Tia Maria cocktails are a rich and creamy after-dinner drink that are easy to prepare and can be made in advance. This drinkable dessert that everyone loves is great for entertaining and for the holiday season.
- About Tia Maria Cocktails
- How to Make Tia Maria Cocktails
- Tips for Making Tia Marias
- Frequently Asked Questions
About Tia Maria Cocktails
If you've ever wondered how to drink Tia Maria, you will want to try these! Tia Maria Cocktails are fabulous after-dinner drinks and are a great substitute for dessert. They are basically a boozy milkshake, or in other words, a drinkable dessert that everyone (of drinking age) loves.
My dad makes these for dessert after our Christmas lunch every year, but they are great to serve anytime of the year. Luckily, they are so rich and I am full enough that I only have room for one. Otherwise, I’d be napping the rest of Christmas Day.
Because the only ingredients are ice cream, coffee liqueur, and brandy, they are easy to make but also pretty intense. You're likely going to only need a small glass to feel satisfied. No need to search Tia Maria how to drink, you've now figured out how! (Also, check out the FAQs below for more ideas).
Note: even though you use ice cream to make it, it is not a frozen drink. See the variation tips below or the recipe card for tips on how to turn this into a frozen drink.
Tia Maria: The coffee liqueur used for this drink is Tia Maria (obviously haha), hence the name. You could use another coffee liqueur if that is what you have on hand though.
Brandy: Any brandy is fine. I don't think it's necessary to spend a lot of money on the brandy since the coffee flavors from the ice cream and Tia Maria will be the most prominent. I'm not a brandy connoisseur, so I just buy whatever specifically says "Brandy" on the label (you can see the brand I use in the photo). You can use whatever you have on hand or like to buy.
Quick note on brandy: cognac is a specific type of brandy (like Champagne is a specific type of sparkling wine), so that can be used in this cocktail.
Ice Cream: Honestly, any ice cream you like will be good. We prefer coffee ice cream because it goes well with the coffee liquor, but you could also use chocolate ice cream. Because you are drinking this, I don't recommend using very rich ice cream. Otherwise, your drink might be too rich, as it's already a very rich drink.
- coffee ice cream 48 ounces: $4.99
- Tia Maria coffee liqueur 4 ounces: $5.76
- Brandy 6 ounces: $3.36
TOTAL COST: $14.11 or $1.76/serving (Based on San Diego grocery store 2020)
How to Make Tia Maria Cocktails
Time needed: 5 minutes.
It could not be easier to make these... You just everything into a blender and blend. Here are the steps with photos for exactly how to make Tia Maria Cocktails.
- Add the ice cream, Tia Maria, and brandy to a blender.
- Taste and add more Tia Maria or brandy, if desired.
You can also add coffee or milk.
- Serve, and enjoy!
Tips for Making Tia Marias
The recipe calls for the amount of alcohol I prefer, but feel free to adjust as desired. If you like less intense drinks, cut the amounts in half and add as much as needed. Remember that cocktails are a lot about personal preference, so don't be afraid to change it to meet your needs.
This is not a frozen drink. It's more of a super creamy drink. If you want to make this a frozen drink (like a Bushwacker), you can add 4 cups of ice with the ice cream and alcohol. This will also make your drink have more volume, so serving sizes will be larger.
Ice cream: Use chocolate ice cream for a mocha Tia Maria cocktail or use vanilla for a less pronounced coffee flavor.
How to Make Allergy Friendly
This is already gluten-free. Check your ice cream ingredients list to see if it is egg-free and/or soy-free. Use a dairy-free ice cream for a dairy-free drink.
Alternative Prep & Cooking
If you don't have a blender, let the ice cream thaw completely in the fridge (should take about 12-24 hours). Then whisk in the alcohol until completely incorporated.
You can also use a food processor or stand mixer in place of the blender if desired.
How to Fix a Mistake
It's pretty hard to make a mistake in these drinks, but here a few possible scenarios that you'd need to change when preparing/serving.
Not strong enough: Add extra brandy (by the ounce) until it is as strong as you like it. You can also add a little extra Tia Maria, but it will make the drinks sweeter and doesn't have a strong alcohol taste like brandy does.
Too sweet: If you find these too sweet, add extra brandy (by the ounce). Or you can add milk or cold, unsweetened coffee in 1/2 cup increments.
Too thick or rich: Add milk or cold coffee in 1/2 cup increments to thin. You can also serve over ice to help thin these a little.
Make Ahead Ideas
These can be made ahead of time for up to 24 hours and kept in the fridge. You can also store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks, but you'll need to thaw in the fridge overnight. In fact, my dad does this every year so he doesn't have to bother with the blender after we enjoy our Christmas meal.
Keep these in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. They keep for up to 2 weeks in the freezer and up to 2 days in the fridge. Be sure to store in an airtight container, so it doesn't absorb any flavors from the fridge or freezer which can negatively alter the taste of your Tia Maria Cocktails.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tia Maria is a Jamaican coffee liqueur made from a blend of Jamaican rum, Arabica coffee beans and Madagascar vanilla.
Tia Maria can be enjoyed in cocktails like these ice cream-based drinks or White Russians. You can sip it over ice by itself or mix it with coke, sparkling water, or tonic water. Also, it's great for espresso martinis or mixed into coffee.
It has a strong, sweet coffee and vanilla flavor. The alcohol flavor is very minimal.
Kahlúa is a coffee liqueur made in Veracruz, Mexico. Tia Maria is a coffee liqueur made using Jamaican rum coffee beans (though it is now made in Italy). Tia Maria is a little thinner with a stronger coffee flavor, and Kahlúa is a little thicker and sweeter.
Let's be real... there aren't a ton of "nutrition benefits" to an ice cream-based cocktail. But I don't think we should be eating based solely on the nutrition facts of foods.
This Tia Maria cocktail brings me happy memories of Christmas lunches with my family from even before I drank them... I always think about the crystal glasses the Tia Maria drinks were served in while listening to stories from my grandmother May May who is no longer here.
What to serve with Cocktails with Tia Maria
Well, you definitely need to eat a meal with these so you aren't too tipsy after drinking, so check out any of the main meal recipes. Or as you can see in the photo, I added some soft gingersnap cookies with these drinks for an extra special dessert.
Tia Maria cocktails are one of my favorite holiday traditions, and I think you'll love them too. You can serve these as an after-dinner drink at parties and use them as a substitute for dessert. They are delicious!
MORE BOOZY DRINK RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE:
- Bourbon Hot Chocolate
- Yellow Hammer Drink
- Mango Pineapple Boozy Popsicles
- Piña Colada with coconut milk
- Valentine's Day Gin Cocktail
Tia Maria Cocktails
- 48 ounce coffee ice cream softened
- 4 ounces Tia Maria coffee liqueur
- 6 ounces brandy
- Add the ice cream to a blender. Top with coffee liqueur and brandy.
- Blend until smooth. Enjoy!
What to Use in This Recipe
This post was originally published on December 22, 2017. Text, recipe, and photos have been updated.
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