Because I, like many Americans, am reliant on a jolt of caffeine to make mornings possible, I’m always on the hunt for new and creative ways to jazz up a boring cup of joe. For all the talk about fruity flavors and nutty aromas, coffee is merely a vehicle to wake me up, not a delicious flavor experience. That was, until I discovered Appalachian Sippin’ Cream.
Made with unaged whiskey (read: legal moonshine), this sweet cream liqueur is sort of like an American riff on classic Irish cream and is available in flavors like butter pecan, banana pudding, and “electric orange.” I’d never heard of Appalachian Sippin’ Cream, made by Sugarlands Distilling in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, until my mom threw a small jar of the stuff into my Christmas stocking. Taking her advice, I poured a slug into my morning coffee and now I can’t stop.
As much as I enjoy a classic shot of french vanilla Coffeemate, Appalachian Sippin’ Cream is better than anything you can find at the grocery store. Sippin’ Cream adds sweetness, velvety texture, and just the tiniest hint of booze, making even the most miserably brewed coffee taste creamy and delicious. It doesn’t have all those weird emulsifiers and extreme amounts of sugar that give regular flavored coffee creamer that thick, strange mouthfeel. And because it’s only 40 proof, throwing a tablespoon or so into a mug of coffee isn’t enough to bring on a mild buzz for even the lightest-weight drinkers, and that’s preferable in the morning considering that we’re expected to do annoying things like “commute to work” and “perform labor in exchange for money” as functional members of society.
If, for you, any amount of alcohol in the morning just seems unacceptable, it’s worth noting that Appalachian Sippin’ Cream is also pretty excellent in the evenings, stirred into a mug of black tea or hot cocoa, perfect for sipping while lounging with a book. The distillery’s website also lists a number of recipes that use the libation as a substitute in desserts like bread pudding and pound cake, both of which sound absolutely incredible.
Equally, I enjoy the fact that this boozy coffee creamer has a connection to one of the most absurd reality shows in American television history — Discovery’s Moonshiners. Set in rural Tennessee and other Appalachian locales, the show follows the exploits of moonshiners like the legendary Jim Tom Hedrick as they traipse through the mountains making illegal booze. Many of the show’s stars have made their way into the legal whiskey game with their own branded moonshines with Sugarlands Distilling, like Jim Tom’s unaged rye or a cinnamon-flavored ‘shine created by moonshiner Steven Ray Tickle.
Appalachian Sippin’ Cream isn’t directly affiliated with the Moonshiners crew, or its namesake region’s long and storied moonshine history, but it’s now a tradition in this house. Thanks to its versatility, and irresistibly creamy flavor, the liqueur has earned a permanent place on my bar cart.