REVERSE ESPRESSO MARTINI (R.E.M.)
- 50 ml Algebra
- 20 ml spirit of choice
- 5 ml sugar syrup
Method: Shake with energy, good ice and a smile. Double strain into a small chilled cocktail glass.
Thanks to its high coffee and low sugar content, Algebra can stand in for both the shot of espresso and coffee liqueur in this modern classic template, effectively yielding a "reverse" recipe, where the modifier becomes the base while the spirit works as the modifier.
Easy to make and delicious, this cocktail also contains only half the alcohol of the original recipe.
This drink works with many spirits: Vodka of course, as in the original recipe (Dick Bradsell's "Vodka Espresso"), but also rum or Tequila. For a richer profile, try making it with Cognac, Armagnac or even Calvados.
- Use small coupes or any small stemmed glassware (16cl / 5.6 oz coupe featured here). Your drinks will remain cold for longer. This will also improve the wash-line on most of the classic cocktails you choose to stir or shake.
- Keep your glasses in the freezer, taking them out just before fixing your drink.
- Express a small piece of fresh orange peel in the bottom of the glass just before straining your shaken drink. Holding the citrus zest between your fingertips with the peel facing down, squeeze it swiftly once to coat the inside of the glass. A little goes a long way, as the aromatic citrus oils will rise with the liquid and gather in the crema-like froth on top of your cocktail. Be gentle, as heavy-handedness could result in a bitter vegetal note rather than extra aromatic lift.
- Use a tea strainer in addition to your cocktail strainer to get a denser head on your drink.
- Garnish with 3 lucky coffee beans if you feel fancy; and raise a toast to Dick Bradsell’s memory.
• • • • •
- 30 ml Algebra (alternative: 15 ml Algebra + 15 ml sweet vermouth)
- 30 ml Campari or Suze
- 30 ml gin
Method: Build over good ice in a short glass, stir briefly and garnish with an expressed orange twist or half-wheel.
Beautiful in its simplicity and with a captivating depth of flavour, the Negroni is quietly enjoying its moment in the sun. And the good times are likely to keep on rolling for this classic Dolce Vita drink. In many cities, we may have to wait a bit longer until we can light-heartedly share a round of these crimson beauties with friends at our favourite bar, but the drink is easy to make at home.
This caffeinated Negroni swaps the sweet vermouth used in the traditional recipe for our coffee liqueur. As vermouth lovers, we feel guilty leaving this wonderful aromatised wine out of the recipe for simplicity’s sake. We may redeem ourselves by recommending splitting the vermouth with the liqueur: using equal parts (15 ml each) of vermouth and Algebra. Both recipes work, so you can’t go wrong.
- Use good ice. Large chunks of ice melt slowly, protecting the drinks you serve on-the-rocks from excessive dilution. You can thus stretch your Aperitivo hour without having to sip a watered down Negroni. At home, it is easy to make large ice cubes (well, cylinders really) by filling rinsed yogurt pots with filtered or mineral water. Large soft silicone ice trays also work. If you’re so inclined (and have ample freezer space), raise your ice game further and make crystal clear blocks with Alcademics’ step-by-step guide. Warning: you may become a slightly obsessive directional freezer!
- If you are using vermouth, keep it in the fridge and use it up within a few weeks. Oxidation dulls all aromatised wines’ aromas. Algebra is more robust and keeps well at room temperature.
- French or Italian? Your transalpine friends will remind you that a Negroni shall be made with Campari, but many bitter liqueurs also work in this cocktail template. The angelica and orange notes in France’s gentian-forward Suze pair well with coffee, yielding a slightly softer, less herbaceous version of the drink.
- Pick a good gin. Beware of lower-proof, flavoured or coloured gins, which are often heavily sweetened.
- Garnish with an expressed orange twist or half-wheel. We are partial to the sunny vibes of citrus wheels during the winter months. When in season, towards late February and March in Europe, blood orange half-wheels can brighten up any drink, and are a striking colour match to a well-made Negroni.
ALGEBRA & TONIC
- 30 ml Algebra
- 60-100 ml Tonic Water
Method: Build over ice, stir briefly and garnish with a citrus twist.
- The ratio and method for this simple highball lend themselves well to experimentation.
- For a rich, dark and intense drink, try a 1:2 ratio (30 ml Algebra to 60 ml tonic water).
- To tease out Algebra’s rounder notes of caramel and vanilla, increase the ratio of tonic to coffee liqueur, up to 100 ml mixer for 30 ml Algebra.
- Adding Algebra first to the ice-filled glass before topping it with tonic will yield a rich aromatic crema on top of the drink. Reversing the order will create less foam and a more carbonated drink.