Looking back, 2013 felt like the year of the cold brew with several nice offerings popping up on the national and local coffee scene. Here in Raleigh Larry’s Beans Coffee now offers a great cold brew. It comes in both 12 oz. ready to drink bottles in “straight black” and “slightly sweet” form in addition to larger 16 oz. bottles of cold brew concentrate. This past summer Larry’s Beans held a friendly competition to highlight the versatility of the drink by holding a “Hard Coffee Throwdown” at the Foundation bar in Downtown Raleigh. Proceeds from the event went to Backpack Buddies, an amazing local organization providing assistance to children from food insecure homes.
The event featured bartender-barista teams from the Triangle duking it out in head-to-head competition to see who cold create the best original cold brew cocktail. Teams brought their own alcohol & mixers to blend with their cocktail creations featuring Larry’s cold brew coffee as the featured ingredient.
Contestants concocted their drinks in front of a live audience in attendance at the Foundation as they explained their inspiration for the recipes and what the drinkers should expect when they drink the cocktail. Drinks were prepared for taste testing by a panel of judges and the audience allowing both to weigh in on which was their favorite.
The honorable panel of judges was made up of local coffee experts such as the head roaster at Larry’s Beans in addition to several local music celebrities gifted with great coffee tastes. While the judges were responsible for picking the event winner, the audience had a vote as well to select the “people’s choice”. My favorite was the cocktail created by Esteban of TOPO Distillery and Andrew Cash of Jubala. Their cocktail “The Three Kings” was based on Pamplona’s running with the bulls and featured spirits from TOPO distillery out of Chapel Hill mixed with Larry’s cold brew.
In the end the Judges selected ”The Corrected Cocktail” by Helen Flowers of The Morning Times and Scott from Foundation as the Winners (I was a big fan of this cocktail as well). Their drink incorporated a coffee tea known as “Cascara” which is brewed from green coffee beans. The People’s Choice went to “The Piedmont” by Larz Robison of Benelux Cafe) and Homebrewer Aaron Bockover.
To order a bottle of Larry’s Cold Brew visit their online store here. You can also find their cold brew in area Whole Foods stores or use their store locator on their website to find a retail location near you. To view additional pictures of the Hard Coffee Throwdown check out the Larry’s Beans event photo album here.