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14 February, 2020

The Vida Bar’s Secret Iced Coffee

Comments : 2 Posted in : Drink Recipes, Recipes on by : HugoE521

Who doesn’t love coffee!? When I opened the Vida Bar in Elizabeth, NJ, I made it a plan that if we served anything, it would be the best possible version of “it” in town. The bar was located right across the street from a Dunkin’ Donuts and down the street from a few Colombian bakeries. We were in a coffee drinking town and the coffee competition was stiff. To combat it, we only served Portuguese roast coffee (By The Way I love Delta coffee), made sure the entire staff knew how to pull a good shot of espresso and set the rule that touching our grinder settings led to a lifetime banishment.

These steps  (not to mention that unlike those other coffee spots, we could also serve a side of scotch with ours) secured our hot coffee clientele for life. But when summer rolled around, people wanted something cool for their caffeine fix.  We noticed that when the weather started heating up, a few heads began to turn toward that chain coffee for their cold coffee fix. We had to respond fast and well, we were a bar – when you’re thirsty, its our duty to solve the problem right? So we made our iced coffee the only way we knew how: Shaken, not stirred.  The result?  Let’s say we didn’t lose any customers to those other “coffee” places and we didn’t need to spike any servings!

Here’s the original recipe, complete with our secret tip:


  • Bar Shaker
  • Pint Glass
  • Shot Glass
  • Sauce pan
  • Liquid Measuring cup (or a very good eye)


  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • Two shots of strong espresso
  • 1.5 Cups of Whole Milk
  • 1 Shot of Heavy Cream (optional)
  • Vanilla Extract (optional)
  • Fresh ground nutmeg or cinnamon to taste
  • Ice cubes

First things first – you need to load up your secret: the simple syrup. Heat your pan over medium heat.  Add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Stir until all of the sugar is dissolved into a syrup. THIS syrup is your secret weapon. We HATED having to “crunch” on sugar crystals. So we fixed it, bar craft style. You can keep this in the fridge indefinitely.

Fill the pint glass with ice. Fill 3/4 of the glass with milk and the shot of cream (if using). Add 1/2 shot of simple syrup (or more if you want it sweeter). Pour all contents into the shaker. Pull the espressos and add them into the shaker. Then add vanilla, if using. Shake  well. Add ice to the pint glass then strain coffee mixture into into the glass, nice and high to get a good froth. Dust the top with nutmeg or cinnamon to your liking. Serve immediately.

BRUNCH TIP: Replace the heavy cream with a shot of Rumchata, Bailey’s or Advocat for a great wake-me-up-with-a-party and serve with some  Rum-Infused French Toast!

Kudos to the New York Red Bulls for support on the glassware by the way!


2 thoughts on : The Vida Bar’s Secret Iced Coffee

  • Hélène
    July 15, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Can’t wait to test it here at home. I really loved it when I was visiting you. I keep you posted as soon as I tried it

    • HugoE521
      July 18, 2018 at 2:15 am

      Ok! Remember to adjust the milk to your own desired “lightness”

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