Cardinal Spirits, a craft distillery in Bloomington, Indiana, has collaborated with Chicago’s Metric Coffee on an Illinois-only edition of their popular Songbird Coffee Liqueur.
Songbird Coffee Liqueur (49 proof; 24.5% ABV; $29.99 MSRP) infused with Metric Coffee is now available at select Binny’s Beverage Depot and Whole Foods stores in Chicago.
The small-batch spirit can be enjoyed straight or in cocktails, and is made with just four ingredients: coffee, vodka, bourbon vanilla and cane sugar — no flavor extracts and no coloring.
“With so few ingredients that go into this spirit, the right coffee beans are everything,” says Jeff Wuslich, co-founder of Cardinal Spirits. “We chose to collaborate with Metric Coffee because of the terrific quality of their roasts — and, because, like us, they’re fiercely committed to their craft.”
Cardinal Spirits collaborates with local roasters in various markets to source coffee beans for distinct versions of Songbird Coffee Liqueur, giving the spirit a local flavor and supporting fellow local businesses. For the Indiana market, Cardinal Spirits partners with Hopscotch Coffee in Bloomington, Ind.; for the Kentucky market, Cardinal Spirits collaborates with Good Folks Coffee Co. in Louisville.
The Chicago edition of Songbird Coffee Liqueur is made with Metric Coffee’s Vista Alegre roast. This is a Fair Trade and Organic certified SHG EP grade coffee from the NORCAFE cooperative in Peru. Located in the Lonya Grande district of the Amazonas region in Northern Peru, the NORCAFE cooperative currently includes more than 250 small-scale farmers. Varieties harvested by the NORCAFE cooperative include Typica, Caturra, and Bourbon.
“Our quality control manager is in Peru, and this particular coffee comes from his family farm,” Metric Coffee co-founder Xavier Alexander says. “The producers that we work with are people we know.” The coffee is sweet—filled with sugary notes of chocolate, caramel and nougat—and has an easy-sipping, low-acidity profile that’s perfect for a liqueur, says Alexander.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Songbird Coffee Liqueur, from Cardinal Spirits in Bloomington, Indiana. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Lonya Grande, Amazonas, Peru
farm: Rwanda Musasa Mill
producer: smallholder farmers
association: NORCAFE Cooperative
elevation: 1500 – 2100 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Typica
process: fully washed, patio dried
The best thing about this coffee liqueur is that it actually tastes like coffee. Vanilla, sugar, and toffee arrive on the taste and aroma with coffee leading the way as the formidable star that it is. The finish is on the milk chocolate side of things with a nice lasting flavor of dark coffee and a slight boozy burn. An absolute treat.
*content and imagery provided by Cardinal Spirirts
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.