Fresh off a French-tinged brunch of hash at Westport Café and Bar on Saturday, I was craving a cup of strong coffee so I headed for another one of my district favorites, Doughnut Lounge. (See my previous thoughts on Doughnut Lounge here.)
I planned to order a cortado but it was the Malbec Caramel Latte on their new fall menu that caught my eye. Using an Argentine Malbec wine with notes of plum, black cherry, black currant, chocolate and violet, it is reduced into a caramel sauce then used to flavor the latte. My first taste was an overwhelmingly of red wine, but with each subsequent sip the notes of coffee, caramel and malbec began to blend seamlessly.
According to the bartender, he was at home experimenting with butterscotch for a different recipe while happening to drink red wine. After tasting the butterscotch, he reached for his glass of wine and then realized there was something to the taste combination. After some trial and error the Malbec Caramel Latte was born.
The caramel is savory rather than sweet, a nice change of pace for a syrup that is almost always overpowering. It is too nuanced to enjoy as a daily cup, but if you're looking for a unique fall flavor that hasn't been played out then I highly recommend it. To equate this to one of those "inspirational" quotes that seems to always be in your Instagram feed, be a malbec caramel latte in a world of pumpkin spice.
Photo credit: @doughnutlounge on Instagram
Here is a photo from Doughnut Lounge's social media because trust me, no one wants to see the picture I took. By the time I thought "oh maybe I should take a picture of this" the four little foam hearts strewn across the top of my half-drunk latte were no longer Insta-worthy. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not above having a photo shoot with my lattes – the fact that I dove right in that should tell you a lot about how delicious it is.
The Doughnut Lounge
4117 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City, MO 64111
By Kathryn Greene