I had no idea how I was going to wrap up Alexander Week. Any sort of liqueur-based Alexander seemed too obvious/easy, the thought of a Rum Alexander held no appeal (maybe if I used a sorbet instead of an ice cream/gelato? But still, meh) and a Vodka Alexander — well, I’d actually made one of those a few weeks ago, using an unflavored vodka and the exact-same recipe as I did for the gin Alexander (with the white creme de cacao and the mint chip gelato). It tasted OK, not at all bad, but from a mixology standpoint I was uninspired by it.
Then I remembered the espresso-infused vodka we’d made a while back, and then I thought about affogato.
Affogato is an Italian dessert made simply by pouring hot espresso over gelato. Most affogato recipes will call for vanilla gelato (or ice cream, since we’re stateside) although some note coffee or chocolate; likewise, strong coffee can often sub for espresso. I love affogato because the cleanness of espresso on vanilla is breathtakingly good and because the presentation is undeniably elegant even though it sounds like something one might do on accident, and because I have never had a bad affogato. (My last one was in late summer at Al Di La. ‘Nuff said.)
So with my espresso-infused vodka and some easily-whipped-up vanilla ice cream, all I needed was to break out the dark creme de cacao and a shaker of cinnamon and I was ready to go. In keeping with the traditional style of affogato-making, I placed my scoop of ice cream in the glass first, then poured my alcoholic mixture on top — but since this needed to err on the side of drinkable rather than spoonable, I kept my scoop quite small.
On my first attempt, I actually poured just a vodka-creme de cacao mixture over the ice cream, only to find that they didn’t gel well at all; splotches of cream started coagulating and floating on the surface of the liquor quite unappealingly. So I went back to how I’d been making Alexanders all week, pre-mixing a little ice cream into the liquid mixture, and all was right with the world again.
The Affogato Alexander
1 1/4 ounces housemade espresso vodka
3/4 ounces dark creme de cacao
About two ounces of homemade vanilla ice cream
Cinnamon, for garnish
Pour vodka and creme de cacao into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Add about an ounce of ice cream. Shake until ice cream is melted.
Scoop another ounce or so of vanilla ice cream into a chilled cocktail glass. Strain contents of shaker over ice cream.
Sprinkle with cinnamon to garnish.
If you’ve got an ice cream maker at home, here’s the easiest recipe ever for a really good vanilla ice cream that I’ve used several times: Dump a can of condensed milk, a cup of regular milk and a tablespoon of vanilla extract into ice cream maker. Turn on ice cream maker. You don’t even have to mix the ingredients together beforehand if you don’t want to.