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If Your Espresso Martini Feels A Little Flat, Try Adding Amaro

An espresso martini garnished with coffee beans
An espresso martini garnished with coffee beans - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Over the last few years, espresso martinis have exploded onto the cocktail scene -- but innovative variations prove that the drink is more than just a trend. Using the cocktail as a blank canvas, you can incorporate all kinds of interesting ingredients; for example, in the style of Asheville, North Carolina's The Foundry Hotel, pecan rum and Amarula offer a more complex take on the standard espresso martini. But to give your next coffee-infused cocktail yet another quick boost, one particular Italian spirit has you covered.

Chris Hoekman, the lead bartender at the JW Marriott, Margeaux, told Tasting Table that amaro pairs especially well with espresso. In toying with amaro -- an Italian liqueur -- Hoekman devised a recipe for Margeaux's menu that's since remained. Typically, when people walk into a bar, they want something to start the night, but espresso martinis so often wind up tasting flat, Hoekman said, in regards to the drink's inspiration.

Amaro cocktails, however, pack plenty of flavor, bringing complexity to your favorite drinks. "[Our espresso martini recipe is] gonna be kind of based around getting the flavors and spices out of this amaro," said Hoekman. As for how, exactly, to pair amaro with your next espresso martini, follow Hoekman's example and start experimenting with the liqueur's potential.

Read more: 13 Liquors Your Home Bar Should Have

Combine Amaro With Espresso And Coffee Liqueur

Bartender's hands pouring an espresso martini
Bartender's hands pouring an espresso martini - Catlane/Getty Images

A standard espresso martini uses espresso, a coffee liqueur like Kahlúa, and vodka. If amaro grabs your attention, however, many recipes suggest that you forgo the vodka entirely in favor of the more Italian option. Eliminating vodka certainly alters the composition of your espresso martini, but the addition of amaro enhances the flavors you're already using.

To make a successful swap, you'll want to combine relatively even amounts of your liquids, though exact ratios may vary. For the sake of ease, try using equal parts of amaro, brewed espresso, and coffee liqueur. Of course, no one ratio is the end-all-be-all. Some recipes lean more heavily on amaro and more lightly on Kahlúa. The beauty of the espresso martini is that you can experiment based on your own personal preferences.

Like Chris Hoekman, try to play with amaro's flavors and use different amounts -- or brands -- of the liqueur. Oh, and if the flavor sticks, you can even make your own amaro to keep on hand. Whether you want a derivative of an espresso martini or a classic Manhattan, amaro is a worthwhile addition to your liquor cabinet.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.