When you take your first sip of the dark magic that is Marble Distilling Co.’s Moonlight Expresso liqueur and wonder where it’s been all your adult life, consider that, like many good things, it started with mom. “This is my mom’s recipe that she would make at the holidays to give as handmade presents,” says Connie Baker, Marble’s distiller and co-founder. Baker has simply perfected it on a large scale.
Baker combines Ugandan vanilla beans ($400 per pound!) with dark-roasted Guatemalan coffee beans from Carbondale’s Bonfire Coffee in a gin basket. There, vodka vapor passes over the beans during distillation and is then mixed with cold brew made in the mash tun over the course of three days. The corresponding elixir is lightly sweetened with beet sugar from Fort Morgan. Baker dubbed it “Expresso” as a nod to the caffeine punch the cold brew delivers.
Sip the rich, dark liqueur straight, mix it into a cocktail, add it to your morning coffee, or pour it over ice cream. In the winter months, we prefer it mixed with whiskey and sipped straight from a flask on the chairlift. For special occasions (or for special people), pick up a bottle of the aged version, which rests in Marble’s rye casks for several months before bottling.
You can enjoy Moonlight Expresso at the Marble Bar in Carbondale and Aspen (150 Main St., Carbondale and 415 E. Dean St, Aspen, respectively) or purchase a bottle ($32.99/750 ml for the regular bottling; $38.99/375 ml for the aged version) just about anywhere alcohol is sold, including Argonaut, Molly’s Spirits, Mondo Vino, and Bottle Shop 33.