How to Make Your Own Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate for Espresso Martinis

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As you probably know, the main reason why I have this website is to share what I’ve learned in the bar world with you, the people who actually read this junk 😉 But one other small reason why I record my findings here is that is serves as a record for when I need to look it up and can’t find one of the many coasters, notebooks, or scraps of paper I’ve written recipes or techniques down on.

This post serves that purpose.

I’m tired of never remembering how I make my cold brew coffee concentrate for our Espresso Martini, so I’m posting the proportions here for myself to find. And while I’m doing that, I might as well turn it into a post and share it with the world.

Before I begin, let me just say that I am not a barista. I am not a coffee nerd, I don’t know the first thing about coffee. But I drink it every day, I love it, I spend much of my time in coffee shops or making coffee at home in one of my many contraptions. But I definitely do not know what I’m talking about and if you’re looking for serious coffee knowledge you’re best looking elsewhere. I. Am. Not. An. Expert.

That said, I do know that this process we use at the bar works very well. And we feel very strongly about using cold brew concentrate instead of espresso for our Espresso Martinis because… we don’t have an espresso machine. Here’s how we make it.

1. Get yourself a pound/half kilogram of coffee.

Real coffee nerds will tell you to use the freshest stuff available. I will tell you that I use stuff that isn’t fresh enough to make hot coffee with anymore. We’ll both tell you to use a coarse grind. If you don’t have a grinder at home, see if your local coffee shop will grind it for you. Tip them generously for doing this for you.

2. Throw it in a tub.

Make sure you’ve got enough room. Something three quarts/liters or larger should do. You just don’t want to have this brown sludge spilling out over the sides when you’re trying to stir it.

3. Add half the water.

Add a quart/liter of cold water, and stir it around until all the grounds are wet. Let it sit for a half an hour. This is really just to get the grounds wet and a little more manageable than trying to stir up a half gallon of water and a pound of coffee.

4. After half an hour, add the rest of the water.

Add another quart of cold water and give that a stir. Now pop a lid on it and let it sit for 24 hours.

5. Let sit for 24 hours, then strain.

I pop a mesh strainer over another tub and strain all those grounds out. I also let it sit for a while to make sure I’ve gotten every last drop out of the grounds.

6. Run the strained mixture through a coffee filter.

You could stop at step five, but the resulting concentrate is super oily and cloudy. I like to strain the concentrate through a coffee filter to clarify it. It takes a while so I just let it sit for a couple of hours to do its thing.

And here’s what the difference is between unfiltered concentrate (left) and filtered concentrate (right)

So those proportions are:

  • 1 pound (.5 kg) course ground coffee
  • 2 quarts/liters cold water

Now, if you want to have some delicious cold brew to sip on, simply cut this mixture with an equal part cold water and serve. But an even better application would be to use it in an Espresso Martini.

Espresso Martini Print Me

  • 1 oz cold brew concentrate
  • ¾ oz/22.5 ml vodka
  • ¾ oz/22.5 ml Kahlua
  1. Combine all ingredients with ice cubes in a cocktail shaker and shake until cold.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Optional: finish with lemon oil from a fresh peel, discarding the peel.
  4. Optional garnish with three coffee beans.

Recipe printed courtesy of jeffreymorgenthaler.com

13 Replies to “How to Make Your Own Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate for Espresso Martinis”

  • Daniel says:

    How long does this stuff keep? Can you freeze it and use what you need when you need it?

  • Brett says:

    Do you use decaf for any particular reason, or is it just what you had on hand for this post?

  • Eric says:

    As a former coffee nerd who made espresso martinis in a quality coffee shop I completely agree with the choice to use cold brew. 1. It’s easier. 2. It doesn’t require an espresso machine. 3. It works in favor of the drink because you’re not starting with a blazing hot ingredient. I also highly recommend the St George NOLA as a quality substitute for the coffee liquor.

  • Johnny Wishbone says:

    Hey Jeffrey, don’t you find that people that order an espresso martini want something a little flashier? Do you ever top with a float of cream or shake with a little cream and do a rim of some sort? Thanks for the recipe!

    • In the five years we’ve been serving this, we haven’t had a single complaint that the drink isn’t flash enough. We serve it in the spirit of Dick Bradsell’s original creation, without cream or some sort of rim. But if you want to do a bunch of stuff to it, by all means, go ahead!

  • Igor says:

    Purely looking at taste and discounting resources/cost, would you do this or go for a rapid-infusion of vodka with coffee beans to use in lieu of the vodka here, maybe with a dash of Frangelico for the nutjobs?

    • I wouldn’t, I would do it exactly the way I’ve outlined it here. And this is why: infusing the vodka isn’t going to make the drink any better, and coffee-infused vodka really has one use. By keeping everything as it is, you have many more options.

      • Igor says:

        Using cold brew results in by far the best espresso martini I’ve made/had, and it’s a popular enough drink around the house to warrant trying to get fancy with the infusion- sounds like it’d just be a waste of an N2O cartridge, so we’ll just stick to the normal approach. I’ll admit to being a lazy ass and buying bottled cold brew for this from time to time if I fail to plan ahead and make my own batch – not bad if you can score good cold brew from a store near you!

        Cheers,

        Enjoying the World’s Best Amaretto Sour in the Wisconsin Cold

  • Kevin N. says:

    Thanks for the info Jeff! Slingshot Coffee Co. from Raleigh, NC makes a damn fine cold brew concentrate for those who can’t bother making their own or don’t want to go through the trouble. Can order it on their website too!

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