I Experimented With 10 Crazy Espresso Mixers So You Don’t Have To

Espresso Mixer - Champagne
(Jordan Stratton)

Discovering the perfect mixer for espresso is tricky; there’s a fine line between tasty and terrible. Sure, you can always go with the tried and true splash of milk, but where’s the fun in that? You’re not boring—you’re a dang latte pioneer like me!

So whether you’re a new parent fighting to stay awake after being up all night, or just looking for something to help you make it through your Wednesday afternoon staff meeting, it’s hard to go wrong with a quick shot of espresso: The magical brown liquid that somehow manages to bring everyone from dirty, judgmental hipsters to baby boomer Wall Street folk together. But why spend your hard-earned cash on a macchiato from Starbucks when your can make your own caffeinated concoctions at home (in this scenario, like me, you also have an overpriced espresso machine in your kitchen that you’re desperately trying to justify to your wife).

I spent the last week getting suggestions from some helpful—and somewhat sadistic—friends, and experimented with several alternative mixers to possibly discover the next new coffee craze. Could some of these combinations completely revolutionize the espresso industry? Possibly. Could some of them taste so terrible they make you want to stop drinking coffee forever? Very likely. But that’s why I do these things—so you don’t have to.

Orange Juice

Espresso Mixer - Orange Juice
(Jordan Stratton)

Probably the most popular non-coffee-based breakfast beverage, orange juice was an easy choice to try with espresso, if only for matters of convenience. Plus, the idea of getting my daily allotment of caffeine and vitamin C all in one sitting gets me all giddy just from an efficiency standpoint.

Good news: It actually works! The OJ is pretty overpowering, but it blends surprisingly well with the added shot of espresso. This drink is bright, energizing, and tastes how I feel when I watch golden retriever puppy videos.

Champagne

Espresso Mixer - Champagne
(Jordan Stratton)

Adding espresso to champagne seemed like an easy way to #MakeBrunchGreatAgain. A boozy breakfast cocktail with a caffeine kick—I was prepared to make a fortune with the Four Loco fan boys. Unfortunately, something about this combo just tastes off. The fermented sweetness of the wine with the earthy coffee flavors makes for an almost rancid beverage that I look forward to never drinking again. Also, disclaimer: Have extra paper towels handy if you decide to whip this one up.

Maple Syrup

Espresso Mixer - Maple Syrup
(Jordan Stratton)

While not a drink in itself, maple syrup is as much a staple of breakfast as bacon and eggs. Plus, it comes from trees. You know what else comes from trees? Coffee. This logic was bulletproof and I expected perfection.

 

Ok, so it wasn’t perfect. But it wasn’t bad either. The bitterness of the espresso and overt sweetness of the syrup were a little too intense on their own, but a little splash of milk totally transformed it into an adorable little iced maple latte… which I drank… like a man.

Iced Tea

Espresso Mixer - Iced Tea
(Jordan Stratton)

The heated battle between tea-sippers and coffee-guzzlers has gone on long enough. For one especially potent pick-me-up in the middle of the day, I tried combining a shot of espresso with a glass of unsweetened iced tea and was met with surprisingly pleasant results. Something about the earthy quality of both of the drinks turns it into something even better than the sum of its parts. It’s strong, yet refreshing—like a coy grin from John Cena.

Coca-Cola

Espresso Mixer - Coca-Cola
(Jordan Stratton)

This combo that, in theory, makes so much sense, it makes you wonder why Coca-Cola R&D isn’t bottling and selling it by the millions yet. Bitterness balanced by incredible sweetness. Roasted, earthy undertones matched with light, bubbly effervescence. It feels like it should just work, right? I don’t know why I’m drawing this out so much—it is good. Like, really good. I want to drink this every day, forever. I’m literally drinking another glass of it while I type this and, frankly, you should be too.

Lemonade

Espresso Mixer - Lemonade
(Jordan Stratton)

Nothing about this beverage sounded good when a friend, half jokingly, suggested I add it to the list. I could just imagine all the horrible ways the fruity tartness of the lemonade would wreck havoc on my taste buds as it blended with the savory, roasted traits of espresso.

 

Well, I’ve never been so happy to be wrong. This is a weirdly wonderful drink that I anticipate will totally sweep across picnics and barbecues next summer. Lemonade does nothing but accentuate subtle citrus notes in the coffee to brighten up the beverage as a whole.

