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Recipe: How to Make this Coffee Cocktail from Cape Town's Lello's Deli

Lello’s Deli is Cape Town’s known for its signature Italian dishes. They show us how to make a great espresso tonic too

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By House & Garden South Africa | September 28, 2023 | Recipes

An espresso tonic is a daring new-ish refreshing drink that is making its way around Italian summer tables, says Danillo Turilli, a member of the Turilli family who runs Cape Town’s trendy — and incredibly authentic — Italian deli and their other cafe. There is a common saying that goes along the lines of ‘food brings people together’. In the case of the Turilli family, food brought them together, created a diverse community and expanded Cape Town’s Italian food scene in ways we never thought possible.

“I was a mixologist in London many moons ago. It’s important to use a deeply golden hazelnut-noted coffee for this drink. We use lake garda lemon scented tonic water for ours to balance out the flavour,” says Danillo Turilli.


  • 1 espresso (30ml) of dark roast Italian Coffee
  • 200ml lake garda tonic water
  • A sliver of lemon or orange rind
  • A handful of ice


  • Twist the citrus rind until the oils are released. Rub it around the rim of the
  • Pour in your tonic water of choice and top with a freshly pulled espresso (or 30 ml from your moka pot).
  • Serve it like that and mix it when you are ready to drink.
  • Best served with a bowl of lightly salted Italian crisps.