There are coffee lovers, and there are cocktail lovers. While one seeks for the smoky jazz of caffeine to get them through the day, the other loves the chill buzz that sweeps them through the evening. But for those who can’t choose between a good cup of joe and a perfect aperitif, mixologists have created the espressotini, a drink to serve both masters.
The classification of espressotinis as martinis is debatable by experts. As it includes neither gin nor vermouth, it is not a classic martini in any sense. The drink comes from the growing popularity of vodka martinis, which substitute the subtle taste of vodka for the spicier kick of gin. Some definitions now classify a martini as any drink usually served in a martini glass, and the espresso-vodka drink falls into this category.
The history of the drink is murky, but most likely the drink derived from popular after-meal coffee drinks, such as Irish Coffees. These drinks, usually served hot, have long been popular meal-endings for those not wishing desserts. The espressotini, by contrast, is a cold beverage usually served as an aperitif, but enjoyable anytime.
The essential ingredients of an espressotini are a shot of espresso and vodka, although some recipes substitute coffee or dried espresso crystals for the caffeine portion. The vodka used is often vanilla flavored, but recently espresso flavored vodkas have also appeared on the market.
If you have a home espresso machine, try brewing your espresso at double strength to increase the coffee flavor. Espresso shots should be cooled in the refrigerator or freezer before adding to the cocktail shaker, as hot espresso will melt the ice and result in a weaker, watered-down drink. If you do not have an espresso machine, try double-brewing coffee to concentrate the flavor.
To make a basic espressotini, combine equal parts of espresso and vodka and shake over ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a martini glass. To garnish the drink, try placing a chocolate covered espresso bean at the bottom of the glass or a sprinkling few fresh coffee grounds on top. After combining these basic ingredients, cocktail recipes branch out into many variations, based on the taste of the consumer.
For a mocha version of this coffee cocktail, try adding a chocolate liqueur to the mix, such as crème de cacao or Godiva® Chocolate Liquor. Other variations call for Kahlua or Irish crème to be added. Fruit flavored espressotinis are also popular, with recipes calling for raspberry or orange liqueur. To make an espressotini shake, toss the liqueur and espresso into a blender with two scoops of coffee or vanilla ice cream. This version is considered by experts to be cheating, as it is not truly a martini, but it’s tasty nonetheless.
Although it is doubtful that the espressotini will overtake the popularity of the classic martini, it has a large number of fans. People suffering from post-work blues find the drink an excellent way to wake up and enjoy the evening. Certainly, for those who always wished for a refreshing combination of caffeine and alcohol, the espressotini is a welcome innovation.