Beer in my coffee

Dark barrel latte no whipI listened to an Abercrombie type describe a dark barrel latte to her friend, another likely Abercrombie girl — tall, impossibly thin, carefully dressed in stylish riding gear though I was sure the closest either of them was going to get to a horse was the grandstand at the New Albany Classic.

“I hear it tastes like bourbon,” she said enthusiastically, when she saw it on the menu at the local Starbucks. “Dark aged wood tones to go with the espresso.”

And she was mostly right. Columbus is a test market for the new addition to the fall line-up at Starbucks. But the “dark barrel” refers to a chocolate-stout syrup, not bourbon flavor.

While some people balk at the idea of beer-flavored coffee, it’s not a Bud Light-meets-Folgers kind of drink. Instead, it features the best flavors of rich dark stout which pair nicely with espresso, all cut with a good hit of steamed milk, a pyramid of whipped cream and a drizzle of the chocolate-stout syrup. Let’s be clear: There’s no actual beer in the drink—just like there’s no actual pumpkin in a pumpkin spice latte.

I’m on board. It tastes less sweet and more complex than the salted caramel drinks that seem to have disappeared. Personally, I leave the whipped cream off because it cuts the flavors I like so much.

And for the record, Ms. Abercrombie may have been right: It conjures up more bourbon than stout flavors.

Categories: New products

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