Don’t judge the Espresso Martini with Parmesan til you try it

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Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

We’ve all been guilty of scoffing at online trends before we’ve tried them, be a pickle juice martini or sushi made out of Oreos.

So we’re not afraid to admit that we raised an eyebrow at the sight of the latest recipe sweeping the internet – the Espresso Martini with Parmesan.

It hit the web after booze influencer Jordan Hughes (known as the ‘cocktail guy’) decided to share his recipe for the rather unusual tipple on TikTok and Instagram.

And after an initial phase of shock and confusion, we realised that the combo had the potential to be quite epic, actually.

Check out the clip below: 

READ MORE: The wildest TikTok trends of the last year – and the ones we want to leave behind

“A bartender friend of mine told me that I had to make an espresso martini with parmesan cheese in it,’ Jordan said in a clip. 

“He could just be trolling me, but I want to try it.”

Jordan then mixed espresso, coffee liqueur, vodka, and sea salt with ice before straining into a cold glass and topping with grated Parmesan. 

“This feels crazy, my goodness,” he said, before adding: “Okay, let’s try this monstrosity.”

To everyone’s surprise, he took a sip and went on to tell viewers that the drink was actually “awesome.”

espresso martini with parmesan

All we need now is some Parmesan…right? (Credit: Alamy)

Of course, there were plenty who weren’t convinced.

“Straight to jail,” wrote someone in the comments.

Whilst another penned: “I had to make sure it wasn’t April 1st.”

But, like us, have people been to quick to judge?!

The cocktail might sound a little bizarre on first glance, but when you think about it, it actually makes sense.

Zoe Burgess, Beverage Consultant, Sweeties at the The Standard, London, exclusively tells Twisted: “If we think logically about the basic tastes and aromatic profiles of Parmesan and coffee, on-paper this pairing should work.

READ MORE: Everyone on TikTok is obsessed with this cheesy pickle recipe – so, we tried it

espresso martini with parmesan

Would you grate this on an Espresso Martini? (Credit: Alamy)

“Parmesan is high in umami – responsible for the rich and satisfying savoury tastes we experience. Parmesan also has a high salt content, which will amplify other basic tastes and dull down our experience of bitterness.

“Looking at the coffee for a moment, many of the aromatic compounds found in coffee contain sulphur, which feeds into and supports savoury taste.

“So putting aside the thought that this is cheese in a cocktail and looking at the structure of the overall flavour of this parring, we can see we have a synergy between Parmesan and coffee.”

Whilst Zoe says she is yet to try the unexpected flavour combo, she adds: “I suspect if you make a balanced espresso martini that is not too sweet (paying attention to the sweetness is likely key), use a good quality Parmesan and don’t over do it, this could be a delicious cocktail!”

Who’s laughing now, ey?

espresso martini with parmesan

The umami from the Parmesan actually works with coffee (Credit: Alamy)

Zoe isn’t the only cocktail connoisseur that approves of this combo.

In fact, Mariella Franciosi, Assistant General Manager and Head of Beverage at Aquavit London was so inspired after spotting it that she decided to knock her own up.

Mariella’s version uses a Parmesan crisp instead of grated cheese, and opts for a milk vodka, so the cocktail has more depth.

“This will provide a richer dimension to the espresso martini and be a better base for the umami flavours of the Parmesan to come through,” she explains.

“I would recommend using an aged Parmesan so to really bring a nuttiness and depth to the drink.

READ MORE: You can buy a literal slab of Parmesan at McDonald’s Italy

espresso martini with parmesan

Cocktail connoisseur Mariella Franciosi knocked this recipe up (Credit: Mariella Franciosi / Aquavit London)

“Also, trade out grated parmesan for a parmesan crisp – simply grate Parmesan into a pan and heat gently until it forms into a crisp – it adds a perfect crunch and added texture!”

If you want to try making Mariella’s recipe at home, she’s provided a recipe just for us.

Espresso Martini with Parmesan recipe

You’ll need: 

  • 40ml Black Cow Vodka (or any milk based vodka)
  • 15ml Mr Black Coffee Liqueur (or any coffee liqueur)
  • 10ml Lustau Manzanilla “Papirusa” Sherry
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 fresh espresso shot
  • Aged Parmesan crisp as garnish


Combine the first five ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, and then pour into a chilled glass and top with the Parmesan crisp.

It’s that easy, folks.

In the spirit of not knocking anything until we’ve tried it, we’re off to make one of these immediately.