “syrup” (in the form of schnapps) to any freshly brewed cup of coffee.

9- Cognac

Cognac is an aged brandy that contains notes of fruit and vanilla. But, don’t let the fruit element cause you to shy away from adding it to your hot brew.

You can add cognac directly to your hot cup of coffee, but small additions like a bit of real vanilla extract (or using Lifeboost French Vanilla Coffee as your base), maple syrup, or pumpkin pie spice can transform your ordinary brew into an exceptional fall coffee cocktail.

This boozy upgrade to the classic fall favorite, the PSL, utilizes cognac to create a decadent fall cocktail for two!

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 ounces Lifeboost Organic Espresso Coffee
  • 2 ounces cognac
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened non dairy milk
  • 6 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


  • Add pumpkin puree and milk in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. Bring to a simmer (do not boil), then remove from heat and stir in vanilla, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Add one ounce espresso and one ounce cognac to each mug, then divide the prepared pumpkin milk mixture evenly to top each mug. Enjoy!

10- Flavored Liqueurs

I realize the above title is vague, but we’re going to close things out today by quickly covering a variety of flavored liqueurs you can add to your hot coffee to bring warm, inviting fall flavors to your adults-only brews.

Chocolate liqueur

A rich chocolate liqueur can be added effortlessly to your hot cup of coffee, and you can upgrade this pair when you stir in a bit of caramel or even add a bit of spice with a touch of cinnamon.

White chocolate liqueur

I absolutely love a good white chocolate liqueur in an iced coffee, but when you use this with your hot brew along with a bit of pumpkin puree infused milk, the result is a creamy, smooth, and decadent treat!

Cinnamon cream liqueur

I just learned of Cinnabon’s cinnamon cream liqueur. I didn’t know such heavenly wonders existed! But, with my experience in making coffee cocktails, I can already tell you exactly what I’m planning to do with this boozy dessert in a bottle: a mug of hot coffee, a tablespoon of apple butter, and an ounce or two of this liqueur!

Ohhhh, maybe a mix of pecan liqueur and this cinnamon liqueur with a shot of espresso. Or, some pumpkin spice infused milk and an ounce of cinnamon cream liqueur stirred into a freshly brewed cup of Lifeboost Pumpkin Spice Coffee. The possibilities are endless!

Pecan liqueur

We mentioned the use of this liqueur in a recipe earlier, but we’ll close out with this selection as a maple pecan latte…you know, the adults only kind…is the perfect fall treat for those who prefer to avoid the PSL hoopla.

Adding an ounce or so of pecan liqueur to your hot coffee with a little cream and maple syrup would be fantastic, and for those who do enjoy the PSL hoopla…make that cream a pumpkin spice infused cream as those flavors pair wonderfully with pecan liqueur.

Check out Lifeboost Coffee Medium Roast.

Headshot of Becky Livingston Vance
Becky Livingston Vance Content writer

Becky is a mother, educator, and content writer for Lifeboost Coffee. She has had three years’ experience as a writer, and in that time she has enjoyed creatively composing articles and ebooks covering the topics of coffee, health and fitness, education, recipes, and relationships.


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