When bar guests request a “bartender’s choice” cocktail containing absinthe from Dzu Nguyen, the beverage director for Horsefeather in San Francisco, his go-to is this riff on an Espresso Martini. Its name is a play on the classic absinthe-and-Champagne cocktail Death in the Afternoon.
Nguyen prefers to use Vieux Pontarlier absinthe from France for “its deep complexity and the fact that it’s not just pungent star anise to the face,” he says. Its notes of grassy fennel, mint and menthol make it elegant and versatile.
This recipe originally appeared as part of “What the #$@! Do I Do with This? Absinthe: What It Is and How to Use It.”
- 3/4 ounce Vieux Pontarlier absinthe
- 1/2 ounce Branca Menta
- 1/2 ounce coffee liqueur
- 1 1/2 ounces espresso (or 1 1/2 ounces cold-brew coffee concentrate)
- 1 barspoon demerara sugar
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1 pinch coarse sea salt
- 1 orange twist
- Garnish: mint sprig
Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a Nick & Nora glass.
Express the oil from an orange twist over the glass and discard.
Garnish with a mint sprig.