Clear rocks glass with ice cubes and light brown cocktail with a candied vanilla bean garnish.
Photography & Art Direction: Anthony Contino – Food Styling: Carrie Parente

I’m pretty obsessed with coffee if that hasn’t been blatantly obvious by now.  So, it shouldn’t surprise you that I’d gravitate towards a coffee-heavy cocktail.  This drink is the love child of an espresso martini and a white Russian in all the best ways.

Spiked Iced Vanilla Latte

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour
Servings: 2 cocktails



  • 1 Mexican vanilla bean
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract


  • ¼ cup coffee liquor
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 2 ounces Mexican Vanilla Simple Syrup
  • 1 ounce espresso, chilled
  • Candied vanilla bean, for garnish, optional


  • MAKE THE SIMPLE SYRUP. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds; reserve the bean.
  • Add the sugar and vanilla bean seeds to a small saucepan and, using your fingers, mix to combine.
  • Add ½ cup filtered water and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot, but not boiling.
  • Add the vanilla bean and remove from the heat; let steep for 30 minutes.
  • Run the syrup through a fine mesh strainer, add the extract, stirring to combine, and let come to room temperature before refrigerating for up to 2 weeks in an airtight plastic container. (Makes approximately 1 cup.)
  • MAKE THE COCKTAIL. Combine all ingredients in a large ice-filled cocktail shaker and stir well to combine.
  • Strain into two ice-filled rocks glasses.
  • Garnish with a candied vanilla bean pod.


To make candied vanilla beans, coat used vanilla beans (if they were used for seeping in a liquid, rinse and dry with paper towels first) in sugar and bake in a 400 degree oven until stiff, about 8 minutes. Cool completely before using, then store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Course: Beverages, Cocktails
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino