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Sandpiper’s Tiramisu Martini: dessert flavors

A twist on the extremely trendy espresso martini

Tiramisu Martini
Tiramisu Martini
Evan Vallée

Arriving at Sandpiper just in time for happy hour, I find I can’t resist ordering a tempting Tiramisu Martini that General Manager Evan Vallée says is his twist on the extremely trendy espresso martini. “It just became so popular... It’s a little more fun and playful than a straight espresso martini, which definitely has more focus on that coffee flavor. This has a bit more of a dessert approach, but you still get the caffeine, and you still get the booze.”

Place

Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oysters

2259 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA

He first created the recipe for an Italian restaurant years ago, but he has continued refining it over time. “It’s replicating the flavors you would find in the dessert,” says Vallée, “with the Amaretto giving that kind of almond-y, orange peel, citrus element and your Frangelico, connecting with that hazelnut nuttiness. You need chocolate in your dessert, and then the Irish cream is more of something to lend the texture, and help with the espresso in creating that coffee-Irish cream marriage that you’re familiar with. So, all that being the heart of your flavor profile, and then, of course, espresso and vodka to round it out.”

Most of the frothy top comes from the crema you get when brewing espresso. “We do Lavazza pod espresso. I think medium and dark roast work the best, because you definitely want that coffee flavor to shine through.” He stresses using plenty of ice and giving it a strong shake, “because you really want to create that layer of foam when you pour it into the glass. Get it frothed up real nice. That’s the fun part, watching it all come together and settle out to create those two beautiful layers.”

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Sponsored

For those trying the recipe at home, “If you don’t have an espresso machine at home, and you’re trying to sub, say, cold brew or just coffee — it’ll work, but it’s not going to be quite as good. You really do need real espresso.”

For this, his most recent iteration, he’s replaced milk chocolate with dark chocolate liqueur. “I’m always trying to find that right contrast of flavor, with your creams and everything, to make things stand out, or to provide a better balance of the ingredients.”

Am I buzzed already, or do I detect a hint of cinnamon? “I don’t add anything like that. One of those liqueurs could have something in there…” Vallée considers, and then indulges my curiosity. “I like the idea of cinnamon syrup, to replace the regular simple syrup… Let’s make another one!”

  • Sandpiper’s
  • Tiramisu Martini
  • 1 oz vodka
  • .25 oz Amaretto
  • .25 oz Frangelico or hazelnut liqueur
  • .25 oz Irish cream
  • .25 oz Mozart dark chocolate liqueur
  • 1.5 oz espresso (double shot)
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • Brew an espresso shot and mix with all ingredients in a shaker. Add lots of ice for froth, hard shake, and strain into a coupe. Garnish with coffee beans. Option: Swap simple syrup with cinnamon or vanilla syrup. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon or grated nutmeg.
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Tiramisu Martini
Tiramisu Martini
Evan Vallée

Arriving at Sandpiper just in time for happy hour, I find I can’t resist ordering a tempting Tiramisu Martini that General Manager Evan Vallée says is his twist on the extremely trendy espresso martini. “It just became so popular... It’s a little more fun and playful than a straight espresso martini, which definitely has more focus on that coffee flavor. This has a bit more of a dessert approach, but you still get the caffeine, and you still get the booze.”

Place

Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oysters

2259 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA

He first created the recipe for an Italian restaurant years ago, but he has continued refining it over time. “It’s replicating the flavors you would find in the dessert,” says Vallée, “with the Amaretto giving that kind of almond-y, orange peel, citrus element and your Frangelico, connecting with that hazelnut nuttiness. You need chocolate in your dessert, and then the Irish cream is more of something to lend the texture, and help with the espresso in creating that coffee-Irish cream marriage that you’re familiar with. So, all that being the heart of your flavor profile, and then, of course, espresso and vodka to round it out.”

Most of the frothy top comes from the crema you get when brewing espresso. “We do Lavazza pod espresso. I think medium and dark roast work the best, because you definitely want that coffee flavor to shine through.” He stresses using plenty of ice and giving it a strong shake, “because you really want to create that layer of foam when you pour it into the glass. Get it frothed up real nice. That’s the fun part, watching it all come together and settle out to create those two beautiful layers.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

For those trying the recipe at home, “If you don’t have an espresso machine at home, and you’re trying to sub, say, cold brew or just coffee — it’ll work, but it’s not going to be quite as good. You really do need real espresso.”

For this, his most recent iteration, he’s replaced milk chocolate with dark chocolate liqueur. “I’m always trying to find that right contrast of flavor, with your creams and everything, to make things stand out, or to provide a better balance of the ingredients.”

Am I buzzed already, or do I detect a hint of cinnamon? “I don’t add anything like that. One of those liqueurs could have something in there…” Vallée considers, and then indulges my curiosity. “I like the idea of cinnamon syrup, to replace the regular simple syrup… Let’s make another one!”

  • Sandpiper’s
  • Tiramisu Martini
  • 1 oz vodka
  • .25 oz Amaretto
  • .25 oz Frangelico or hazelnut liqueur
  • .25 oz Irish cream
  • .25 oz Mozart dark chocolate liqueur
  • 1.5 oz espresso (double shot)
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • Brew an espresso shot and mix with all ingredients in a shaker. Add lots of ice for froth, hard shake, and strain into a coupe. Garnish with coffee beans. Option: Swap simple syrup with cinnamon or vanilla syrup. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon or grated nutmeg.
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