How To Make The Ultimate Espresso Martini | SLMan
How To Make The Ultimate Espresso Martini
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The espresso martini is a cold, coffee-flavoured cocktail made with vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur and sugar syrup. It’s not actually a true martini as it contains neither gin nor vermouth, but it’s one of several drinks that calls itself a martini anyway. We asked four top bartenders what makes it so good and how to make the ultimate espresso martini at home.
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JOE MCCANTA – GREY GOOSE

What does an espresso martini mean to you?
It’s a step-change kind of drink. When you order one, you know that it’s a signal – let’s have fun. It’s also a drink, like the classic martini, that is only as good as its base ingredients – there really is nowhere to hide.

Where did you discover it? 
When I was bartending in New York in the early 2000s. Vodka was everywhere at the time and – thankfully – the third wave of coffee meant there was incredible espresso around, so the drink became ubiquitous.

What are its definitive ingredients? 
Really great wheat vodka. The wheat in the vodka gives the drink a delightfully subtle sweetness. Of course, I prefer Grey Goose, distilled once and filtered so lightly to create a rich, full-bodied flavour which really shines through in the espresso martini. Another key element is freshly brewed espresso. At the moment I love a single-origin Brazilian coffee. Following that a nice coffee liqueur – I would go with Mr Black for a classic, or Patrón XO Cafe for a lovely twist. Finally, I have a secret ingredient – salt. It is an extraordinary flavour enhancer and just a pinch of fleur de sel brings the cocktail to a whole different level.

How do you serve it?
Mix all of the ingredients the shaker. I use fresh espresso, so ‘dry shake’ (without ice) the ingredients first to cool everything to the same temperature. Then fill the shaker to the top with ice and shake like you mean it. There’s nothing worse than an espresso martini that hasn’t been shaken properly. I like to double strain into a chilled cocktail glass ­– the double straining removes any unwanted sediment from the fresh coffee and creates an amazing, creamy ‘head’. Finally garnish with three beans. This is the original garnish, and it goes back to the man who created the drink, Dick Bradsell, with the three beans representing health, wealth and happiness.

What’s the difference between a good espresso martini and a great one?
It really comes down to the quality of the ingredients – and especially using a vodka that is full-bodied, has a little sweetness and doesn’t get lost in the mix.

When do you tend to drink one?
I really love serving the drink at what I call ‘the new third course’ – it is a brilliant alternative to a dessert at the end of the meal, or after a dessert as the perfect finale.
 

Joe’s Ultimate Espresso Martini Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml of Grey Goose vodka
  • 30ml of single-origin espresso
  • 20ml of coffee liqueur
  • 1 pinch of fleur de sel (French salt)

METHOD

  1. Shake vigorously.
  2. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with three fresh whole espresso beans.

Visit GreyGoose.com

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Arjun Haszard – Quick Brown Fox Coffee Liqueur

What does an espresso martini mean for you?  
Whenever I see espresso martinis coming out, I get a fluttery feeling. It’s the anticipation of the good night that’s about to follow. Every time.

Where did you discover it? 
My first espresso martini was in Toast Bar in Dunedin, New Zealand, a small owner-operated cocktail bar where they make drinks to order. It was the first of many. 

What are its definitive ingredients? 
Fresh espresso gives the most richness and depth, but there is skill in getting optimal extraction. There is a benefit to using cold-brew concentrate – it’s consistent and already cold, which makes it perfect for making them at home or batching up large volumes.

Any secret tips? 
If you consider the coffee as the base of the cocktail rather than the spirit, I think it helps. The next thing to do is make sure the coffee is perfectly balanced with alcohol and sweetness. Vodka is neutral in flavour and if the coffee isn’t over extracted (and thus bitter) you only need a touch of sweetness to bridge the two.

What’s the difference between a good espresso martini and a great one? 
The perfect balance of sweetness and depth. A good espresso martini may be a tad bitter, but a great espresso has depth, and you don’t taste any sweetness, just a harmony.

When do you tend to drink one? 
The espresso martini is the perfect drink when you’re being social, and I believe you only ever need one – even though you might want more than one. If you’re going to only have one, make it special and use the best ingredients you can.
 

Arjun’s Ultimate Espresso Martini Recipe

If you’re at home, try a hot chocolate espresso martini. You can drink it hot or cold – a comforting drink for troubling times.

INGREDIENTS

  • 30ml of espresso or cold brew concentrate
  • 30ml of spiced rum
  • 30ml of Quick Brown Fox
  • 60ml of milk
  • 2 squares of dark chocolate

METHOD

  1. Heat the milk and dark chocolate in a bowl over a pot of boiling water.
  2. In a shaker add all the other ingredients. Shake and strain into a glass.
  3. Add the milky chocolate (or, if cold, add it to the shaker). Garnish with grated chocolate.

Visit QuickBrownFox.co.nz

 

Oskar Kinberg – Hide

What does an espresso martini mean to you?
It's the ultimate kick-off to a night where the company is so good you never want to go to bed. 

Where did you discover it?  
I was first taught to make a version of it when I first started working in bars in 2005. There are probably as many recipes and variations of the espresso martini as there are of a beef wellington, and each one is the best. 

Which vodkas work best?
To be honest I don't really think the vodka matters that much. Coffee is a strong flavour and tends to mask any other flavours you put in there. But I would go for the most expensive one just to be sure. A good-quality coffee is the most important bit.

Where did you discover it?  
I was first taught to make a version of it when I first started working in bars in 2005. There are probably as many recipes and variations of the espresso martini as there are of a beef wellington, and each one is the best. 

Which vodkas work best?
To be honest I don't really think the vodka matters that much. Coffee is a strong flavour and tends to mask any other flavours you put in there. But I would go for the most expensive one just to be sure. A good-quality coffee is the most important bit.

How do you serve it?
Classic, straight up, with three coffee beans on top. All good things come in threes.

Any secret tips?  
Purists will probably roll their eyes, but I like to add a small mint leaf. It doesn't really change the flavour or anything but does bring a certain freshness to the cocktail. I also prefer to make mine with cold espresso as opposed to straight from the machine (I like Mr Black). That way, there’s less chance of over-diluting the drink.

What’s the difference between a good espresso martini and a great one?​
I think a lot of it is in the texture. You want it really fluffy, like a poodle or a cloud. In order to get this right, you need a really hard, borderline offensive shake with lots of ice.
 

Oskar’s Ultimate Espresso Martini Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml of vodka
  • 25ml of coffee liqueur
  • 5-10ml of sugar syrup (1:1 water:sugar)
  • 50ml of cold espresso
  • 1 small mint leaf

METHOD

  1. Shake with lots of ice and double strain into a cocktail glass.
  2. Garnish with three coffee beans.  

Visit Hide.co.uk
 

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Fabio Lupica, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences

What does an espresso martini mean to you?
It makes me think of a quote by Frank Sinatra: “Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.”

Where did you discover it?  
The American Bar at the Savoy when I first arrived in London. I was looking for a drink to enjoy and feel a kick at the same time – it was a great discovery.

What are its definitive ingredients?
Ketel One vodka has a very round and smooth body that simultaneously gives the impression of sweetness and spice. Nespresso Nicaragua has a satiny smooth texture and warming sweet cereal notes. Its distinct sweetness comes from the rare black-honey process. Plus, cold brew coffee liquor, as the palate is rich with notes of coffee, caramel, sweet almonds, liquorice and smooth dark chocolate.

Which vodkas work best? 
Ketel One is an ultra-smooth vodka with no frills. It is truly one of the cleanest vodkas you will come across and an absolute delight when chilled or served over ice.

How do you serve it?
I love my espresso martini extremely cold – the glass has to be chilled for at least 20 minutes.

Any secret tips?  
Try to use a coffee liqueur with low sugar, and if you want to get more foam, shake the mixture without ice.

What’s the difference between a good espresso martini and a great one? 
Freshly brewed espresso ensures that your espresso martini is as frothy as possible. It doesn't need to be too sweet either. Use plenty of ice and shake very hard – the more aggressive the shaking, the more foam there will be.

When do you tend to drink one? 
I would say the best time is from 4pm to late night.
 

Fabio’s Ultimate Espresso Martini Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml of Ketel One
  • 1 espresso shot
  • 7ml of sugar syrup
  • 15ml of Bordeaux cold brew coffee liqueur 

METHOD

  1.  Fill a shaker with ice. 
  2. Add the syrup, coffee shot, coffee liqueur and vodka.
  3. Shake hard for 20 seconds.
  4. Double strain using a julep strainer and a fine strainer into a coupe glass, garnish with three coffee beans.

Visit AthenaeumHotel.com
 

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