It’s 90 degrees in Kansas City and I am sure coffee is the last thing on your mind.
By JASPER J. MIRABILE JR.
Okay, I am not talking hot coffee, I’m talking about one of my favorite beverages, a Shakereto.
The Shakerato (pronounced shake-er-AH-toe) is simple to prepare and quick. A shot of pulled espresso, some sugar and ice cubes, placed in a cocktail shaker and shaken.
That’s it. Just shake-shake-shake!!!
As my friend Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome told me last summer, this was the famous drink that Pope John Paul II enjoyed as a student in Rome at Antico Caffe’ del Brasile.
Via dei Serpenti 23. Now it is a hangout for the president of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano.
As for the Shakerato, I’ve experienced many coffee drinks but the Shakerato may be my favorite.
I still remember my first one at an espresso bar in Sicily. My cousin Jasper prepared it for me but he actually added gelato to it. It was absolutely delicious and very unique.
He also made a regular a Shakerato and serve it in a martini glass. He was quite proud of his espresso and his Shakerato drink.
This past week I was in Kona, Hawaii celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary with my wife and of course, we had had to check out the coffee scene here in Hawaii. We actually went on a tour of a coffee plantation in the mountains and learned a lot about Kona coffee.
The Hawaiians are very proud of their Kona beans and in the process in which they harvest and roast. It was truly unique to visit a beam to cup operation on the big Island. Of course now I think I am an expert on coffee and I am quite addicted to the Kona bean.
Immediately following the coffee plantation visit, we stumbled upon an oasis in the middle of a coffee plantation. The oasis being a coffee bar where we enjoyed some of the finest coffee I have ever experienced in the whole world.
Perhaps it was because we were on the Thunder Mountain Coffee Plantation 3,200 feet high on the slopes of Hualalai. Or perhaps it was that we just experienced the harvesting and roasting some of the finest Kona beans available on the mountain. Either or, we were really enjoying ourselves.
The temperature on the Big Island that day was the usual 85 degrees that we had experienced the past two weeks but up in the mountains, in Kona, the temperature was a cool and refreshing 70 degrees.
The barista at the coffee bar welcomed us with open arms and offered to make us any coffee drink that we desired. My wife wanted to experience just a regular cup of Joe. We both laughed knowing there was no regular cup of coffee in Kona.
For my coffee treat that day I asked the barista for a couple of Shakeratos. The barista looked at me and replied, “Seriously, you must be from Italy?”
I asked her how did she know and she said she was just in Italy this past spring. She told me she had perfected the Shakerato while visiting a coffeehouse in Rome.
She immediately turned around and pulled a couple of shots of espresso made with from fresh roasted Kona coffee from her beautiful espresso machine provided by the plantation.
Just like in Italy, she poured the espresso into a cocktail shaker, added some simple syrup and just a touch of chocolate syrup. She turned around, added 5 ice cubes and started to shake the drink.
She then pulled out a chilled glass and poured the mixed espresso cocktail into the glass and handed to me with the biggest smile I have ever seen. No doubt, she was very proud of her drink and that she knew what I had requested.
I took one sip of the Shakerato and it was so delicious — a strong espresso taste and no bitterness. I was in coffee heaven. Funny thing, I never told her I was not from Italy.
And so my friends, I may be 8,119 miles away from Rome right now while I am in Kona, Hawaii, but I just may have found coffee paradise on the Big Island.
Here is my recipe to share with you on a hot summer day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have in Hawaii.
Makes one serving
2 ounces brewed Kona Bean Espresso
2 ounces simple syrup
1 ounce chocolate syrup
5 to 6 ice cubes
Place brewed coffee, simple syrup, and chocolate syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add ice cubes. Shake. Shake. Shake. Serve in a chilled martini glass. Enjoy
Chef Jasper’s Notes: For added flavor, strain chilled Shakerato over a dip of vanilla ice cream. This makes a delicious Affocato dessert, which, of course, means to drown in Italian.
Chef Jasper Mirabile of Jasper’s commands the helm of his family’s 59-year-old restaurant, consistently rated one of Kansas City’s best Italian restaurants. In addition to running the restaurant with his brother, Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He hosts many famous chefs on his weekly radio show Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM and sells a line of dressings and sauces.