Viral recipe for espresso martini with parmesan cheese divides viewers

People are divided over a now-viral espresso martini recipe, which features parmesan cheese on the top of the drink.

In February, Jordan Hughes, who goes by the username @highproofpreacher, shared a video on social media of himself making the iconic martini, with an uncommon ingredient. The clip began with Hughes claiming that his “bartender friend” told him to make this cocktail, before he put a shot of espresso in his cocktail shaker.

He proceeded to add an ounce of coffee liquor, two ounces of vodka, and a pinch of sea salt to the drink shaker. Hughes, who refers to himself as the “cocktail guy”, went on to add some ice and mixed the ingredients together, before straining it into a chilled martini glass.

However, instead of topping the drink off with its usual espresso bean, he garnished it with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese on top. After noting that putting cheese on a cocktail felt “crazy,” he proceeded to try the beverage, which he jokingly called a “monstrosity”.

Hughes concluded the video by praising the drink, as he said: “I regret to inform you that was kind of awesome.”

In the caption of his Instagram post, he applauded Seattle-based bartender Jonathan Stanyard for mentioning this drink idea to him.

Speaking to The Independent, Hughes opened up about the taste of the drink, explaining that it wasn’t vile or over-the-top. He also shared his recommendations when making it.

“It’s actually pretty subtle,” he said. “I recommend using a microplane to get a really finely grated texture vs. using a cheese grater. This way you get a little taste of parmesan cheese with each sip– which just adds a nice salty / savory element to the drink.”

Since his video went viral, many bartenders have shared their take on the drink. Stanyard even shared an Instagram video in March of his recipe for the beverage, which he called “an espresso truffletini.” In the caption, he also praised Hughes for getting “ball rolling on this mad idea”.

His recipe was also a bit different than Hughes’, as Stanyard included shaved pieces of dark chocolate on top of the drink, along with the parmesan cheese. After calling the beverage “sweet and savoury”, he claimed that it would be the “best espresso Martini” of people’s lives.

Miguel Buencamino, who frequently shares his homemade recipes on his site, Holy City Handcraft, also shared a video of himself making the martini with cheese. In his Instagram video, he went on to try the drink and said it was “delicious”.

Despite how many people were open to having the drink, others have criticised the beverage and questioned if cheese actually tastes good in it.

“I can’t imagine,” one Instagram user wrote in the comments of Hughes’ post, which featured him making the drink. “Is it seriously good with the Parmesan, or just a quirky thing to get attention? The rest of it I can imagine being delicious.”

“No no no no NO,” another wrote, along with a throwing up face emoji.

A third asked: “Who ARE you??? Vodka and cheese??”

However, other Instagram users said they were intrigued by the combination of cheese and coffee.

“If I liked cheese I would be running to make this!” one wrote, while another added: “Gettin wild with the cheese! I’d try it! At least once!”

A third said: “I often eat a slice of cheese alongside black coffee to get the milky nutty flavour combination that they combine to.”

During an interview with Food and Wine, Hughes explained why he thought that flavour of the cheese worked with an espresso martini.

“The cocktail sounds a lot weirder than it actually is, but that thin layer of finely grated parmesan genuinely complements the bitter coffee with a subtle savoury and salty element,” he said. “Don’t go overboard with the parmesan though…your Espresso Martini is not a plate of pasta.”

He also acknowledged his followers’ curiosity about the beverage and the positive reactions that fellow bartenders had to it.

“Bartenders and home enthusiasts alike have been sending me photos and videos of themselves trying it, or making an espresso martini with parmesan for guests at the bar,” he said. “So far, it’s a pretty small minority of people who are disgusted by it after trying it. But the overall response overall is along the lines of: ‘Wow, this is so weird and fun and amazing, and I want another one.’”

Speaking to The Independent, he said that he’s had people from different countries reach out to him who said that they’ve pair cheese and coffee together.

“It just works,” I’ve actually had quite a few responses from people in different regions of the world (like various South American countries and a few in Europe), who say that pairing coffee with a side of cheese is pretty commonplace, so they don’t understand us Americans ‘freaking out’ over this Parmesan Espresso Martini,” he added.