In 1997, at age eighteen, the fourth-generation coffee farmer Geovanni Leiva left his native Guatemala, arrived in Arkansas with twenty dollars in his pocket, and went on to found Leiva’s Coffee, a roastery based in Little Rock that supports his home village of Joconal by selling bags of coffee, hot lattes, and a popular cold brew. “Cold brew actually allows the coffee to maintain flavor in its purest form because it’s brewed slow and cold,” he says. To make your own at home, mix 10 oz. alkaline water with every 6 oz. fresh-ground coffee, steep the brew 18–20 hours in the refrigerator, strain out the grounds, pour the concentrate over ice, and dilute it with water or milk (Leiva favors oat milk for its nuttiness).
Or, take the lead from these three Southern spots and use cold brew as the base for something a little stronger:
1. At Simona’s, a coffee and cocktail bar in the recently opened Colton House Hotel in Austin, Texas, bartender Lindsey Rock makes a Saddle Up: Fill a collins glass with ice and stir in 1 oz. Jameson whiskey, ½ oz. Fernet-Branca liqueur, ½ oz. simple syrup, and 3 oz. strong cold brew coffee. Top with sparkling water, express a lemon peel over the top, and garnish with a mint bouquet.
2. Iced Chai Irish Coffee is a popular brunch cocktail at Willa’s, a neighborhood hangout in Tampa: Shake together ¾ oz. oat milk, 1 oz. chai tea concentrate, 2 oz. cold brew coffee, 1 oz. Irish whiskey, and ½ oz. Hoodoo chicory liqueur, and strain into a collins glass with cubed ice. “Top it with whipped cream and cinnamon if you’re feeling decadent,” says head bartender Amber Carregal.
3. The Grand Bohemian in Mountain Brook, Alabama, serves a Top of the Morning: Shake with ice 2 oz. cold brew coffee, ¼ oz. Baileys Original Irish Cream, ¼ oz. Frangelico liqueur, and ¾ oz. heavy cream, and strain over 1¼ oz. bourbon. Sprinkle with cinnamon.