How to Make a Perfect, Sexy Espresso Martini
Plus, healthy + quick single-serving popcorn for anybody snacking for one.
In certain circles, my friend Robert Fowler is known as the go-to guy for all things entertaining. Within twenty minutes of meeting him, he was inviting me to a dinner party. (One where I ultimately met his friend Laura, who became one of my closest friends!)
He is a natural connector and host. I’ve seen him whip together a chic tablescape from backyard clippings and beach house plates in ten minutes flat. He always remembers where to put the salad fork. And when I was on the hunt for the perfect espresso martini (it’s back, hadn’t you heard?) to make at home, of course, Robert was the one who delivered.
“Soon after marrying my husband, Anthony, we were sitting around the fire after our guests had just left for dinner.” Says Robert. “I had set the table (quite beautifully if I do say so myself), made the cheese plate, prepared and served the meal, picked the wines — basically everything involved with hosting a dinner party except the cleaning up part. Ant, as I call him, is great at that! As we were enjoying our last glass of wine of the night I said to Ant, ‘you need a signature thing when we host’ (which we do quite often). After throwing around some ideas, we landed on cocktails.”
He continues. “We ordered cocktail making kits, new bar books, made sure we had all of the necessary supplies, bitters, took a few classes.... and he got pretty good. Now, whenever we entertain, our friends and guests know that we will start the evening with one of Ant's cocktails. During the pandemic, it was all about the Espresso Martini [for us]. We tried so many recipes. We subbed espresso for cold brew, tried different liquors... and we always came back to this one.”
Ant’s Espresso Martini
1oz fresh, hot espresso (If you do not have an espresso machine you can use canned, pre-made espresso or the inexpensive Italian classic, a Moka pot.)
Directions: Combine ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 12-15 seconds. The natural oils of the coffee must combine with the air bubbles. Double strain into a martini glass, serve with three espresso beans as a garnish.
Robert notes “If you like it a bit sweeter, add a little simple syrup (about 1/3oz). Some people like to add a bit of vanilla or almond extract. Others a bit of milk or cream.” For a more frothy martini, he has another good tip. “Our favorite bartender, Orlando, at the Mayflower Inn in Washington, CT told us to always use a Boston shaker (there’s more area to really shake the drink) and hot, fresh espresso.”
And what of the glass? Riedel and Schott both have a sturdy classic in their lineup for the brass-tacks crowd. This irreverent set from Vietri is fun, too.
I’m highly partial to this major set from Serie B at The Webster. With the weather warming up, I also love this outdoor-friendly set from Williams-Sonoma. You’re going to need a good shaker, too — this one by Aerin would also make a beautiful host gift.
If you’re keeping it dry this Valentine’s Day or keeping it simple with a romcom for one (or two), we teamed up with Great Jones for a killer stovetop popcorn recipe using the brand’s “Dutch Baby”, a manageably-sized Dutch oven pot that’s perfect for cooking smaller meals. How to make the “Single Lady Popcorn” — it’s also perfect for two.
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