The known and loved Espresso Martini was originally known as the “Vodka Espresso”, created in the ‘80s by Dick Bradsell for a high-end model who wanted something to “wake her up and f*ck her up at the same time” – or so the story says. Since then, the Espresso Martini has come a long way, and today I’ll be making two versions of it: a small riff on the classic using everyone’s favorite summer spirit, rum, and an elevated version that you’ll be able to pre-batch for your upcoming nightly get-togethers throughout this scorching heat wave. In addition, today’s cocktails will be extra special as we were able to partner with the world’s best coffee liqueur, Mr.Black, which uses specialty grade 100% arabica coffee beans, no artificial ingredients or flavors and it’s not overly sweet, allowing you to balance the cocktails the way you like it.
Let’s start with the classic! Although I’ll be using rum, you can of course swap the main spirits to make the classic (vodka), Jalisco (tequila), or Kentucky (whiskey) versions of these drinks.
● 45 mL (1.5 oz) Havana 3y
● 30 mL (1 oz) Mr. Black
● 1 shot (30 mL - 1 oz) of freshly brewed espresso
● 7.5 mL (1 barspoon) rich demerara syrup
● 2 drops saline solution
Start by chilling the shaker, then add the lightly aged Havana 3-year-old rum, followed by an ounce of Mr. Black and a shot of espresso, which will bring exactly what we want to the front - coffee. Dick added sweetener as well, and a barspoon of rich demerara syrup will give this just enough sweetness, with 2 drops of saline solution highlighting the espresso flavors even further. Add the ice and shake as hard as you can, to froth up the espresso crema. A fresh espresso, a hard shake, and a double strain should always be enough for the perfect look of the Espresso Martini, but make sure to not forget the classic garnish - 3 beans of coffee, representing health, wealth, and happiness.
As good as the classic Espresso Martini is, adding a different base spirit gives it something extra. Mr. Black also brings additional freshness thanks to the cold brew, with espresso providing just enough bitterness so it’s not a sweet cocktail. But in its core it’s still a creamy delight that gets you ready for a long night. Thank you to the ‘80s, and thank you to Dick Bradsell.
Now let’s elevate this cocktail with a new approach. For this one we won’t use espresso, but the core ingredient in Mr.Black - cold brew. Here’s how I’ll make mine.
● 100 g specialty coffee
● 800 g cold, filtered water
● 3 g orange peels (leave out if your coffee already has citrus notes)
For the cold brew, I went to a local coffee roaster, to get the best quality and to support somebody who I know is sourcing his coffee ethically, deciding on the Ethiopia Negussie Gemeda, a full-bodied specialty coffee with a chocolatey creamy mouthfeel, complemented by the pleasant sweet and acidic notes of currants and apricots. I mixed 100 g of our specialty coffee with 800 grams of cold, filtered water, and added 3 grams of orange peels, which will add enough essential oils to add some sweet citrus notes, leaving it to steep in the fridge for 16 hours - we don’t want our coffee to be weak, since it’s replacing the espresso from the original cocktail, but it shouldn’t be too strong either, since it will be the only dilution of our cocktail.
After 16 hours have passed, I took a chemex with a rinsed coffee filter and filtered our homemade cold brew, which will provide less acidity and bitterness since no heat was added. As for the leftover ground coffee, there’s plenty of ways you can re-use it, I went with an interesting garnish to dip amarena cherries in, made by taking a couple of spoonfuls of the grounds, spreading it out evenly on a baking tray and letting it sun-dry completely (this way I’m at least using this heatwave for something good - air drying). One afternoon was enough, but just feel it and you’ll know if it’s dry enough and ready to be ground into an even finer powder with a mortar and pestle. To give it additional chocolate notes, add some cocoa powder, to taste – which is not something you'll hear me say often. This dry “rub” is what I’ll later dip my amarena cherry in.
Cold Brew Nitrotini
● 420 mL (14 oz) Cold Brew
● 210 mL (7 oz) Havana 7y
● 180 mL (6 oz) Mr. Black
● 135 mL (4.5 oz) Cocchi di Torino
● 16 drops saline solution
We are now ready to build the cocktail, adding the ingredients into an iSi Nitro siphon, making sure we don't overfill it, but of course take advantage of the fact this can be pre-batched. Mix the ingredients then charge the siphon with two nitrous (N2) charges, shaking it well after adding each of the chargers. And for reference iSi claims it’s OK to charge this with 2 chargers, for a more intense flavor. This will also give our cocktail an incredibly creamy texture with a velvety foam crown. And a visual effect you know from Guinness beer. But before we can see that we need to properly chill the cocktail, so place the siphon in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or chill it quicker with an ice bath, if you’re in a hurry. This pre-batched cocktail should be good under pressure in the fridge for up to 7 days.
To see the full cascading effect of the nitro cocktail, I recommend serving it in an unchilled Nick&Nora glass. Take a cocktail pick and garnish the cocktail with an amarena cherry (dipped halfway into our reused coffee from the cold brew) - the coffee-cherry-chocolate notes will tie it nicely with the fruitiness of rum and sweet vermouth. Now you are ready to enjoy the Nitrotini!
Strong coffee and a subtle floral aroma with orange essential oils and even cherry coming through. On the palate, Mr.Black and our Cold Brew make sure you know this is a relative of the Espresso Martini, with rum & vermouth adding some funkiness. These flavors work together exceptionally well, and you’ll be eyeing that siphon for a refill. But leave that for friends and just go for dessert. A cherry on top of this coffee delight.
If you’d like to try out this and other cocktails that feature Mr. Black and create some of your own, you’ll find Mr.Black all over the US, UK, Australia and 10 other countries. In addition, you can find a special competition for the US & UK members of the Cocktail Time family on their website, where you’ll have a chance to win ’The Ultimate Coffee Cocktail Kit’ with a Mr·Black Gift Card (in the value of $100 or £75), a premium bar tool kit, and even a Nespresso machine! Espresso Martinis for everyone!
Good luck for the competition, Friends of Cocktails!
Register to the Mr. Black cocktail competition here: https://mrblack.co/mr-black-x-kevin-kos-competition/ (all you need is to sign up, that’s it!)
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To make it easier for you to try these recipes you can grab the bottles from my collection at CURIADA.