Archive for the ‘espresso’ Category

Years ago, I gave my self an important research project: Create your own version of the perfect espresso martini.

It took painstaking research, which required drinking many espresso martinis in many a bar on my travels.

My favorite version came from a bartender working at Knave, the lobby bar at the at Le Parker Meridien Hotel in New York City. It featured Coole Swan, an Irish cream liqueur I had never tried-or heard of-before. The bartender was nice enough to write down the recipe for me, but I guess I had a little too much to drink…because I lost it! So it was up to me to use those brain cells I didn’t fry and come up with my own combination.

A lot of mixing late into the night, and I came up with what I consider to be my perfect espresso martini. As the marines say: “There are many like it, but this one is mine.”

 

Alz Espresso martini

My espresso martini

 

 

3 oz. good quality vodka, like Belvedere
3 oz. freshly brewed espresso
1.5 oz. Kahlua
1.5 oz. Coole Swan

 

Chill your martini glasses. Pour all the ingredients into a large shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into chilled glasses.

This recipe makes 2 martinis. Let me tell ya…this tasted as good the first time as it did several martinis later! I’ve found that using a high-end vodka really does make a difference in the quality and taste of the martini…as does brewing your espresso just before assembling the drink.

Recently, studies have found that drinking as little as 2 more cups of coffee a day can reduce cirrhosis of the liver! So why not kill 2 birds with one stone and put coffee in your cocktail?

I love espresso martinis, and my favorite was one that I sampled a years ago at the Le Parker Meridien hotel in New York City. The secret ingredient was an Irish cream liqueur called Coole Swan. Here’s my version of that recipe…

espresso

 

3 oz. good quality vodka, like Belvedere
3 oz. freshly brewed espresso
1.5 oz. Kahlua
1.5 oz. Coole Swan

Chill your martini glasses. Pour all ingredients into a large shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into chilled glasses. Makes 2 martinis.

 

This past Thanksgiving, I combined several traditional desserts in one: pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and tiramisu. The challenge was to make it gluten-free, since my wife is sensitive to gluten. Rather than using the traditional lady fingers used in tiramisu, I used a GF product that replaces graham crackers. And though it can be presented in a trifle bowl, I made individual servings.
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1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 oz.) prepared pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 teaspoons pumpkin or apple pie spice, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 cup strong brewed coffee, room temp ( I use espresso)
1 box (22 oz.) graham crackers or gluten-free substitute

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In a large bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Set aside.
In another large bowl, combine the cream cheese, pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat with a mixer until well blended. Fold gently into the whipped cream.
Pour the graham crackers into a food processor and process until you get very fine crumbs. Pour into a bowl.
In a separate small bowl, combine the coffee and remaining pumpkin spice and vanilla. Pour the coffee mixture into the graham crackers a little at a time, and mix with a fork, until it resembles wet sand.
In each glass, alternately layer the pumpkin cream and the graham cracker mix. Serve with a little extra whipped cream on top, or with ice cream on the side.

One of the new all-the-rage health drinks is something called Bulletproof Coffee. Bulletproof is a brand name for a coffee that has had “toxins removed” through a special process, according to its creator. (According to my friend, Lee, a PhD in chemistry, that’s a load of crap.)

To make the drink, you combine Bulletproof Upgraded coffee blend, grass-fed butter or ghee (a clarified butter commonly used in Indian cooking,) and their special Bulletproof “Brain Octane Oil.” (The Octane Oil is another product that claims to have beneficial properties far beyond coconut oil. Again…I have my doubts.)

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They claim this coffee combination gives you a lasting lift, not a spike that many caffeine drinks can, and the good fats in the drink keep your brain and body satisfied all morning long.

Rather than buy all the expensive Bulletproof products, my friends Doug and Jenn here at the radio station decided to make their own version of this drink. Besides tasting incredibly awesome, it definitely feels like it does some good…for a much more reasonable price.

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It may sound bizarre at first, but you add a tablespoon of grass-fed unsalted butter or ghee (again, unsalted) to a blender. Then you add a tablespoon of coconut oil (replacing the expensive “Brain Octane Oil.”) Brew your favorite coffee (8 to 12 oz.) and add the hot coffee to the blender. Then turn the blender on and let it rip until all the ingredients have been thoroughly blended.

You need to use hot coffee for this so the fats melt and you get a nice mouth-feel. That’s it. Now drink! No cream or sugar needed.

The premise is that your body is starved for healthy fats. This drink supplies some. I’ll be trying this drink for a few weeks to see if it makes any difference in how I feel.

Just remember: just any butter won’t do. It has to be butter from grass-fed cows. (Many Irish brands are grass-fed…just make sure it’s unsalted.) If you can’t find it, ghee is a good substitute.

