Kahlua changes the Espresso Martini game

The next time you order an Espresso Martini it may very well be served from a tap. Just a few years ago, that was a pretty bad sign – pre-batched cocktails were notoriously poor quality. But now the game has changed with many top bars switching to batched and tapped cocktails, to ensure speed of service and consistency of product.

Enter Kahlua. The number one selling coffee liqueur in the world has recently launched its new Espresso Martini on Tap in Australia, a first of its kind globally for the brand.

Having been in the game since 1936, the Mexican spirit makers know about the stigma around tapped cocktails and understand local demands for high quality booze and coffee – but they also know how to make a good Espresso Martini. The key is in the quality of the ingredients. After extensive formulation trials, they’ve crafted an Espresso Martini on tap recipe that uses just three premium elements – Absolut vodka, Kahlua coffee liqueur and Organic Cold Brew, from Kind Coffee Co. 

The base is Kahlua’s eponymous, award-winning coffee liqueur. The rum-based liqueur relies on a seven-year process that travels from tropical cherry farming (the fruit around the coffee bean) distillation and the final infusion. The beans, Kahlua grown and fermented, are roasted in house and infused into the rum over a period of four weeks creating a bittersweet and nutty liqueur. 

Matching the meticulous production of the coffee liqueur, the vodka comes from Sweden’s single-source distillery Absolut. It’s made to be as clean and pure as possible, using only Swedish water and wheat. The former is captured from a seaside well in Åhus, and the wheat is exclusively winter-yield, a choice that ensures the wheat experiences snow and develops a higher gluten protein. The high gluten profile produces a richer flavour, while the purity of the ingredients keeps the flavour clean and crisp, an ideal base for a cocktail. 

The final ingredient was born and brewed on the north coast of NSW. Produced by boutique specialty cold brewer The Kind Coffee Co. Their incredible silky smooth full flavoured brew starts with organic fair-trade coffee. Hand selected and small batch roasted. Ground to just the right consistency then meticulously brewed with their proprietary cold brew 18-hour process. The reward for this painstaking process is a unique rich flavour profile that blends perfectly with Kahlua and Absolut.

The combined flavour profile is balanced, with the cold brew’s subtle earthy palette combining with the punch and crispness of the two spirits. 

The big question for Kahlua’s version, or any tapped cocktail that’s usually shaken, is around the freshness and texture. How do you get the coffee-flavoured crema? How does it taste? The nitro charged liquid ensures that every pour creates a smooth and velvety crema, truly unique to an on tap product, that gives the same clear dark-chocolate and cream layered colouring.

While there’s no reduction in quality from a hand-crafted Espresso Martini, there’s an enormous reduction in time for both those behind the bar and everyone waiting in front. A regular Espresso Martini can be an arduous several minute process, a pour from a Kahlua tap takes just 10 seconds. This is important of course, because the famous cocktail is among Australia’s most ordered mixed drinks and its popularity is ever-rising.