Sight is the first indicator of whether our cocktail will taste good. Our eyes tell us that it will be flat and tasteless, regardless of whether we’ve had one sip.
What’s the secret behind making frothy espresso martini?
The secret to a frothy espresso martini is a freshly made shot of espresso, shaking the living daylights out of all the ingredients in a shaker and straining it through a fine tea strainer. As easy as that. The secret is to get as much air as possible into the mixture because this will create froth.
We’ll look at how the espresso martini came to be and the ingredients for making an espresso martini. Next, we’ll look at the tools you’ll need to make an espresso martini and finally offer you some troubleshooting tips if things don’t turn out exactly as you expected.
What Is an Espresso Martini?
The best of both worlds, if you ask us! Coffee and vodka? What could be better?
As the story goes, a ‘top model’ asked legendary London-based bartender Dick Bradsell to mix her a drink that would “wake me up and f**k me up” simultaneously. And so, the espresso martini was born.
It is the perfect pick-me-up after dinner or something to mix up after a tiring day at the office.
The most important part of mixing cocktails is always the ingredients. Fresh is always best. Always. So let’s break down the elements to make the best, frothiest espresso martini ever.
An espresso machine is indispensable when making frothy espresso martinis.
The secret to a frothy top on your espresso martini is the oils and CO2 inside the coffee beans. Without the crema, you won’t have a frothy espresso martini.
You’ll also need to chill the espresso shot quickly—pour it into a shaker with ice and strain immediately to avoid an over-diluted drink.
Please, if you can, avoid using instant coffee because it will never deliver the foam you need to make this impressive cocktail.
Vodka and a coffee liqueur like Kahlua are the go-to options. Some bartenders opt for vanilla vodka, which adds a hint of sweetness and another level of taste to the cocktail.
Using vanilla vodka is not 100% necessary, but if you have it on hand, use it.
Kahlua, a coffee-based liqueur, is the go-to and traditional option. It also helps to add the foam you need to an espresso martini.
Some recipes call for creme de cacao mixed with half Kahlua to give it sweetness. Substitute it for coffee-based liqueur. Sugar syrup is added to take the bitter edge off the cocktail.
Without the proper tools, you’ll also have difficulty achieving the perfect frothiness.
It goes without saying that chilled martini (or coupe) glasses are imperative. You’re serving a chilled cocktail, and another way of preserving your froth is chilled glasses.
You can make an espresso martini and many other cocktails with a shaker.
For home bartenders and mixology enthusiasts, the Parisian or Calabrese shakers are probably the easiest because they don’t involve two parts that fit into one another.
Just be careful—the top can come loose and spill your drink all over.
An alternative and the choice of pro bartenders is the Boston shaker—a glass and tin cup fitting into one another with the liquid forming the seal.
No matter which shaker you choose, a shaker is essential to incorporate air into the cocktail.
Without the proper technique, your espresso martini will look flat and one-dimensional.
Read on to discover some of the tricks.
You’re gonna shake those ingredients until you can’t shake no more, and then a little more.
Shaking the ingredients incorporates air into the mixture helps to cool all the elements, and you’ll end up with the best frothy espresso martini ever.
Pouring and Straining
While some cocktail shakers have a built-in strainer, they aren’t the best option for a frothy espresso martini. You’ll need a fine strainer to get the perfect foam on top.
We’ve found that a tea strainer with a handle works best. If you are making two cocktails simultaneously, pour both glasses half-full and return to the top with foam.
Sometimes your ingredients just won’t work together, and you’ll end up with a thin layer of foam that disappears after a while.
What can you do?!
Pro Tip 1
Shake, shake, shake. The key is to shake as hard as possible to incorporate as much air into the mixture.
Pro Tip 2
Always use the freshest ingredients, especially coffee.
If your cocktail lacks froth, try adding ½ oz of Kahlua and ½ oz creme de cacao to a shaker, put all the ingredients back, and shake vigorously again. This should do the trick.
Pro Tip 3—The Secret if All Else Fails
If your espresso martini still isn’t foaming, try adding a half teaspoon of aquafaba before you mix it all up. That’s the liquid with a jar of garbanzo beans (chickpeas).
It does not affect the flavor and will ensure a fabulous frothy top that lasts a long time. And you’ll still have a vegan-friendly cocktail.
Alternatively, you can look to the Whiskey Sour for inspiration—it uses egg whites to ensure a nice foam on top.
The key is to ‘dry shake’ all the ingredients before adding the ice to provide all the ingredients are combined thoroughly.
There you have it—the secret to making an espresso martini frothy. It all comes down to the freshest ingredients, shaking vigorously and straining them carefully to preserve the foam.
Suppose you follow the instructions carefully for your chosen recipe and shake. In that case, you’re guaranteed to end up with frothy espresso every time.
And, when all else fails, refer to the secret tip to bypass the problems altogether.