Baby, I’m ready for my shakerato! What’s that, you say? Pronounced shake-er-ato (or shack-er-ato, as some oft pronounced the fabulous word), the shakerato is Italy’s quintessential cold coffee drink served at bars and cafes around Italy perfectly timed to announce la primavera. And for me, it is a glass of absolute satisfaction. It’s that moment when the city is noticeably heating up a few degrees- with life, fashion and conversations. Jackets are left in the office, sleeves are rolled up, and arms are bare, and we all smile knowingly. Spring has sprung.
Consummate coffee drinkers look no further than the shakerato as the warm-weather solution for an espresso fix. At the end of April, head to any bar counter at any time of day (this is key) and ask for a shakerato. You are in for a true treat. A bartender pours fresh coffee (sugared or not, up to you) in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and for the next minute, you’ll be mesmerised by the lovely sound of violently shaken ice and coffee. A cocktail glass, whether martini, collins or high ball, sits on the counter, and the bartender casually pours the shaken cold coffee into the cup making sure that the golden foam rises to the top. Take a sip, a sugared foam rests on the lip and you are consumed by a perfectly chilled espresso.
I can’t tell you how much I love the first shakerato of the season. Though this year we’ve had to wait a lot longer for a shakerato, once the bars opened, they were already shaking. Yes, I get so excited that I actually proclaim it and capture the moment with a photo. I love my shakerato in a martini glass when I’m feeling in need of a little fabulousness – thank you, Caffe Ciampini, and I love just a cheerful highball for a quick midmorning pick-me-up at my go-to and everyone’s favourite Sant’Eustachio Il Caffe. But honestly, I ‘ll enjoy a shakerato anywhere as long as it’s done well. And guess what? You, too, can enjoy a little of my Italian spring at home by making your own shakerato at home.
Shake it up, baby!
A freshly-made pot of your favorite espresso
Lots of ice cubes
Drop the ice in your martini shaker. Add as much sugar as you like. Pour in espresso and shake. And shake. And shake. And then shake it some more. Arms hurt? Hands too cold? It’s time to pour your first shakerato . . .