Cafe Shakerato surely evolved to satisfy those Italians who simply could not survive without their espresso, yet somehow the blistery summer days seemed to call for something a bit more refreshing. Some years ago in Tropea, Mia Sorella and I were deeply immersed in one of our favorite sibling bonding activities – shopping; we were madly searching for some locally produced ceramic tiles to incorporate into a project at home. The shops had just rolled up their windows and it was sweltering; our stamina would surly be affected by the oppressive heat. The astute shop owner of a tiny ceramic studio understood that these conditions would certainly affect our ability to supplement the local economy, so he discretely sent his young son off on a little errand. Allora, after some minutes the boy appeared with two icy cold coffee drinks, and that was our introduction to Cafe Shakerato.
Espresso plays an important part of the culture at Casa Levitt all year round. Our cupboards overflow with the equipment & accessories to support our obsession. There are the Italian style pots in varying sizes, an espresso machine, espresso cup collections and the monthly delivery of special dark roast coffee from our Italian supplier. As you see we are well outfitted to prepare the espresso for Caffe Shakerato; most importantly we start with a good quality roast that will provide the strength of character that a respectable espresso demands.
Caffe Shakerato is a quick and easy treat; think of it as a chilled alternative to the caffeine jolt one typically receives from an espresso. Strong and sweet with a mysterious richness in body, yet oh so pleasing on a summer’s day.
The ingredient list is short – espresso, a sweetener, ice and lemon peel. We prefer to sweeten Caffe Shakerato with a simple syrup, leaving no chance that that granulated sugar may not completely dissolve. A well chilled cocktail shaker is essential, try placing it in the freezer overnight.
Are you familiar with what Italians refer to as a Corretto, or Caffe Corretto? Simply translated as corrected coffee; corrected you may ask, what need to be corrected when presented with a perfectly good espresso? Well, there are those times when one one wants just a bit more of a kick from their espresso (I’m sure you understand) and the addition of a shot of Grappa or Sambuca does the trick. It’s perfectly reasonable to take your Caffe Shakerato one step further in the same way… and there you have the Caffe Shakerato Corretto.
You don’t have to be Italian to enjoy an icy cold Caffe Shakerato this summer, go ahead and give it a try. Each time I have one I am transported back to that picturesque ceramic shop with my sister, sipping our Caffe Shakeratos as though we are divas in a Vittorio De Sica film.
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- 3 ounces of freshly brewed espresso
- 1 ounce of simple syrup, well chilled
- 2 strips of lemon peel
- ½ ounce of Grappa or Sambuca, if desired
- A well chilled cocktail shaker
- 8 to 10 ice cubes
- Serving glasses
- Have your well chilled cocktail shaker filled with the ice cubes. All other necessary items should be in place.
- Prepare the espresso using whatever method you have available: a fancy espresso machine or a simple Cafeteria style pot.
- Pour the prepared espresso into the shaker, along with the simple syrup, and Grappa or Sambuca if desired. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds and pour into the serving glasses (I am assuming that your cocktail shaker has a strainer attachment, if not please strain).
- Garnish with a strip of lemon peel and enjoy.