Shaken, Not Stirred

"Shaken, not stirred." It’s how James Bond orders a martini, and it would undoubtedly be how he would order an iced coffee if he was stuck in a café in Italy with time to spare before jetting to some exotic locale. Can you imagine 007 slurping a huge frappucino out of a plastic cup with a straw? Sipping a caffe shakerato from a martini glass is more like it.

Simply made and minimally presented, the caffe shakerato is Italy’s iced espresso answer to the various frozen ‘cinos that dot the landscape. Where these whipped and frapped drinks taste more of cream and chocolate than coffee, the shakerato proudly puts the bold flavor of the bean first.

Agitation is the essence of the shakerato (literally, "shaker"-ato), as demonstrated above in the tiny walled city of Monteriggioni, in Tuscany. The drink begins to take shape when one freshly-made shot of espresso is combined with crushed ice and a tablespoon (to taste) of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, boiled and cooled) in a cocktail shaker. After a good 30 seconds or so of shaking, the icy solution is strained into an elegant martini glass.images/shakerato The result is a deep, dark, concentrated, and extraordinarily refreshing drink topped with a delicious layer of light brown foam, the reconstituted crema that skimmed the surface of the shot before it was plunged into ice.

That’s all it takes to make a classic shakerato, though it may also be embellished with a drop of liqueur. At the museum café at the Triennale di Milano, where I had my first shakerato, Bailey’s Irish Cream was a surprise addition that I haven't had elsewhere.

If you don’t have an espresso machine, $2.50 will buy you a caffe shakerato made to order at the Crestanello Gran Caffe Italiano, located at 475 Fifth Avenue, across the street from the New York Public Library.



What a beautiful beverage.


Is smelling the armpit an integral part of the Shakerato? I have tried it both ways and can't tell much difference. Please advise.


Hi Peter,

That's pretty funny. I guess it depends on the scent! In actuality, the guy was just showing off by shaking the shaker above his head.


Gee, it's AMAZING how your comments mirror my observations that ran in the AUGUST ISSUE of Bon Appetit!
I'm so happy that you and I agree on so many things about the Shakerato, but the next time you "appropriate" you should make sure that you reference who you are appropriating from, darling.


I feel I should add that Bon Appetit is out early June.
And they have been served at Da Silvano for over since 1975.
Ciao ciao!


Marisa: Is there some misunderstanding? Not only have I not seen the Bon Appetit article you are referring too, but do you realize I wrote this post on my site back in 2003 -- four years ago?


Ok, a mea culpa is in order.
I had a six page piece in Bon Appetit that is strangely similar to what you wrote in 2003.
My apologies.


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woo, that loos so delicious! I want to taste it...


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That must be a good drink.


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