Reinventing the Espresso Martini

The Espresso Martini was almost certainly created in London by bartender-extraordinaire Dick Bradsell, in the 1980s. Its traditionally made with a base of (flavourless) vodka, and not technically a martini at all. But it has achieved iconic cocktail status. 

Should we mess with icons? Can icons be improved? Let's see.

25ml Hibernation Gin
25ml Kahlua (or other good quality coffee liqueur)
25ml Espresso coffee
Cherry Brandy (such as de Kuyper XO) (optional)
Powdered Praline (optional, see below)
Handful of ice
Cocktail Shaker
Small atomiser (optional, see below)
Martini or Coupe Glass, chilled

Hibernation is our preferred gin choice here, as we can capitalise on the fruit notes (bilberry, blackberry) in the distillate, and also match flavours to the White Port-barrel aged finish. 

A coffee with naturally fruity aromatic profile is best (speak with your local coffee supplier, our local supremos The Dyfi Roastery were who we worked this recipe out with, and indeed it was at the Dyfi Roastery in Machynlleth where we first served it). 

We then wanted to introduce two further flavours which would bind together the coffee and Hibernation characters even more. After several false starts (nut liqueurs, etc), we arrived at something gorgeous.

Shake the gin, Kahlua and cold coffee 'dry' (that is, without ice) vigorously to activate the crema in the coffee. Then add a handful of ice to the shaker and give it another shake, just to chill the drink.

Strain through the top of the shaker into a chilled martini glass. Spray a little Cherry Brandy over the crema using a small atomiser (one which is food safe. Small perfume ones can be found in larger chemists). If you don't have one, you can incorporate the Cherry Brandy into the initial shake, but use sparingly. Or not at all if you prefer your Espresso Martini without that extra touch of fruit character.

Finally, and optionally, serve a pinch pot of praline dust on the side, which can be sprinkled over to taste. We make our praline* from local foraged cobnuts (hazelnuts), before reducing to a powder in a food blender. 

*Roast 200g blanched hazelnuts (or almonds) in a hot oven to take a little colour. Set aside. Heat 50g sugar with a tablespoon of water in a pan, and boil until caramelised (before it goes too dark). Take off the heat, and mix in the nuts quickly, and put onto a baking tray with some greaseproof paper on it. Once cool, blitz down to a powder.

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