Friday, July 25, 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch, Ed Sheeran - and Espresso Martinis

To celebrate the weekend, especially one that includes Peter Jackson AND Benedict Cumberbatch appearing at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con, it seems appropriate to raise a glass to these fine folks - and the fact you made it through another week.

Earlier this summer, Ed Sheeran released his second album, Multiply, and mentioned to the press that Cumberbatch hoped to appear in the video, but that part of his management team decided it was a poor idea.

Ed Sheeran and Benedict Cumberbatch didn't necessarily work together for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, but it is a shared reason for them to celebrate.

We start with the more traditional Q&A, courtesy of TwoTubesTV, where we hear a glimpse into the songwriting process for Ed, and Benedict's tribute of sorts to his dad, actor Timothy Carlton, by playing "Smaugy."

How did this dynamic duo first meet? Well, we can thank director Peter Jackson for emailing Ed Sheeran, as one does - and learn of Ed's original plan to write a song from Smaug's perspective, as well as finding out, "Who's the better drunk?" One intrepid reporter from On Demand Entertainment, Sophie Foster, asked this - and other, rather atypical, questions while doing the red carpet interview with Sheeran at the movie premiere in Berlin last December:

Luke Evans (Bard) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug) certainly seem to put their character's differences aside, as well as Benedict's generous proportions as a fire-breathing dragon with "a head the size of a school bus and a body the size of a 747." (Thanks for the visual, Peter Jackson!) That might explain why Cumberbatch could hold his liquor so well.

Thanks to this lovely evening with Luke and Benedict, Ed Sheeran discovered a new favorite drinking, telling British GQ earlier this summer: "Espresso Martinis are the way to end the night because you can just carry on. They are wicked."

Just be warned, as British GQ's Thomas Blythe explained so well:
"If you're wondering what it might be like to be fully conscious during surgery without entering the operating theatre, then the espresso martini is for you"
Now, to the important bit: the recipes! It's the weekend, and we realize mixologists have different approaches, depending on the budget and the time. Mixologists should also be aware of the legal drinking age - and the age(s) of the prospective drinkers. Ahem.

We start with a UK recipe, thanks to Organic Spirit Co.

75 ml sweetened espresso (cold)
few drops chocolate bitters
50 ml Papagayo organic rum

Combine sweetened espresso, bitters and rum in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into chilled martini glass.

Here's an American version, from All Recipes:

1 fluid ounce brewed espresso (cold)
1 1/2 fluid ounces vodka
1 1/2 fluid ounces coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahlua®)
1 fluid ounce white creme de cacao
1 cup ice

Combine espresso, vodka, coffee liqueur, creme de cacao, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Cover and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

Finally, some recipe additions or substitutions (to experiment to your heart and liver's content - courtesy

  • Substitute vanilla vodka and add an ounce of dark crème de cacao. Top with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings.
  • Wipe the rim of each glass with a lemon wedge and dip in a mixture of raw sugar and chopped bittersweet chocolate. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve.
  • Add Kahlua coffee liqueur and crème de white crème de cacao. Garnish with a sprinkle of cocoa powder.
  • Coat the rim of a cocktail glass with superfine sugar. Pour equal parts of tequila, coffee liqueur and cold espresso into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into the glass and garnish with powdered chocolate. 

Other additions to consider include:
1 oz. raspberry liqueur
1 oz. Amaretto
1 oz. Frangelico
1 oz. Drambuie
1 oz. Irish Mist liqueur
Remember to please drink responsibly - and be aware that the legal drinking age in your area is the FIRST rule in the kitchen - or behind the bar.


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