Cherry Kool-Aid Mix

Espresso Mixer - Cherry Kool-Aid Mix
(Jordan Stratton)

Sprinkling sugar into espresso is a common practice, and Kool-Aid mix is basically just flavored sugar, right? Immediately upon mixing this concoction, I could smell it. It’s dead-on cherry Tootsie Pop scented, which got me really excited to jump in. Big mistake.  This is beyond terrible. It tastes like an ingredient scientists would add to something toxic to make sure children don’t drink it. I think I need to go get my stomach pumped.

Beer

Espresso Mixer - Beer
(Jordan Stratton)

Since using coffee in beer isn’t exactly revolutionary when it comes to stouts and porters, I decided to grab a pumpkin ale from one of my local breweries and plop in a shot. Newsflash: It’s hard for a drink that is 90% beer to be bad. I actually had to try the original sans-coffee version along with it in order to notice the differences because it just kinda works. The espresso cuts some of the spicy sweetness, but adds an additional layer of complexity that sets it apart for a pleasant experience. Oh, and serious foam warning for anyone combining espresso and beer.

Red Wine

Espresso Mixer - Red Wine
(Jordan Stratton)

For those who are far too sophisticated for the frat-tastic beer latte experience, adding a bit of java to your devil’s grape juice seems like a worthy alternative, right? Wrong. Really, you couldn’t be more wrong. If I hadn’t made it myself, I would have assumed someone had blended a cabernet with a healthy tablespoon of dirt. This tastes like mud and sadness and I don’t like any of it. Combining coffee and fermented fruit is a lost cause, people.

Bourbon

Espresso Mixer - Bourbon
(Jordan Stratton)

Ah, yes. Coffee and whiskey: The choice cocktail of beat cops and office alcoholics everywhere. Initially, the strong alcohol flavor simply overpowered any hint of coffee. However, much like a typical bourbon on the rocks, as the ice melted and diluted the drink, the flavors became much more mellow and nuanced. It’s different, but I found myself enjoying it more and more as I continued to sip it. Of course, that could just be the bourbon and unhealthy amount of caffeine talking.

Son Surprises Ailing Dad With Tickets To College World Series

Father’s Day is a special time to celebrate your old man, and show him how much you appreciate the role he’s played in your life all these years. Especially since, as we get older, our dads do too, and they may not have many Father’s Days left.

Matt Lea recognized that this Father’s Day, and so went out of his way to make it a memorable one, for both him and his father, both former college baseball players who bonded over the game as Matt was growing up.

Matt’s father Billy suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and the symptoms have been accruing rapidly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for more memories, and Matt used the latest Father’s Day as an opportunity to do just that. The 36-year-old drove 12 hours, from Florida to Mississippi, and surprised his parents at their doorstep on Sunday.

He was bearing gifts as well, bringing his dad the jersey of his favorite baseball team, Mississippi State. But that wasn’t all. Matt brought tickets too, to see the College World Series in Omaha in person.

In video of the exchange that Matt posted on Twitter, his dad was clearly taken by surprise.

“I figured it’s probably not good enough just for us to watch the game here,” Matt says in the video as he produces the tickets. “How about we go to Omaha? Do you want to go up to Omaha and watch the College World Series together?”

“Golly,” an emotional Billy responds. “You’re gonna break my heart, here.”

Matt’s gift for his dad received a rapturous response from Twitter, where it’s been liked 46,000 times and retweeted 11,000 times.

Matt seemed as surprised by the response as his dad was by the gift, as everyone who celebrated Father’s Day yesterday knows, there’s nothing better than sharing meaningful memories with your dad, which is exactly what Matt did. An article on Omaha.com details Billy’s baseball past, the initial diagnosis of his Alzheimer’s, the VIP experience Matt treated him too over the weekend.

Matt’s Twitter account showcased the rest.

Happy Father’s Day!

Amazing Street Artist Uses Everyday Objects As His Canvas

(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Artist Tom Bob doesn’t see the world like other people. Where you and I might see sewer grates or metal pipes, he sees ghosts and saxophone players.

Check out some of the amazing ways he’s transforming parts of New York City into works of art.

(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Check out more of Tom Bob and his unique artwork here.

Father Figures: Heroes

“On February 2, 2011, my daughter was born. The whole thing started pretty normally about 2:30 am or so, my wife woke me up and said, ‘Honey, it is time to go,’ so we went to the hospital in a snowstorm.

