An Espresso-Based Frozen Drink

Recipe (makes 2 medium-sized frozen drinks)

  • 4 shots of espresso – – I used Sweet Maria’s Liquid Amber Espresso Blend, home-roasted to perfection and pulled fresh exactly 24-hours after roasting. If you aren’t a home roaster substitute an espresso blend from your favorite roaster. And if you don’t have an espresso machine, brew 4 oz. of double-strength coffee with your coffee brewer.
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar – – it is best to mix the sugar in with hot espresso to ensure that the sugar dissolves (see notes on sugar substitues below)
  • 2.5 cups of either whole or 2% milk — 1% milk works, but it doesn’t result in as rich of a drink
  • 1 tablespoon of pectin
  • At least 2 cups of ice – – that’s about 1 cup of ice per drink serving, depending on your blender

Preparation Tips

  • If you don’t have pectin, it can be skipped, but this element does help the drink to “feel” right when compared to the store-bought drinks. The pectin should be added to the mixture a minimum of thirty minutes prior to serving the drinks. This works out well because you can make the drink mixture prior to the serving time. This drink mixture stores well for up to 24 hours (but I didn’t try to store it longer).
  • The pectin will combine with any undissolved sugar and thicken the mixture, so be sure to stir mixture prior to pouring it in the blender and adding the ice.

What the heck is Pectin?

Pectin is a thickening agent. Although it is a naturally-occurring gum found in fruit, it is sold in either a (white) powder or liquid form. It is usually used when canning fruit, thus it can be found with canning supplies. Powdered pectin is available more readily than liquid pectin. I was unable to locate the liquid pectin, so I used powdered and it worked fine. I didn’t find any difference between powdered brands once they were added to the drink mixture, and a box of a powdered pectin agent will cost you less than a dollar. Arrowroot costs a little more but can be substituted; arrowroot will be found in the spice isle at the grocery store. Just don’t try to use corn starch, gelatin, or flour. And if you’re not interested in having the drink approximate the store-bought drink, you can skip it altogether.

Sugar Substitutes

For the purposes of testing the recipe, I tried several variations on the theme. One thing you can’t order at these coffee conglomerates is a sugar-free version of a blended frozen drink. I have some friends who are sugarfree conoisseurs, so we tested some sugar substitutes during our tasting session. The winners: Erythritol and Splenda. Both of these sugar subsitutes can be measured out just like regular sugar. Both seemed to dissolve effortlessly into the coffee despite the fact that the espresso had cooled. They tasted very, very good, but it should be noted that the resulting drinks didn’t have quite the same feeling in your mouth as the sugar-based drink. I suppose that this could be counteracted by using whole milk (which has the naturally-occuring milk sugars), but the same testers who were using sugar substitutes were also avoiding fat, so I made these drinks with 1% milk.