Nitro Cold Brew Espresso Martini, by Jonathan Orlando

Today’s #FeatureBartender is Jonathan Orlando. Orlando works at The Lion, (62 West 9th Street, New York, New York). He also curates his own drink blog, called DrinksAndInk.com.

Bartending Superpower: “Adaptability”

How long have you been bartending Jonathan?

“I’ve been behind the stick for 5 years but I’ve been in the hospitality industry for 12 years.”

What is the most profound thing you’ve learned about yourself, or others, as a bartender?

“Humility. Everyone has rock star moments but, there are moments we make mistakes and you gotta accept it, learn from it and grow into a better bartender”

Who inspires your drink style presently?

“It’s a mix of a few ideals. Robert Hess (The Cocktail Spirit) when it comes to learning the history and evolution of cocktails. Jamie Boudreau (Canon, Seattle) with a focus on detail and finesse, and largely Jeffrey Morgenthaler (Clyde Common) because he isn’t afraid to be clever with old standards, i.e the Amaretto Sour. Jeffrey’s definitely a guy I would love to work with and learn from.”

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be and where would you have it?

Ernest Hemingway. The setting, some open air finca. I would like to pick his brain about the cocktail so famously named after him. Also, ask for writing tips.”

Nitro Jonathan Orlando

You have your own site, called DrinksAndInk.com. When did you start it, and what’s your goal for it?

“Drinks and Ink came from a need to change my previous handle (which was Ask Me Mixology). Say it fast enough and it sounds like something completely different. I love making drinks and love getting tattooed so it worked perfectly for me. Ask Me Mixology came from that era of molecular mixology a few years back. Looking back it was kind of dorky.”

“I think my goals are relatable with most bartenders now.
Work somewhere with a serious bar program. Work with individuals with immense talent and innovation.
Get recognized for my skills, dedication and creativity.
Ultimately build my own program, in my own bar and live happily ever after. Also, name more cocktails after my dog Lola.”

You’ve been working with nitro infusion cocktails. Tell us about your latest drinks?

“I think nitrous oxide gained popularity in foams and such during the height of the molecular mixology thing, so of course I jumped on that bandwagon. As fun as foams are, there’s a characteristic that is commonly dismissed, the aeration available and flavor intensity from using nitrous. Dave Arnold touches on this with his quick nitrous bitters. I’ve experimented with mostly coffee infusions.

“I’ve become fond of this device called Soda Sparkle. Great for making those nitrous infusions. Awful at foams. Also this is specifically designed for carbonating cocktails so technically it’s not built for high nitrous pressures, luckily the soda sparkle came designed with an automatic pressure release.

Nitro charged cocktails
Nitro charged Daiquiri over crushed ice.

“Other drinks I’ve worked on have been Mojitos and Daiquiris. Nitrous is naturally sweet so recipes need to be adjusted accordingly.”

Johnathan Orlando, of The Lion NYC, shares his perfect cold brew recipe, then nitro charges it and makes a cocktail.
Nitro Cold Brew Espresso Martini, by Johnathan Orlando.

Nitro Espresso Martini, by Jonathan Orlando

2 oz. Belvedere Vodka
1/4 oz. Rich Simple syrup (2:1 by weight)
1 oz. Nitro Espresso from Cold Brew

To yield 33 oz. Cold Brew:
50 grams of espresso (Use your favorite). Fine grind it freshly and place it in a non-reactive container (Hermetic large jars work great).

Immediately after: Add 825 grams of cold distilled water. Stir, enclose and shake. Let it sit for 1 hour in a refrigerator.

While that is brewing we need to make loose hot coffee. Weigh out another 50 grams freshly ground espresso and add 700 grams hot water (around 200 degrees F). Stir, loosely cover with a towel and let that sit out for an hour. The next step is to strain. If you have a bunch of coffee filters great. If not dish towels work well. I strain the coffee three times. Don’t press any of the coffee, just let gravity do most of the work for you. Your yield will be significantly shorter but that’s okay because the next step is to combine the cold brew with the loose hot brew.

The reason I do this is to extract oils, bitterness and CO2 from the hot method to add to the subtle-flavored cold brew. Next, place the blend into a bottle or jar and let it chill overnight. Whatever solids that weren’t trapped in the filtering will rest to the bottom.
Now the nitrous part. Fill your vessel to just below the fill line. I recommend using an ISI Whipper because of its ability to withstand high pressure and it’s reliability. Charge the espresso. Shake for a minute and let rest for a minute. Slowly vent the gas. Charge again. Shake and let rest once more. Slowly and carefully vent. We don’t want to lose too much gas. Now place in your favorite self sealing bottle and keep cold. This will last a week depending on how often you open the bottle.

A fair warning: nitrous brings out a lot of flavors and notes of vanilla and spice that you may not have noticed before but it also ups the caffeine levels a lot. If you’re sensitive to caffeine be careful with how much you drink. Two ounces feel like a triple espresso.
Nitro charged espresso
Orlando works on his Nitro Charged Espresso Martini, at The Lion.

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