I made an espresso martini last night, for the first time in my life. This is surprising, if you know me — I love coffee and I love alcohol and, even more than those two things, I love the zeitgeist, which apparently has been having it in for the espresso martini as of late.
The reason I have not made an espresso martini is the same reason that this is not really an essay about espresso martinis so much as it is about Mr. Black, whose coffee liqueur forms the backbone of the espresso martini.
Most flavored liqueurs are, if we’re being honest, saccharine garbage.
Coffee liqueur is perhaps even more guilty of this than the median liqueur, since the kind of person who wants a coffee-flavored boozy drink tends not to have (at least in Big Alcohol’s eyes!) a particularly discerning palate. This is a niche dominated by Kahlua, a beverage that I have not been able to stomach since I was below drinking age.
Mr. Black is — I don’t want to mince words — amazingly boring. It is very good because it tastes like the conglomerate of three things: coffee, sugar, and alcohol. It is a very, very pleasing blend of those three things (you can sip it straight and you get some legitimate depth of coffee flavor, plus a fair bit of sugar.)
It joins the ranks of Tempus Fugit in being a bottle that I recommend without reservation, whose irony might end up being that I can probably make a batch of this myself, with enough time and reverse engineering.
The Mr. Black espresso martini — the one whose recipe adorns the bottle — is two parts Mr. Black, one part vodka, one part coffee. (I used Tito’s for the former and for the latter I subbed traditional coffee for Jot, a bougie cold brew espresso that we had lying around, to give it a bit of an extra punch, and also because we had a late dinner for which we frankly needed the caffeine.)