It’s a new day and that means that there’s a new cocktail that’s grabbed everyone’s attention online. Today’s fancy-schmancy cocktail is an umami-bomb take on a bittersweet classic. The Espresso Martini got a big upgrade on social media by adding … freshly grated parmesan cheese? Yes, that’s right sharp and salty parmesan is all the rage over a nice and frothy espresso martini.
A friend of mine posted about this — Jordan Hughes, The Highproof Preacher — and it’s been replied to with posts and even a Food & Wine write-up.
But is it really that good?
For this exercise, I was pretty on board from the jump. The mix of salt or umami as a counterbalance to the sweet and bitter notes of an espresso martini makes a certain sort of sense. Bacon on maple doughnuts comes to mind, which is kind of awesome. So this isn’t that out there. Still, is it worth making at home? I think so — it’s an easy addition to an already easy shaker. Granted, it helps if you have a good espresso machine for the coffee, but that isn’t a deal breaker (you can always get an espresso to go from your favorite coffee shop too).
Let’s get shaking and make your new favorite cocktail of the season!
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Parmesan Espresso Martini
- 1.5 oz. vodka
- 1.5 oz. espresso
- 0.5 oz. coffee liqueur
- 0.25 oz. demerara syrup
- 12-month-old parmesan cheese wedge
This is all pretty straightforward stuff. The biggest thing is getting real-deal espresso. Don’t use drip coffee or instant. You can use cold brew if you want though. The parmesan I used was from the grocery store. It’s Italian but affordable.
What You’ll Need:
- Coupe glass (pre-chilled in the freezer)
- Cocktail shaker
- Cocktail strainer
- Fine mesh strainer
- Fine grater
- Prechill the glass in the freezer.
- Add the demerara sugar syrup, coffee liqueur, espresso, and vodka to the shaker. Add a large handful of ice and shake very vigorously for a good 30 seconds.
- Fetch the glass from the freezer and then double-strain the cocktail into the glass.
- Grate a layer of parmesan cheese over the cocktail until you’ve covered the whole thing. Serve.
This is a very “okay, I get it” drink from the first sip. The sharpness of the cheese immediately counterpoints the sweetness of the cocktail. And then that’s countered by the creamy espresso bitterness below it all. It is balanced and nuanced with great depth all wrapped up in a single cocktail serving.
I’d also argue that this is 100% worth making at home. It took me all of a minute to make once the espresso was pulled. Then it was just a matter of sitting back and letting the complex flavors wash over you. Yes, ye denizens of the internet — this is a winner.