Cool Beans

From an espresso milkshake to a nitro coffee on tap, we've got a sweet quartet of cold coffee drinks for when you're in the mood to just chill.

The cool Kerouac drink—with four shots of espresso—at Tupelo

The cool Kerouac drink—with four shots of espresso—at Tupelo

Photo by Marc Thomas Kallweit

The Kerouac
Writer Jack Kerouac was not only one of a kind but also famously given to excess, which makes this sweet, strong coffee drink—available at both Naked Lounge cafes in downtown and midtown Sacramento and its sister coffee shop Tupelo in East Sacramento—a fitting tribute to him. An iron fist of caffeine (there are four, count ’em, four shots of espresso) comes shaken over ice with a velvet glove of sweetened condensed milk and cream, for a surprisingly smooth, milkshake-like drink that’s decanted into a classic conical glass and garnished with coffee beans. No wonder the cafes’ menus call it the martini of coffee drinks. Tip: If your tolerance for the jitters isn’t quite as high as Kerouac’s, ask for it half-caf. nakedcoffee.net

Shakerato
All the rage in Italy in recent years, the shakerato looks demure in its small glass, but—as with all Italian-style espressos—packs a powerful punch. At midtown’s Hot Italian, it’s a combo of espresso—the restaurant uses heavily roasted espresso beans from Insight Coffee Roasters, which is soon to open a new location next door—a touch of sugar, and just a dab of milk, shaken up over ice in a cocktail shaker and strained over fresh ice. If you need an extra hit of la dolce vita, you can also add a shot of Frangelico or Kahlúa. Or, for an even sweeter coffee treat, try the rocca, an affogato-style dessert of espresso over two scoops of gelato. 1627 16th St. 444-3000. hotitalian.net

Nitro Coffee
Cold, fizzy and served in a chichi tulip glass: The complex yet light-bodied nitro coffee from Chocolate Fish and Hook & Ladder has taken Sacramento’s iced coffee scene by storm. Surprisingly fruity and refreshingly tart, the coffee—flash-brewed and chilled, then aged in kegs that are tapped just like your favorite beer—might be the perfect recovery drink after a long night. It may look like the hair of the proverbial dog, but it wakes you up like, well, coffee. Originally the nitro drink was only available in-house (no to-go orders) at the roaster’s East Sacramento location  and stocked in kegs at Hook & Ladder, but the coffee that looks like beer is now on tap at Pangaea Bier Cafe and it’s coming soon to Yolo Brewing Company. For those on the go, Chocolate Fish has also brought mobile nitro to the new East Sacramento farmers’ market in McKinley Park. chocolatefishcoffee.com or hookandladder916.com

Iced Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Latte
The words “iced vanilla latte” don’t appear on the menu at Roseville’s Bloom Coffee & Tea, but its sophisticated, richly flavored version of this drink—a ho-hum sugar bomb at most coffee houses—has become one of Bloom’s best-selling beverages. No wonder: The cafe takes meticulous care with every element. The vanilla syrup is made in-house from twofold-strength Madagascar bourbon vanilla and caramel-colored raw cane sugar, and the slightly floral, nutty notes of the syrup beautifully complement the Street Level espresso blend from revered Santa Cruz roaster Verve. Add a splash of organic milk (local Califia almond milk is available on request), and you have a smooth, not-too-sweet refresher that’s anything but commonplace. 1485 Eureka Rd. Roseville. 773-2332. bloomcoffee.com