Freedom tastes weird and awesome.

Tony and I played hookie this past Friday the 13th to go see the Vodou: Sacred Powers of Haiti exhibit at the Field Museum. We kicked off the day with giant plates full of vegan biscuits and gravy from West Town Bakery and then spent about two hours poking around the museum looking at the exhibit (which was awesome) and marveling at the museum’s massive collection of taxidermied birds until we got sick of being around so many other humans and headed to Uptown for coffee.

I have an Indie Coffee Passport, so I’ve been on a mission to check out other shops around the city besides my beloved Osmium, Wormhole, Bad Wolf and Bowtruss. So far I’ve had a decent soy latte at Ch’ava Cafe (which then almost immediately went out of business… I claim no responsibility for that), a really goddamn good Lumberjack latte at Cup & Spoon, and an unremarkable drip coffee from Caffe Streets served by a barista who could not have given less of a shit to be helping me.

So, we headed over to Everybody’s Coffee to see what it was all about. First impression: sweet fancy Jesus, this place is huge! There was a bearded gentleman demoing various brewing methods and hosting a tasting – his careful technique made me flash to the Fred Armisen episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee:

They actually were very helpful and friendly, though. So I apologize for assuming you were coffee hipsters, Everybody’s Coffee.

OK, and now for the part that blew my mind: The Vader. It’s quite simple, actually. It’s Mexican Coke and a shot of vanilla syrup, topped with espresso. It’s served iced – in a plastic cup, which surprised me because Tony’s fancy ass tea came on a wooden slab with a custom cut-out for the brew timer. But maybe the plastic cup is part of the charm, because this thing was fucking amazing. The barista cautioned me not to stir it “unless you like it foamy” so I carefully carried my pitch-black concoction to my table an took a sip.

The delicious weirdness leaps onto your tongue and hits you in the roof of the mouth first with the one-two punch of sugary Coke and vanilla syrup and then the smooth, bitter finish of espresso. The oily crema from the espresso sits on top of the drink, and slowly sinks to the bottom as you sip. So the first few tastes are unique from each other – some incredibly sweet, others quite bitter – until the coffee and Coke find their meeting place in the middle and it just kind of turns into this caramelly goodness. But I wouldn’t recommend stirring it, because those first weird sips are fun.

ontheshelf_mexican_coke_6pack_1Do you guys remember Coca-Cola BlāK? I’d forgotten all about it until I posted photos of The Vader on Instagram and people reminded me that it existed. I don’t remember trying it when it was on the market, but now that I’ve experienced an Americoke, I’m actually glad it was discontinued because the convenience of being able to just buy this whenever I want it would mean certain doom for my dental work.

Of course, that didn’t stop me from making my own version at home today, which actually tasted pretty close to what I had at Everybody’s Coffee – plus, I split this one with Tony so I didn’t have the three hours of intestinal regret that the cafe-bought version gave me.  (Because if I get a 16 oz drink, I’m going to drink all 16 oz of it, god damn it.)

Fair warning – this is another “recipe” that would put me on the One Green Planet naughty list along with Falafel Waffle and Doritos-Crusted Tofu but these parentheses contain all the fucks I give about that (           ).  Yes, you could probably make a version with some weird hippy cola, and if you do, more power to you. But if you’re going to use Coke, make sure it’s Mexican Coke because it’s sweetened with cane sugar, and lacks the chemical after taste of regular Coke. I used my AeroPress to brew my espresso shots, but if you have an espresso machine – by all means!


By BakeandDestroy Published: February 15, 2015

  • Yield: 2 Servings

I never said this was even remotely good for you. Please remember that when leaving comments. It is literally Coke mixed with vanilla sugar syrup and coffee.



  1. Fill two 8 oz glasses with ice cubes. Pour 6 oz of Mexican Coke into each glass.
  2. Add 1 tsp of vanilla syrup to each glass, stir.
  3. If you're using an Aeropress, set it up directly over the glass and brew one shot at a time directly into the iced Coke mixture - this preserves the crema, as opposed to brewing into another container and pouring it in. (If you can fit the glass under your espresso machine, brew the shot directly into the iced mixture.)
  4. Drink with a straw - try the first sip without stirring, then if you like, stir. Some people like to add cream (soy cream works too).

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