Spiced & Shaken Espresso

I am a HUUUUGE fan of coffee shops. I used to go to Starbucks a lot in Montana because they gave me lots of ways to earn stars (aka free drinks). Those opportunities have lessened recently so I have been branching out to other shops like Epoch and Merit. However, recently I noted a new drink making the rounds on social media called an “Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso.

Naturally, I promptly went to a local Starbucks for some beta testing… I am selfless. This is OBVIOUSLY for you, dear readers. Not because I love coffee. And sugar. And when they combine.

This picture below is me looking for an excuse to try a new drink offering at SBUX:

Found an excuse. You’re reading it.

I made one change whilst ordering- I do not like oat milk so I subbed coconut milk. I know oat milk is all the rage right now, but it makes my throat feel scratchy. Am I making this up? Maybe. But it seemed true twice so I have decided to avoid it as a milk sub. The drink was delicious, but really sweet. I wanted to make a lightened up version of my own using NuNaturals stevia products instead of sugar. I also decided that I was going to make a spiced version, which afforded me an opportunity to use NuNaturals Chai syrup.


Some of the smaller details:

Cold Foam: When you are making cold foam you’re essentially just adding air with a frother. If you have a non-fat milk it will whip up nicely. If you use a milk substitute with 1% or 2% fat it will not stay aerated for quite as long. Both are tasty, but if you’re “doing this for the ‘gram” make sure you have your shot set up before hand. Pour the milk once you have the shot composed for quick photo turnaround. You can add the MCT powder before frothing (and/or add a packet of stevia to the milk when frothing if you wish). Want to learn more? Eater wants to help!

Making a Cold Espresso Drink: Yeah, espresso is warm. This drink is not. So we need to do a few things to make sure your drink is chilled but not watered down. First, I add the syrup to the bottom of my glass before pulling my double-shot of espresso. It looked cool because the espresso sat on top! I stirred the espresso and syrup together and filled the rest of the small glass with the milk I was using. This helps cool it to the point where you can add it to a cocktail shaker.

Mise en Place: The French use this term when talking about having everything out/measured when baking or cooking. Then you can methodically work through the process with everything (you guessed it) in its proper place. I suggest doing this because the cold foam is time-sensitive. Here was my set up:

  • I set up the milk with the MCT powder in a cup to froth (but did not actually froth it yet).
  • I had a cocktail glass ready with ice inside.
  • Then I put ice in a cocktail shaker. I did all of this while the espresso was cooling. Make your espresso first.
  • I poured the espresso mixture over the ice in the cocktail shaker. You’ll want to shake until your hand is cold- it is really neat how the shaker goes from warm to cold so quickly!
  • Using the strainer, pour the espresso over the ice. You’ll notice it does not melt the ice in the glass.
  • Then froth that milk up quick and pour it on top!
  • Garnish if you want. I put some cinnamon on top and added a cocktail skewer, which I explain below.

Presentation is Everything

I have really missed drinking out of cocktail glasses. I have been sober since mid-May 2019* and I did not move any cocktail items with me when we spent a year in Montana. So now that we are back home in Texas I have purchased some cocktail glasses and skewers for garnishes. I wanna feel fancy, too. 🙂

I decided that the ONE sugary item here would be the garnish (When NuNaturals makes chocolate spheres I will totally use those instead). You do not have to have a garnish… I think my husband was not amused (his fell in the glass because I was beta-testing two shapes of cocktail glasses. He lost).

Since Easter is coming up, I used Cadbury mini egg garnishes. This was not easy because they are a chocolate shell with a creamy filling. The trick was to place the skewer in a damp towel that was recently heated in the microwave (DO NOT PUT METAL SKEWERS IN THE MICROWAVE BECAUSE SCIENCE). This heated metal helped me pierce the egg without cracking it. In the name of science, I included a visual aid below:

If you want this drink “neat” (aka no ice in your glass)

Here’s a reel up on my Instagram account showing a lot of the tips and tricks discussed whist making a Dirty Chai Mocktail. The recipe is the same for the most part, however you are not poring this over ice when served. So you are going to have to, as Outkast once said, “shake it like a Polaroid picture.” This needs to be chilly so it is not warm halfway through. If it gets lukewarm, you can just shake it with ice again or put a cube in the glass. We aren’t on Downton Abbey, so no one will clutch their pearls if you do this.

This was garnished with a chocolate sphere and served in a coupe glass. There’s less room in these, so basically every cocktail or mocktail served in these bad boys follows the golden Polaroid rule here.

Shake it, shake, shake it…

P/S- An Angel appeared in my espresso shot and told you to try these techniques out.


Are you calling me a liar? Here s/he is:

*Sobriety Footnote: I do not have a story where one event or thought made me decide not to drink. I am on Zoloft for anxiety and depression and this does not mix well with booze. I miss the fancy glasses and offerings, but I was able to try some rad mocktails before Covid rained on that parade. There aren’t enough mocktails available IMO, so I’ll be making more on this blog. As Busta once said, “If I ain’t gonna be part of the greatest, I gotta be the greatest myself.”

Also, sticking with Busta vernacular- you can go “flipmode” and add booze to these. I am all about other people imbibing. It just doesn’t work for me. 🙂


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