RED BANK: ‘COCKTAILS’ AT THE COFFEE CORRAL

061715cofcorralCourtlyn Crosson makes a High Roller, seen below complete with grapefruit foam. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

061715cofcorral2Tired of getting the same old latte or mochaccino from your local coffee shop? Baristas, the mixologists of caffeinated beverages, are raising the bar by creating new and interesting coffee “cocktails.”

Twenty-four-year-old Courtlyn Crosson, barista at the Coffee Corral in Red Bank, brings PieHole up to date on some of the latest innovations.

061715cofcorral4Crosson shakes grapefruit ice balls in a cocktail shaker to create a foamy top for the drink. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

Back from Seattle, where she attended the recent Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual exposition, Crosson has added some new cocktails to the menu.

One’s called a High Roller. Crosson fills a large plastic cup with simple sugar-infused grapefruit juice ice balls. She places the cup under a drip filter holding single-origin – not blended –  Kenya AA coffee grounds. After pouring boiling water over the grounds into the cup, she removes the remnants of the ice balls and puts them into a cocktail shaker, which she gives a good shake. She pours the grapefruit-flavored foam atop the iced coffee and, voila, a High Roller.

It’s a unique flavor combination, and the grapefruit ice does indeed bring out the same fruity undertones of the Kenya AA. At first sip, a bitter taste hits your tongue, but grows on you. The cocktail is cold, refreshing and a little addictive.

The cocktail is one of several Crosson has added at the Corral, which her father, Russ Crosson, opened in April, 2012. At first, she said, she no interest in working there. But for the past year, she’s been putting in 12-hour days and loving it, she said, in part because of the variety she gets to bring to the small shop.

“I changed up the menu, adding protein smoothies and pressed juices, giving customers healthier options,” she says. Crosson has also added an affogatto to the menu for the summer. What’s that? More like a dessert coffee, it features Bali espresso poured over vanilla gelato to create a whimsically sweet treat.

The takeout-only Corral serves egg sandwiches all day long, pastries it gets delivered from Brooklyn, and gluten-free pastries from Papa Ganache in Matawan.

Plans to add outdoor seating and parking to the corner lot are in the works, she says.

Coffee Corral is at 177 Drs. James Parker Boulevard, at the corner of Shrewsbury Avenue. Customers in a rush can text in their orders. Take it here for details.