That was the easy part.

When they put the belly monitor on her they noticed that the babies heart rate would drop to low whenever my wife would have a contraction. She needed emergency C-section, but the doctor could not make it due to the storm, and when he finally arrived it was rush rush rush!
Well when my daughter Emily did arrive, she had internal bleeding throughout her body, which included two grade 4 brain bleeds. We could not touch her because she would bruise and start bleeding.
They had to life-flight her to the university, where she spent 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU, which left her (you may want to sit down) deaf/blind, with hydrocephalus, a shunt, cerebral palsy, and seizures (at age 6, she needed a baclofen pump because her CP got too bad to handle without it). She is doing great today. She is happy, loves life, and everyone who meets her says that she makes their day and she is beautiful.
To pay back our little community, I became a first responder, mostly a firefighter, but I did help with EMS. Never got my certification, but that is where I found out that in the U.S. we do not have any training for first responders to deal with children with special needs.
I have made it my personal mission to teach first responders about kids with special needs.
I have taken to Emily to every EMS/Fire station in the five counties around me. I have taken her to the police and sheriff’s departments to train them, and now I have a waiting list to get trained.
I don’t know if I am the hero here, but I needed to tell the story.”

– Mike Kuyper

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Low Cost Cosplay Guy Makes The World A Better Place

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, the genius behind “Low Cost Cosplay,” has amassed millions of followers with his incredible reimaginings of famous fictional characters.

Whether you’re planning on portraying your favorite anime character or a Marvel superhero, this guy can show you how to do it effectively and on a string budget.

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Can’t get enough? Check out more creative cosplay on his Facebook page.

Dad Turns Photos Of Daughter Into Kickass Album Covers

(Instagram/rfosterdesign)

When graphic designer Ryan Foster spotted a somber, black and white photo of his daughter, Harper Lou, it instantly reminded him of a blues album cover. He couldn’t help but throw some graphics onto the image to create her first “album” cover himself.

This has led to a series of album covers featuring Harper Lou, many of which look pretty damn legit. She may not be making actual records yet, but her dad will definitely be ready when she does.

(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)

You can find more awesome album covers as well as other design projects by Ryan on his Instagram.

The 5 Hottest Father’s Day Tech Gifts Your Dad Will Ask To See The Receipt For

(Getty)

Mother’s Day is in the rearview and our annual celebration of everything Dad is fast approaching. Sure, he loved those grilling tongs and Three Stooges boxsets you got him last year. But if there’s one things all dads love, it’s being assured that they’ve genetically passed on their cheapness. Here are 5 Father’s Day gadgets your dad is definitely going to demand the receipt for.

1. A smart speaker

Image result for amazon alexa
Source: Amazon

These have become relatively expensive in recent years. This, of course, isn’t going to stop your dad from assuming it set you back several thousand dollars. Your dad just figured out how to make a Facebook profile. He’s gonna need a minute on talking AI servants.

2. A streaming stick

Image result for roku stick
Source: Roku

“So yeah, you just plug this Roku stick into the TV and you can pretty much watch anything you want.” That’s you. That’s you telling your dad you just spent a boatload of money on a piece of technology. “Instant access to every movie ever made” is your dad’s cue to ask you to retrieve the Best Buy receipt crammed in the console’s cupholder.

3. A dashcam

Image result for dashcam
Source: Amazon

These are great to have in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, your dad is still under the impression it’s 1999 and all digital cameras cost ten million dollars. Be sure to keep this receipt in your wallet, because this thing’s going right back to the store if it ran you how much he thinks it ran you.

4. An e-reader

Image result for e reader
Source: Amazon

What a lovely thought. Your dad, sitting up in bed, every book he could possibly want at his fingertips. What will he read first? A book about World War II? The biography of Henry Ford? The answer is, of course, the receipt for this fancy reading tablet that probably set you back three mortgage payments.

5. A yearly-subscription to a music streaming service

Image result for spotify
Source: Spotify

You just want him to be able to listen to the Doobie Brothers whenever he wants. But by his math, if buying a single song on iTunes costs $1, and Spotifly, as he calls it, gives you access to over four million songs, you’ve essentially just bankrupted your family. Good job. Be sure to keep that receipt handy to prove to him that he can still see his grandkids attend college one day.