I almost gave up on ever visiting The Pioneer Woman’s (Ree Drummond) Mercantile. My husband would never travel that far and none of my friends were as interested in her show or visiting The Merc as I was. Then one day I mentioned it to my daughter…kaching! It just so happened that a band she loves following (Hansen…Mmm-Bop, remember them?) was having some kind of celebratory week-end in Tulsa, OK and the Merc is in Pawhuska, OK. The stars were truly aligned! Since her husband is a real gem who will do almost anything to make her happy (and also loves any excuse for a road trip), we packed the SUV and away we went.

First stop — Tulsa OK for a music filled week-end where Amanda actually got to meet Zak Hanson. (Her teenage dream finally came true) It was pretty funny to see her husband and Zak hit it off.

Onward toward Pawhuska. This is a small town which has boomed since the popularity of The Pioneer Woman cooking show. Ree Drummond truly brings new meaning to ‘supporting local’. She has turned the sleepy downtown into a thriving throng of home rentals, B&Bs and boutiques, as well as their own Boarding House and restaurants. I plan on staying at the Boarding House when I return…notice I said ‘when’ and not ‘if’.

Needless to say, our 2 days spent there were filled with…well, eating. Oh and there was some walking. Yes, we ate 6 meals at the Merc during our 2 day stay, trying to taste as many dishes as possible. Don’t believe me? Take a look…


There were coffees and pastries and savories and sweets, then chicken and meatloaf and even some greens. (Am I sounding a little like Dr. Seuss?) I’m even getting lightheaded right now thinking back at the amount of food we consumed. In between meals we visited parks to entertain the little one, toured the Drummond ranch and even drove through a nearby prairie.

Of all the wonderful meals we had, the one thing I couldn’t wait to get home and re-create was the iced coffee called The Spicy Cowgirl. It was a total surprise that I fell in love with it since I usually don’t like my morning coffee iced, nor am I really into spicy stuff…go figure! Never one to waste a moment’s time on copying a beloved dish or drink I’ve had while traveling, I explored online for the best cold brew coffee method and took it from there. Yea, it got a little messy, but the finished product was totally worth it. (I even saved the cup to drink it in lol…yes, I have problems)

Cold-brew Coffee (This makes a lot, feel free to cut in half)

  1. Mix the ground coffee with the water in a large container. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour the coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all the liquid to run through. Discard the grounds. Refrigerate and use as needed.

Now onto my version of the Spicy Cowgirl, which is way less spicy than the one served at The Merc.

  • 1 ounce vanilla syrup
  • 6 ounces store-bought or homemade cold brew coffee
  • 4 ounces whole milk
  • 1 ounce chile syrup (or use my recipe below)
  • 1 ounce chocolate sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Lightly whip the cream with the vanilla syrup in a bowl, I used a hand whisk for a loose whip.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the cold brew coffee, milk, chile syrup, chocolate sauce and ice, then shake until frothed and combined. Pour into an ice-filled glass, top with vanilla whipped cream to cover and dust with cinnamon.
  3. If you’re brave with your spice, add 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper with the cinnamon like they do at The Merc.

For my chile syrup I made a simple syrup by adding 1 cup sugar to 1 cup simmering water until the sugar was dissolved. I added a sliced jalapeno pepper (seeds and all) and let it steep for about an hour or 2. Strain and refrigerate.
*This is also good to add to cocktails for a nice spicy kick!