The brand of spirit you select will also determine your cocktail’s flavor. Smirnoff Kissed Caramel vodka is on the sweeter side (and wicked budget-friendly.) If you prefer your caramel a little saltier, Effen and Stoli both make killer salted caramel varieties with savory burnt caramel, toffee, and vanilla notes. Pinnacle makes a sweet-salty version that sits right in the middle.
Even though we’re specifying an iced drink, this boozy treat would also be delicious served hot. (Step aside, Bailey’s; there’s a new coffee superstar in town.) Although, if the iced version is more your style, we do have one pro tip to offer: To avoid over-dilution with regular ice, if you have some extra prep time, make a quick batch of ice cubes from frozen cold brew or frozen cream. For a hot version, feel free to stir in a spoonful of homemade salted caramel sauce (which takes less than 20 minutes to batch up, using our recipe).
This caffeinated cocktail is a killer pick-me-up on dog-tired weekends, or as an evening digestif that’ll stave off an impending after-dinner food coma. As an added bonus, that bottle of caramel vodka will make a useful addition to your home bar for other drinks. Use it to add a sweet touch to your next espresso martini, or substitute it for bourbon in a Mississippi Mudslide. You could even add it straight into a mug of hot apple cider when the leaves start to turn.