It turns out that a French press can be used for more than brewing a rich cup of morning coffee. French press owners have become savvy to the idea of using this appliance for cocktails as well. How is this possible? Below we outline why and how to use your French press for some happy hour fun.

Why use a French press?
If you have used a French press for making coffee, you know that it creates a richer, more flavorful cup than a drip machine. And if you love how it accentuates the flavor of your morning brew, you will really love how it enhances your cocktails’ flavors.

How to Use a French Press
Just like when you make coffee, you can place any solid ingredients at the base of your French press. You then add your liquids (alcohol and mixers), allow your solids to steep, and then plunge away to infuse your drink with flavor. The pressure gently mixes the ingredients together and slightly aerates it.

Making Hot Drinks in the French Press
Drinks like a Hot Toddy are an excellent way to utilize your French press — especially if you are using whole leaf tea or adding ingredients like ginger, cloves, allspice , or cinnamon. The key is that the water you use is hot, not boiling. Generally, you should wait three to five minutes before you press the plunger.

Making Cold Drinks in the French Press
Since you cannot rely on heat to help with the infusion, you should let your drink rest for a little longer (somewhere between five to fifteen minutes depending on the ingredients you use).

Tips for Making French Press Cocktails

  • Mash or Muddle Whole Ingredients: Most French presses cannot actually press the juice out of a whole fruit or bruise the herbs to release their oils, so it is best to muddle your whole ingredients. However, to avoid damaging your French press, it is best to muddle or puree your ingredients before adding them to the press.
  • Recommended Liquors: While the liquor you use definitely depends on the cocktail you are making, whiskey, brandy, aged rums, gin, and tequila are popular choices for both hot and cold French press drinks.

Clean Your French Press: To make sure your morning coffee does not taste like alcohol and vise versa, make sure you thoroughly clean your French press after each use.