By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Sep 29, 2017 at 10:03 AM

It’s National Coffee Day, so there’s no better time to give in to your love for coffee.

Sure, you can grab your favorite cup of joe … or latte … or espresso at your favorite coffee shop, but here are five other less traditional ideas that might just give your Friday a nice boost.

1. Liquid brunch from Fuel Cafe on 5th

Fuel has great (strong) coffee. But, it also boasts a collection of fun, "coffee inspired" cocktails. One, called liquid brunch, is the sort of drink you can really enjoy any time of the day. In terms of flavor, the sweet concoction – made with Stone Creek cold brew, house coffee brandy and, Brown Jug Maple Bourbon Cream – is reminiscent of a more coffee-heavy white Russian. But, it’s way more fun, largely due to the completely gratuitous bacon garnish, which provides a crisp snack to nibble while you’re imbibing.

2. Bourbon barrel aged cold brew from Hawthorne Coffee Roasters

If you love your coffee iced, there’s nothing better than cold brew. And if you’re looking for something distinctly different, the Bourbon Barrel Aged Cold Brew at Hawthorne is where it’s at. Aged in bourbon barrels for a minimum of 28 days, it’s robust and smooth with a distinct bourbon flavor. Definitely a step up from your usual brew. The cold brew is available by the pint for $4.75 or in a growler for $16 (includes cost of growler). Growler refills are just $8.50.

Note: Although the BBA cold brew is available year round, it’s in high demand. So, if they’re out of it on your next trip to the shop, don’t hesitate to grab a glass of their regular cold brew, which is equally as smooth and easy drinking, just without the bourbon.

3. Espresso truffles from Indulgence Chocolatiers

There’s nothing like a nip of chocolate to cure what ails you. Combine that with a bit of espresso and you’ve got a recipe for something special; after all, the espresso enhances the depth of the chocolate’s flavor, while giving you a bit more caffeine in the process.

Indulgence Chocolatiers offers three truffles featuring espresso: classic espresso, blackberry espresso and caramelized white chocolate and malted espresso crunch. Each truffle is $2.

Bonus: If you’re suffering from an autumn cold, these truffles might also help with your cough. Researchers at London's Imperial College found that theobromine, an alkaloid in cocoa, suppresses coughs better than codeine, a common ingredient in cough medicine.

4. The Jazz Estate Old Fashioned

You can get a classic brandy old fashioned anywhere. But, at Jazz Estate, their signature old fashioned is a step up. Made with Averna (an Italian bitter digestif), Hawthorne Coffee Roasters cold brew, Old Forester bourbon and Jazz Estate’s own bitters blend ($9). It’s hands-down one of my favorite cocktails in the city.

5. Hot coffee drinks from Mason Street Grill

PHOTO: Mason Street Grill

It’s getting to be that time of the year when there’s often a chill in the air. But, you can warm up (and get a dose of caffeine) with one of the new coffee drinks from Mason Street Grill. Choices include the Snow Cap with vanilla vodka, Frangelico, coffee, whipped cream and cinnamon or the Bavarian Coffee with peppermint schnapps, Kahlua, coffee and whipped cream (both are $9 each).

If caffeine in the evening disturbs your sleep, you can always opt for a tea cocktail like their Rum Mint Tea with dark rum, mint tea and a sugarcane stick or the Spiced Chamomile Hot Toddy with bourbon, honey, lemon, chamomile tea and a cinnamon stick.

6. Espresso ice cream from Purple Door

Hit that craving for something sweet and creamy head on with Purple Door espresso ice cream. There’s almost always a pint to be had in the Purple Door scoop shop in Walker’s Point. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll also find it behind the counter. If you do, you can order up one of my favorite indulgences: an espresso shake. It’s an amazing afternoon pick-me-up that will transform even the crummiest of days.

7. Espresso Bellavitano from West Allis Cheese Shoppe

If you’ve never tasted Sartori Bellavitano, there’s every reason to make it your National Coffee Day resolution to find some and give it a try. This delicious cheese defies description; but if you like Cheddar and love Parmesan cheese even more, you’re likely to be a fan. Bellavitano comes in a variety of flavors, but you can’t go wrong with this variety, which is hand-rubbed with fresh espresso beans, giving it an earthy nutty flavor that pairs impeccably with dry, fruity red wine, Scotch or stout beer.

8. Stylish commuter mug and punch card from Tre Rivali

If you live or work in the Third Ward, you might just love this brand new offering at Tre Rivali: a great new program featuring a copper core commuter mug and coffee punch card.

The snazzy commuter mug features a copper core that keeps your beverage hot (or cold, if you prefer). It’s available for $15, and all refills are offered at 25% off. Pair that with the punch card (with which every eighth coffee is free), and you’ve got a pretty great coffee deal.

Tre Rivali serves Caffe Vita Coffee, a pioneer coffee company of the Farm Direct Movement. The coffee is available as drip coffee and cold brew, as well as cappuccinos, lattes, Americanos and espresso.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.