This past Thanksgiving, I couldn’t decide what to make for dessert. So I combined several traditional desserts in one: pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and tiramisu. The challenge was to make it gluten-free, since my wife is sensitive to gluten. Rather than using the traditional lady fingers used in tiramisu, I used a gluten-free product that replaces graham crackers. And though it can be presented in a trifle bowl, I made individual servings.
image
Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 oz) prepared pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 teaspoons pumpkin or apple pie spice, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 cup strong brewed coffee, room temp ( I use espresso)
1 box (22 oz) graham crackers or gluten-free substitute

image

In a large bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Set aside.
In another large bowl, combine cream cheese, pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat with mixer until well blended. Fold gently into the whipped cream.
Pour the graham crackers into a food processor and process until you get very fine crumbs. Pour into a bowl.
In a separate small bowl, combine coffee, and remaining pumpkin spice and vanilla. Pour the coffee mixture into the graham crackers a little at a time, and mix with a fork, until it resembles wet sand.
In each glass, alternately layer the pumpkin cream and the graham cracker mix. Serve with a little extra whipped cream on top, or with ice cream on the side.

Alz Espresso martini

Alz Espresso martini

One of my recent mixology projects was to finally create my own version of the perfect espresso martini…one that has been developed from painstaking research (that means drinking a lot of other espresso martinis.) My favorite local espresso martini here in Rhode Island comes from Asterisk in Newport. They sell thousands of them in the summer season, and part of their success is using freshly brewed espresso. But overall, my favorite espresso martini was one that I sampled a couple of years ago at the Le Parker Meridien Hotel in New York City. It featured an Irish cream liqueur called Coole Swan. The bartender was nice enough to write down the recipe for me, but I guess I had a little too much to drink…because I lost it! So it was up to me to come up with my own combination.   So here it is… ALZ ESPRESSO MARTINI 3 oz. good quality vodka, like Belvedere 3 oz. freshly brewed espresso 1.5 oz. Kahlua 1.5 oz. Coole Swan Chill your martini glasses. Pour all ingredients into a large shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into chilled glasses. Makes 2 martinis. Let me tell ya…this tasted as good the first time as it did several martinis later! I’ve found that using a high-end vodka really does make a difference in the quality and taste of the martini…as does brewing your espresso just before assembling the drink.

My wife and I are iced coffee fanatics. It’s what we drink every morning, 365 days a year. I have a full air pot of coffee in the fridge at all times, and a stash of coffee ice cubes in the freezer so that not one precious drop of this elixir is diluted. When we go away on vacation, I will bring containers of this already brewed coffee with us. If we go somewhere with a kitchen and a coffee maker, I will grind the beans at home in pre-measured amounts and then seal it in Ziploc bags, brewing it immediately upon arrival so that we have our cold coffee ready the next morning, ice cubes included. When we travel to a destination where bringing this coffee is absolutely impossible, we try to look at it as an opportunity to perhaps discover a newer, better coffee. It has yet to happen.

The coffee is called Caffe Chicco D’Oro, which means “nugget of gold,” and we discovered it in Switzerland, near the Italian border, about 9 years ago. My brother-in-law’s family was living in Basel at the time and my wife and I traveled there to be a part of a large family Christmas holiday gathering. The journey across the pond included a scenic road trip to the spectacular Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola in Ticino/Lugano, close to the Italian border but still in Switzerland despite its Italian name. We stopped at a popular Autogrill rest area in southern Switzerland and sipped cappucinos that totally blew us away….so much so that we needed to know the brand of this incredible coffee. Once we were home in the United States, I was on a mission to find a way to buy this coffee for our every day use. Fortunately, they had an office here in the states, and it was relatively easy for me to buy Caffe Chicco D’Oro online. After a few years, they shut their operation down and transferred the rights to sell their product to a company called The Swiss Bakery in Virginia. To this day, these folks are the exclusive importers of Caffe Chicco D’Oro. (www.chiccodoro-usa.com)

The variety I buy is in the gold package, known as “Tradition.” I have tried the “Elite” when they were sold out of my favorite, and was not as happy with it.

coffee

I buy the coffee by the case: 12 whole bean bags (250g) at a time. Shipping is free. I keep them in a cool, dry place and I’ve never had a problem with spoilage. Besides, we drink a lot of it and it doesn’t sit around very long!

One of my recent mixology projects was to finally create my own version of the perfect espresso martini…one that has been developed from painstaking research (that means drinking a lot of other espresso martinis.)

My favorite local espresso martini here in Rhode Island comes from Asterisk in Newport. They sell thousands of them in the summer season, and part of their success is using freshly brewed espresso.

But overall, my favorite espresso martini was one that I sampled a couple of years ago at the Le Parker Meridien hotel in New York City. It featured an Irish cream liqueur called Coole Swan. The bartender was nice enough to write down the recipe for me, but I guess I had a little too much to drink…because I lost it! So it was up to me to come up with my own combination.

So here it is…

ALZ ESPRESSO MARTINI

3 oz. good quality vodka, like Belvedere
3 oz. freshly brewed espresso
1.5 oz. Kahlua
1.5 oz. Coole Swan

Chill your martini glasses. Pour all ingredients into a large shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into chilled glasses. Makes 2 martinis.

Let me tell ya…this tasted as good the first time as it did several martinis later!

I’ve found that using a high-end vodka really does make a difference in the quality and taste of the martini…as does brewing your espresso just before assembling the drink.