“When I lived in Italy, I soon came to understand that good espresso is kind of a religion,” says Ibrahim. “No long-list menus. No ventis, trentis or complicated flavor combos. Just a drink that’s pure, dark and strong.” Your guests will appreciate this straightforward, Italian presentation.
Here’s how to make one (the right way): First, serve a small glass of sparkling water to each guest to cleanse their palates. Serve top-quality Peet’s espresso in a demitasse cup with a tiny spoon and a couple of sugar cubes and a little lemon rind on the side. If your espresso is made right, it will look like there's a cream topping on the surface--kind of like the creamy foam on a beer. It’s created by the force of the water cutting through the espresso, and it's called ‘crema,’ although there's no milk in a classic espresso. It helps to keep the flavor in. Tell guests to follow your lead and dissolve one or two sugar cubes into the hot espresso with the back of that cute spoon. They can drop the rind in their espresso to mellow the taste with acidity, or chew on it after they finish. If you're feeling fancy, bring out a little plate of amaretti or biscotti, and a rock sugar stick to stir instead of a spoon.