We wish we could adequately describe all the pleasures available on the Ligurian coast of Italy. The population is unreasonably attractive, the summers are warm and the ocean is inviting. It helps to know an elderly Italian mother who is pleased with your fascination with her skills in the kitchen, for the food of this region is distinct and beyond great.
We've spent many summers in the small town of Sestri Levante with some good Italian friends. After a day at the beach, we'd often stroll through town and sit in a bar with an aperitif and snacks. Getting bored with vermouth, beer and mineral water, we pressed the barista for another suggestion. When he produced a froth-topped coffee in a cocktail glass, we knew we'd found our summer beverage. Our Yankee pal Eileen was with us on that fateful afternoon. In fact, Eileen was instrumental in introducing the pleasures of Italy to all our set. We asked just yesterday about the coffee and she stared at us blankly. She had no recollection! I asked her if she remembered the bartender and she shot back, "Oh! Angelo " and seemed to drift off, as if in a trance.
The drink is simple and clever. After making espresso in a stovetop maker, sweeten with sugar and allow it to cool to at least room temperature. Then shake it in your cocktail shaker with ice and strain into stemmed cocktail glasses. There will be an unusually attractive foam layer on the top.
Just yesterday we experimented with the drink by adding a little kick. We tried either bourbon, kalua, brandy or amaretto to different levels of success but in the end we decided it would be better to make the booze-less version and just enjoy a shot of something fine along with it if more stimulation were required. We also tried adding milk but this didn't excite us much.
On a final note regarding the sugar: Use it! A wise and attractive Roman once advised us, "Life is too bitter not to take sugar with the coffee." And we've come to agree. There are lots of young folks who claim that sugar is poison and claim they want to enjoy the real flavor of the coffee. Yeah, yeah. This may be true for filtered drip coffee but espresso should be sugared.
don't forget these other fine drinks and cocktails...
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