“Like sex and religion, people have a connection with coffee that runs deep,” says Tom Baker, co-founder of Mr Black, a locally made, cold-press coffee liqueur.
Baker’s interest in both coffee and liqueur makes him a passionate fan of the espresso martini. He’s been spruiking the cocktail since launching Mr Black in 2012.
“People care about coffee and what’s in it,” says Baker. “That’s the same with cocktails.”
The espresso martini – traditionally made using vodka, coffee liqueur, a shot of espresso and ice – has been a long-standing favourite since it was introduced 30 years ago.
“It’s that perfect Friday afternoon drink when you know you should go home but you end up going out,” says Baker.
Baker says the range of complexities and notes in different coffees makes it ideal for matching the profiles of spirits. And what’s the secret to a good espresso martini?
“High-quality ingredients,” says Baker. “Otherwise, forget about it. When made poorly it really is undrinkable. It has to have beautiful fresh coffee and high-quality coffee liqueur.”
Baker has concocted two different takes on the coffee cocktail. The first, aptly named The Distiller’s Choice, adds in 10ml of Talisker 10 Year Old Scotch Whisky. “A lot of people are surprised, but whisky really works well with coffee,” Baker says. “10ml gives off a lot of spiciness and warmth.”
His second offering, El Jefe (or “The Boss” in Spanish), is inspired by coffee tequila. “Let’s be honest, coffee tequila isn’t the greatest product but it seems to sell quite well,” says Baker. “This is a way of pairing tequila and coffee in a high-quality way.”
Cold-brew is used for the drink – bypassing the more bitter-tasting espresso – and provides hints of chocolate and nuts.
For those making it at home, Baker says a jam jar can be ideal as both a shaker and a glass.
“Shake it, add a straw in there and you’re good to go,” he says.
Makes one. Approx. 1.6 standard drinks.
40ml Don Julio Reposado
20ml Mr Black
30ml cold-brew coffee
10ml agave syrup
Shake all ingredients, then double-strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with chocolate powder.
The Distiller’s Choice
Serves one. Approx. 1.6 standard drinks.
30ml Mr Black
20ml Ketel One Vodka
10ml Talisker 10 Year Old Scotch Whisky
10ml sugar syrup
Orange rind and skin
Add ingredients to a shaker. Shake and double-strain into coupe glass. Garnish with chocolate powder.
This article is presented in partnership with World Class.