As if we needed an excuse, National Espresso Day 2020 falls this year on Monday 23rd November, and provides the perfect excuse for a Monday evening drop during troubled times. 

Firstly, a little history; in Turin, Italy, during the 19th century, Angelo Miriondo invented the first coffee machine that used steam and water separately to brew the coffee. In 1901, Luigi Bezzera modified the coffee machine for individual serving, and espresso was born.

His aim was to minimise the time employees took for coffee breaks and improve their productivity. Whilst we don’t entirely approve of the reasons behind its creation, we certainly love the drink.

Espresso is made when high pressure water comes in contact with fresh, fine ground coffee beans, bringing coffee lovers a cup in record time. The process results in a concentrated coffee brew topped with a delicate foam (the crema). The crema should be thin and foamy with a golden-brown colour; the heart of the espresso contains bitterness that balances the sweetness of the crema. All in all, it’s a lovely cup.

But how to improve on the elegant simplicity of the drink? Why, put it in a cocktail, of course! To cheer you up as the nights draw in, it’s time for the perfect Espresso Martini. The good news is that this amazing drink only requires three easy to find ingredients. 

To celebrate National Espresso Day 2020 the right way, we’ve teamed up with the experts at Coffee-Direct.co.uk to reveal how to make the IDEAL three ingredient Espresso Martini.

HOW TO CHILL YOUR MARTINI GLASS

It’s important to chill your Martini glasses in the freezer or fill them with ice for at least 20 minutes before serving. This will ensure that your glasses stay colder, and your cocktails are refreshing for longer. Don’t forget to empty the ice out before you fill the glass up!

HOW TO GRIND YOUR COFFEE FOR YOUR ESPRESSO

When it comes to how fine to grind your beans, a super fine grind is key. The pressure of the pump mechanism means maximum flavour can only be extracted from finely ground coffee beans. You’ll know if your grounds are too coarse if you find yourself with a weak and under-extracted brew. If you’d like to get your coffee grounds exactly right, companies like Coffee Direct grind to measure. Ideal for the coffee connoisseur in the family, don’t you think? 

HOW TO GET THE PERFECT ESPRESSO FLAVOUR FOR YOUR MARTINI

Freshly brewed coffee is essential for the flavour and the foam; make sure it’s the same quality as you would drink in the morning. Cool your coffee prior to use. If not, it will melt the ice and dilute the flavour. Experiment with different blends and see what combination works best for you.

HOW TO GARNISH AN ESPRESSO MARTINI

The traditional way to garnish an espresso martini is with three coffee beans, representing health, wealth and happiness. Some have a preference for placing a piece of lemon peel over the surface of the martini; this can release essential oils which flavour the foam, but personally, we prefer to keep things simple.

Here at IDEAL, we like to treat ourselves and use a a chocolate wafer tube, like those from Caprice Papadopoulou Wafers, as a straw to drink the cocktail through!

Anyway, let’s get to it… 

THE IDEAL THREE INGREDIENT ESPRESSO MARTINI

The great thing about this quick and easy Espresso Martini is that it uses just three ingredients. The vanilla vodka acts like a sugar syrup with a distinct yet subtle flavour of Vanilla. 

Serves 2

32ml vanilla vodka

36ml coffee liqueur 

36ml freshly brewed espresso, using high quality coffee, such as Golden Crema.

STEP 1

Chill your martini glasses. Place the vodka, coffee liqueur and freshly brewed espresso into a cocktail shaker or lidded jar with a handful of ice.

STEP 2

Shake vigorously for 40-50 seconds until well blended and chilled. Strain the liquid into your glasses and enjoy!

OUR FAVOURITE IDEAL ESPRESSO MARTINI RECIPE

We like to use the BBC Good Food Recipe, but with a couple of our own tweaks. Their classic coffee cocktail calls for the usual suspects; a freshly brewed espresso, a dash of coffee liqueur and a simple sugar syrup. However, for our ideal twist, we like to use Vietnamese coffee which is rich and gives the Espresso Martini a distinctly chocolatey edge. For the garnish, we love to have a chocolate wafer tube on the side and use it as a straw, just for fun, even if it does go soggy after a few sips!

Serves 1

Ingredients 

For the syrup

For the cocktail

For the garnish

A chocolate wafer tube

STEP 1
Start by making the sugar syrup. Put the caster sugar in a small pan over a medium heat and pour in 50ml water. Stir, and bring to the boil.

STEP 2
Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Put a Martini glass in the fridge to chill.

STEP 3
Once the sugar syrup is cold, pour 1 tbsp into a cocktail shaker along with a handful of ice, the vodka, espresso and coffee liqueur. Shake until the outside of the cocktail shaker feels icy cold.

If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, use a nutribullet blender or similar and whizz up all the ingredients with a couple of ice cubes. 

STEP 4
Strain into the chilled glasses if using a cocktail shaker, or if you’re using a blender, pour into the chilled glasses and let the foam on top settle. 

Garnish with a chocolate wafer tube and use it as a straw.