The NYC Special From Lainey Collum

June 20, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by Alex Lau
  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

Lainey Collum lives in San Francisco now, but she created this drink when she worked for the Pass and Provisions (which unfortunately closed in May 2019). For her, this drink represents the melting pot that is Houston: Vietnamese-style iced café de olla inspired the use of sweetened, condensed milk; Mexican coffee inspired the cinnamon; and, of course, there’s good old American Coca-Cola. —Julia Bainbridge

Test Kitchen Notes

Reprinted with permission from Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Recipes for When You’re Not Drinking for Whatever Reason by Julia Bainbridge, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • The NYC Special
  • 1 ounce coffee syrup (recipe follows)
  • 1 ounce sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 ounces Coca-Cola
  • 1 whole whole star anise pod, for garnish (optional)
  • Coffee Syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup medium-coarse ground coffee, preferably a fruity Ethiopian blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 star anise pod
  1. The NYC Special
  2. Combine the syrup and condensed milk in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, seal the shaker, and shake for 10 to 15 seconds, until well chilled. Double-strain into a collins glass filled with fresh ice, then top with the Coca-Cola. Gently stir with a barspoon to incorporate. To serve, float the star anise on the foam, if using.
  1. Coffee Syrup
  2. In a small saucepan, combine 3⁄4 cup water with the cinnamon over medium heat and bring to a boil. Whisk in the sugar, coffee, and vanilla; turn the heat down to low; and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Add the star anise, stir the mixture once, and remove from the heat. Let cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Then fine-strain the mixture, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible, and discard the solids. Store the syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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Julia Bainbridge is an editor who has worked at Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, Yahoo Food, and Atlanta Magazine and a James Beard Award-nominated writer whose stories have been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, among others. Her book, Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Recipes for When You're Not Drinking for Whatever Reason, was named one of the best cookbooks of 2020 by the Los Angeles Times and Wired and Esquire magazines. Julia is the recipient of the Research Society on Alcoholism's 2021 Media Award and she is one of Food & Wine magazine's 25 first-annual "Game Changers" for being "a pivotal voice in normalizing not drinking alcohol."

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