Try Pecan Rum And Amarula For A More Complex Espresso Martini

Given the popularity of espresso martinis, it's no surprise that plenty of bars — and homes — have put forth creative variations. At its most traditional, the coffee cocktail comes with vodka, Kahlua, espresso, and simple syrup. With that base, however, you can modify your martini, employing everything from vanilla to peanut butter. One such combination slated for success is pecan rum and Amarula. When paired together, the nutty rum and cream-based liquor will transform the flavors of your espresso martini.

"The pecan rum and Amarula add a nutty, as well as fruity note to the cocktail," Brandon Bailey, beverage manager at Asheville, North Carolina's The Foundry Hotel, told Tasting Table. This swap removes the bitterness from the espresso and gives the drink a flavor profile as though the espresso martini was made with a Kona coffee, explained Bailey. "Amarula is made from the Marula which is native to South Africa," he said, highlighting its unique qualities; drinkers may be able to detect the likes of mangoes, caramel, chocolate-covered strawberries, and vanilla. 

If you're looking to upgrade your espresso martinis, the combination of Amarula and pecan liquor is the perfect place to start. You'll need simple syrup, espresso, chocolate liquor, and, of course, Amarula and pecan rum. For the rum, specifically, you can buy a bottle, though making your own from scratch is well worth the effort. Luckily, Bailey's easy-to-follow steps will have you sipping rum — alongside espresso — in no time.

Make pecan rum by starting with a pecan butter base

Before you can make pecan rum, you need to make pecan butter. Bailey's recipe calls for 2 cups of high-quality pecans, which you can use either whole or in pieces, as well as sea salt and ground cinnamon. Start your butter by toasting those pecans in a skillet over the stovetop; medium heat, for four to eight minutes, should do the trick, though you'll want to keep an eye on them to avoid burning. 

Once your pecans are done toasting, wait for them to cool. Then, blend them all together in a food processor or blender. "The mixture will be crumbly at first but will eventually blend into butter," said Bailey, who warned home bartenders-turned-cooks not to let the mixture overheat, which results in oil separation. If you feel it getting too hot, wait for your appliance to cool. Once your pecans are blended, "add a pinch of salt and a dash of cinnamon," per Bailey, and blend one final time. 

That pecan butter, when sealed and refrigerated, will last for about a month, so you'll have more than a few weekend's worth of espresso martinis. While you don't have to use all of that butter exclusively for rum — hello, pecan butter toast — making your own fat-washed pecan rum is always a recipe for success.

Transform pecan butter to a martini-worthy rum

Once you make your pecan butter, all that's missing is the rum. Bailey recommends using white rum, specifically 25 ounces of Havana Club Añejo Blanco. For the perfect ratio, you should pair that rum with about 120 grams of homemade pecan butter. After mixing the two together in a plastic container, make sure to cover the mixture and keep it at room temperature for roughly two hours. When that infusion period has passed, the mixture can go in the freezer. "Allow it to freeze for at least 24 hours to settle out," explained Bailey.

From there, the waiting is over, and you can strain your rum. "Line a strainer with a coffee filter, and place it over a large container," said Bailey. Then, when you take the rum-pecan mixture out of the freezer, pour the liquid through the strainer. It's okay to use a few coffee filters, which are likely to clog.

Once your plastic container is emptied — and your rum strained — transfer the end product into a jar or bottle. Your alcohol is ready to pour, and your espresso martini is more than ready to be enjoyed.