Maitland Aroma Festival 2017 is on August 12 and 13

INDULGE: The Whistler's bar manager Dane Cottee making an espresso martini on the riverbank. Picture: Belinda-Jane Davis
INDULGE: The Whistler's bar manager Dane Cottee making an espresso martini on the riverbank. Picture: Belinda-Jane Davis

If you’re going to make an espresso martini, you’ve got to do it right.

The Whistler’s bar manager Dane Cottee is very particular when it comes to the cocktail and will share his tips and tricks with crowds at Maitland Aroma Festival this weekend.

He showcased his skills alongside the Hunter river on Thursday as a taste of what is to come. 

“You’ve got to think about having the right kind of coffee in it, and aside from having the right kind of coffee, the right balance of ingredients,” he said. 

“If you have too much liqueur it is too sweet. “If you have too much vodka in it you just get hit with that in the first place.”

Mr Cottee said espresso martinis were a popular choice at the bar. 

“It’s a combination of two of the best things in the world – coffee and vodka – two things that shouldn’t taste good together, but they do,” he said. “Really the coffee is the key ingredient – and shaking, you’ve got to shake the hell out of it.”

Between 15,000 and 18,000 people are expected to flock to the festival on Saturday and Sunday to enjoy 80 stalls and a range of free demonstrations. 

There will be lots of baristas making coffee and sending that quintessential aroma through the air. 

“You can’t beat a good coffee and Maitland’s coffee culture is right up there with the best,” Mr Cottee said. 

Extreme cupcake decorating classes, making personalised Rocky Road and learning how to bring the best out of icing sugar are some of the enticing workshops on offer. 

Demonstrations on modern cake decorating, making chocolate mousse, chocolate truffles, chocolate flowers and chocolate beer, to name a few, are scheduled on the Flavour Stage.

Maitland council events curator Jess Hartigan said the event was a good excuse to indulge.

She said there would also be painting classes along the riverbank where brushes were dipped into coffee, instead of paint. 

“We’re trying to emphasise the hands on and interactive element of the event this year to give people the opportunity to try things first hand,” Ms Hartigan said. 

“Part of the popularity of this event is the fact that it’s about coffee and chocolate, which is a popular thing in its own right. “It’s very local; we feature local producers, local baristas and chocolatiers and the location along the Hunter river is a really nice place. 

“It’s a nice way to get people outside and enjoying the vistas of the Hunter river and warming up a little bit.”

The festival will be held in the Riverside car park in central Maitland on Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 4pm. 

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