In the evening, recessed lights dim to a soft glow, signaling Parterre’s transition from daytime coffee-and-lunch hub to sleek cocktail bar for downtown Dallas denizens in search of a postwork tipple. The sister spot to La Reunion and State Street Coffee—the other pair of cafe gems owned by Mike Mettendorf—opened last fall in the Santander Tower on Elm Street. A coffee whiz like Mettendorf needed a little convincing from beverage director Joe Rodriguez (pictured) to bring cocktails into the mix. Of course, the espresso martini makes perfect sense here. If you didn’t already know, this buzzy-boozy potable is having a comeback moment at bars everywhere. “I personally like espresso martinis,” Rodriguez says. “I know they’re very cliche and whatnot, but to this day the espresso martini, since 2020, has been the top-selling cocktail.”
- A Buzzy Base
- Booze You Can Use
- It’s All in the Shake
- Bitter Heart
- The Final Touch
Beans come from Flower Mound’s Novel Coffee Roasters. Two freshly pulled shots of Rogue Blend espresso—sun-dried beans from Brazil and Ethiopia—provide a lovely, bubbly foam and a smoky-fruity flavor.
Rodriguez uses Townes Vodka, which is distilled in Houston. “It’s a great vodka to have in the well: it’s [made in] Texas, and it’s better than Tito’s,” he says. The requisite coffee liqueur is Kahlua—just a half-ounce or so.
“You know, if the shake isn’t appropriate, you won’t have that big foam on top or that bubble structure,” Rodriguez says. “It should sound good whenever you hold it up to your ears, popping like Rice Krispies almost.”
“We drop black walnut bitters from Fee Brothers, and we run a pick all around through the center of those drops just to make a floating heart, which is a nod towards our baristas’ latte art,” Rodriguez says.
Lastly, the drink is topped ever so gently with a single coffee bean from the very same Rogue roast. You can eat it, but mind your caffeine intake, Rodriguez advises. This drink was designed to be cocktail rocket fuel.