The Pumpkin Spice Latte (now with Pumpkin Spice Whip) has some competition. The Espresso Cloud™ IPA has joined Starbucks Evenings menus nationwide as the chain’s first technical cocktail. It riffs on a shakerato (the classic Italian drink where espresso gets shaken till frothy) by borrowing the foam, which is laced with orange and vanilla, to create the head of the beer. The sweetened, citrus-y espresso is then served alongside, in a shot glass, although Starbucks suggests dumping it on top of the IPA, boilermaker style, to presumably create the “espresso cloud” contained in the name.
Here’s R&D team member Justin Burns-Beach explaining how he came up with the innovative idea, to help give it that real Capitol Hill–artisan Seattle feel:
As much sarcasm as the drink might provoke, it is at least more creative than the chain’s past beverages, like, say, a Refresher that substitutes coconut milk for the water. Still, Starbucks advertises that this beer-and-shot idea was “a yearlong assignment” for its R&D team (plenty of time to trademark the name), so it’s asking that customers appreciate the drink as “a truly interactive and unique beverage experience,” rather than throwing the espresso back like a well shot of Wild Turkey.