Ever since I was a teenager and had started to appreciate coffee, the highlight of a hot summer day in Germany came in the shape of a slim glass filled with ice coffee. We call it Eiskaffee (pronounce: ‘ice-kuh-fay) and you can order it at any Café, not just at an Eiscafé (pronounce: ‘ice-kuh-fay). At home, we had my mother choose the largest (yet very elegant) glasses when she made that delightful … could you even call it a beverage? You decide.
First, you brew some black coffee. I prefer to sweeten it a tad with sugar or even vanilla sugar (which is a premixed German baking spice). Then you let the coffee cool off and put it in the fridge until usage. Put at least two golf-ball-sized scoops of vanilla ice-cream into a chilled glass, fill the rest of the glass with the cold coffee to an inch under the rim. Then top it with real whipped cream (not the canned stuff you spray), and sprinkle it either with grated chocolate or cocoa powder. Agreed: It’s a bit difficult to get much of a drink from this refreshing dessert; which is why they are usually served with a straw and long-handled spoon. Don’t even bother to count the calories – unless you intend to have this every day.
In Italy, I encountered pretty much the same idea about what an ice coffee is. Sometimes they replace a scoop of vanilla ice-cream with one of chocolate or hazelnut. Unless you ask for a caffè freddo, espresso with ice cubes and sugar syrup. In Greece, you receive a frappé, cold instant coffee over ice cubes with sugar and milk. So, nothing prepared me for my first American iced coffee back in the early 1990s. I was astonished how anybody would want to drink strong, unsweetened coffee that was half ice cubes. To be honest – I still don’t get the concept and always have at least a shot of caramel syrup in the black cold brew. Or two.
Of course, there was always a ritual for me to drink ice coffee or, as a matter of fact, even the low caloric US iced variety. You simply cannot have it indoors. You are meant to enjoy the hot outdoors to slurp and spoon this dessert. You want to see the glass sweating with condensation on the outside. It’s summer after all.
I could imagine some naughty twists for grown-ups, too. Why not add a shot of coffee liqueur, whiskey, rum, or cognac? For kids you could always create a chocolate milk version – I bet they mostly will like it. Or you create strawberry milk and dump some ice-cream into that. Summer vacations and ice cream are simply a wonderful combination. For kids and adults alike. So, while you can enjoy the good stuff! I think, I’m making myself one right now! The naughty, caloric German variety, of course!