Greek Awake

Third-place winner in Imbibe‘s Metaxa Cocktail Competition, April 2009. This pretty and creative cocktail is packed with flavor, and though it’s light enough to drink in warm-weather months, it’s also a perfect winter/holiday cocktail.

1 1/2 oz. Metaxa 7-Star brandy
1 1/2 oz. coffee-fig elixir (recipe below)
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: grape

Shake the Metaxa and coffee-fig elixir in an ice-filled shaker. Strain into a chilled glass. Slit a grape and place on the rim for garnish.

Coffee-fig Elixir
1 cup high-quality fresh-roasted, hot-brewed coffee (Houghtaling uses Gimme! Ethiopian)
1 cup dried whole mission figs with stems removed
1/2 tsp. cloves
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup water

Simmer the figs, coffee and cloves over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Mash the figs with back of spoon after simmering. Add the brown sugar and water. Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat. Allow to cool then strain the crushed figs out with a sieve and store.

Leah Houghtaling, Felicia’s Atomic Lounge, Ithaca, N.Y.