If you're not yet the kind to spike your coffee, winter is a good time to start. Whiskey in the joe is a good way of warming the bones, but, as our recent, deep investigative inquiry shows, nothing does quite so much to fend off the winter chill as a few moments with a good Mexican coffee. Thankfully, Nopalito has you covered.
Nopa's casual Mexican sister makes good work of dressing up classic Mexican food in that kind of local, organic way, and harbors the city's most heart melting rendition of chilaquiles. Between the formidable selection of mezcal and what feels like thirteen thousand kinds of chiles, there be many a way of stripping off the winter chill in Nopalito. The Mexican Coffee, though, is a rather rogue way of doing it. And, well, we like rogue.
Nopalito wrangles their own iteration with Blue Bottle Coffee (Chiapas, of course), a modest dose of Araku -- a rum-based coffee liqueur -- reposado tequila, and a sweet dollop of homemade orange-zested whipped cream warmed up with freshly grated cinnamon. In that small, ceramic cylinder, it turns up sweet and unassuming. One sip, however, spills down your throat the kind of heat and fire that would have done Shackleton's men good. The first sip lands a small hurricane of citrus and dry heat on your tongue, pacified soon by the whipped cream's soft sweetness. You'll have the remainder of the coffee sitting idle in a french press, should you care to mellow out the taste and/or jumpstart your night.
The coffee itself is tipsy, bolstered by a tequila that spent enough time in the barrels to round out its sharper edges and pick up that woody, smoked underbelly, but not long enough to lose its brightness. Important, of course, if you can excavate that kind of thing from a boiling hot bowl of spiced coffee. Cinnamon offers up that spicy tinge, and orange gives a lively kick to the aftertaste. We should mention, too, that "housemade" whipped cream means cream, hand shaken for thirty minutes sometime before opening, just like I used to do on the front porch for my mother when I was little and she was making dinner. What I didn't sample and actually made it on the cobbler always tasted good, almost as good as it does now, on a steaming mug of booze.