TIA MARIA DARK LIQUEUR
Tia Maria is so delicious that it is great right out of the bottle.
The All-Temperature Spirit Serve it at Ambient, Chilled, or Heated
By Kay Schroeder
HOLLYWOOD(Spiritsman)3/11/17/–Here’s how the manufacturer describes Tia Maria Dark Liqueur: “Clear, medium coffee color; vanilla; dark roasted coffee flavor with a hint of earthiness, sweet, moderately thick. As dark and rich in history as in taste, this unique XVII century Caribbean liqueur combines superior coffee with a hint of the finest vanilla.”
To evaluate this liqueur I invited a friend to join me in the spirit of two heads are better than one. Photographer and friend Tom Wright said he was up to the task. Neither of us had tasted Tia Maria before so we went to their website www.tiamaria.com to glean a few facts about this chocolate/coffee concoction. There we found several recipes; here is one:
Tia Espresso Martini
. 25 ml Tia Maria
. 25 ml Vodka
. Double or single shot of espresso.
. 5 ml of Sugar Syrup
. 3 Coffee Beans
Fill a martini glass with ice and set aside to chill. Pour Tia Maria, vodka and espresso into a cocktail shaker. Fill the rest of the shaker with ice. Shake the ingredients together. Empty the martini glass of ice. Pour in the contents of the shaker using a strainer and sieve into the glass. Finish with three coffee beans.
The Tia Espresso Martini did indeed look inviting so we decided to do a little brainstorming to see what other drinks we could come up with.
I will have to admit, our brainstorming session became a little wild and zany as we spieled off one unusual, even outrageous, ingredient after the other. Considering the 26.5 ABV (alcohol by volume), we decided to kick it up a few notches by testing how temperature would affect the taste and consistency (viscosity) of the liqueur.
Here’s what we came up with.
Tia Italiano: In keeping with the motto “Life’s short, eat dessert first.” I got out two crystal goblets. Tom had the forethought to bring a pint of French Vanilla Bean Gelato that we placed into each goblet and generously drizzled on the Tia Maria. The piece de resistance was the dark chocolate almond lacy cookie planted on top. This opus was given the sobriquet, Tia Italiano.
Our Observation: The frozen gelato/liqueur combination brought out the bold flavor of the coffee. The liqueur appeared to be a slight bit thicker. Tom commented that the use of gelato resulted in a lighter mouth feel than that of ice cream. Tia Italiano filled the bill of a sumptuous dessert/drink.
Tia With a Chill: Next to come out of the cupboard were two highball glasses into which we poured Tia Maria over ice cubes. This drink was christened Tia with a Chill.
Our Observation: Perhaps because the liqueur was in contact with the ice cubes for several minutes, the boldness of the coffee was intensified even more. The liqueur’s consistency appeared to be moderately thicker. With the roaring fireplace in the background, we classified the Tia with a Chill as a very satisfying coffee/chocolate after dinner cocktail.
Tia Caldo: Our last test was to serve Tia Maria as brandy is served, heated. So, out came the Brandy Warmer Set, complete with candle. It took several samplings before we deemed the liqueur to be at the perfect temperature.
Our Observation: The chocolate and bold coffee flavors were significantly more pronounced. A little surprising was the extent to which the heat had thinned the liqueur, giving it a lighter, more delicate consistency.
Served At Ambient: Tia Maria is so delicious that it is great right out of the bottle. That is, right out of the bottle and into a glass, no additions required.
Photography: Tom Wright