Old Busker Coffee Liqueur

It rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest, but it pours coffee. I like my coffee sweet and funky - think mocha with Mexican spices or a goat milk latte. Matt, Renaissance Man that he is, is more of a purist, ordering simple lattes and endlessly extolling the skill of a given barista. He brings the same hyper-critical palate to coffee that we both employ when evaluating our spirits. It seemed natural to make a coffee liqueur and build upon this drink with such a strong regional identity. Here’s how Old Busker came about -

Kelly Andrews, distillery cofounder, grew up drinking coffee his dad, Jack, brewed from beans roasted on the stovetop. Jack went on to found a small commercial roastery called Busker Beans. Once the distillery opened, Kelly and Jack got together and created the base “coffee+sugary-goodness” recipe to which our spirit is added to make the Old Busker Coffee Liqueur. A batch of coffee liqueur requires huge amounts of coffee-base. We approached Woods Coffee and asked if they could create it using Jack’s recipe. They agreed. Our neutral wheat spirit (from Whatcom County wheat) and purified water are added to the coffee base to hit a bottling strength of 30% ABV. The coffee base is sweet, but the final product has a higher alcohol level than some of the other coffee liqueurs out there. This keeps it from being cloyingly sweet and lets the pure coffee notes shine through.

In the Andrews’ family, son and dad are both mandolin players. Jack has done some stints busking around town and at the Farmers’ Market. Playing for the public, not for the donations. Playing in the spirit of sharing his passion for his music. That’s why it’s called “Old Busker” - it’s a blending of family, passions for beverages and music, love of working together, and a desire to share something that makes us happy. And it fits in perfectly with the slow-craft mindset that guides our distillery.
Long live slow-craft and long live busking.