The Old and New Espresso Martini

By Caroline Hatchett

By

Caroline Hatchett
Espresso Martini at The Roosevelt Room
Espresso Martini at The Roosevelt Room

Above the bar at The Roosevelt Room, there’s a 53-drink classic cocktail board. On Friday and Saturday nights, there are five wells to pump out French 75s, Old Fashioneds, and Rattlesnakes all night long. Owners and Bartenders Justin Lavenue and Dennis Gobis approach classics with reverence, zeroing in on the ratios and techniques that define drinks. “There’s a different technique for every drink to make it come into its own,” says Lavenue. “We have four shakes, three types of stirs, five types of ice—everything is meant to go with the ingredients and glassware.”

It’s a perspective Lavenue learned during his days at Sasha Petraske and Eric Alperin’s Half Step in Austin, and they’ve taken it a step further at The Roosevelt Room. Lavenue and Gobis have an experimental streak, one they express through a rotating menu of nine house drinks. “We utilize Sasha’s operations and order of building drinks to make cocktails with crazy ingredients and unique preparations. We’re celebrating what’s old and new,” says Lavenue.

When he set to build out an espresso martini, Lavenue wanted to replicate the structure of a classic martini while adding the flavors and lush texture of the coffee concoction. “An espresso martini is nothing like a martini,” he says. To build coffee flavor and aroma, he infuses Grey Goose vodka with local Wild Gift Troublemaker Coffee for 15 minutes and adds cassia tincture and ¼ ounce each Montenegro and Benedictine to add sweetness and reinforce the coffee notes.

The Grey Goose also helps build body. “There’s a softness to it from the soft winter wheat they use. The mouthfeel of Grey Goose is one of the best of any vodka,” says Lavenue. “We’re freaks about the textures of drinks.” He takes mouthfeel one wild step further by fat washing Martini bianco vermouth with creamy, salty Camembert. “It tastes like vermouth but has a light cheesy, funky, and savory quality.” A Petraske modifier, it is not, but it does the bring salinity of classic martini accoutrement, you know, just with cheese. 

Get the recipe ofJustin Lavenue's Greytest Gift

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