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The Espresso Martini: A Delicious Journey Through Time

The Origins of the Espresso Martini

The story of the Espresso Martini begins in the vibrant cocktail scene of London in the 1980s. The cocktail was reportedly created by the renowned bartender Dick Bradsell at the Soho Brasserie. As the tale goes, a famous model walked into the bar and asked Bradsell for a drink that would "wake me up and then f*** me up." With that intriguing request, Bradsell combined vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and a touch of sugar, giving birth to what we now know as the Espresso Martini.

The Rise to Popularity

Initially known as the "Vodka Espresso," the cocktail quickly gained popularity for its unique combination of rich coffee flavours and the smooth, crisp finish of vodka. The Espresso Martini's rise to fame can be attributed to several key factors:

1. Cultural Shifts: During the late 20th century, there was a growing interest in coffee culture, especially in urban areas. Coffee shops became trendy social hubs, and the idea of incorporating coffee into cocktails resonated with this emerging trend.

2. Versatility: The Espresso Martini is incredibly versatile, appealing to both coffee enthusiasts and cocktail lovers. Its rich and bold flavours make it suitable for various occasions, from a casual night out to a sophisticated gathering.

3. Aesthetic Appeal: The cocktail's striking appearance, with its dark hue and creamy froth, makes it a visually appealing choice. The garnish of three coffee beans adds a touch of elegance and symbolism, representing health, wealth, and happiness.

Why Coffee?

Coffee has long been a beloved beverage, celebrated for its robust flavour and invigorating properties. Incorporating coffee into a cocktail like the Espresso Martini brings several benefits:

1. Flavor Complexity: Coffee adds a depth of flavour that is both rich and aromatic. The bitterness of the espresso balances perfectly with the sweetness of the coffee liqueur and sugar, creating a harmonious blend of tastes.

2. Energy Boost: The caffeine in the espresso provides a natural pick-me-up, making the Espresso Martini an ideal choice for those looking to stay alert and energized during social gatherings.

3. Cultural Connection: Coffee has a deep cultural significance in many societies, symbolizing connection and community. By combining coffee with spirits, the Espresso Martini bridges the gap between the conviviality of coffee drinking and the sophistication of cocktail culture.

Crafting the Perfect Espresso Martini

Creating an Espresso Martini is both an art and a science. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:


- 1.5 oz vodka

- 1 oz freshly brewed espresso

- 0.75 oz coffee liqueur (such as Kahlúa)

- 0.25 oz simple syrup (optional, depending on your sweetness preference)

- Ice

- Coffee beans for garnish


1. Brew a fresh shot of espresso and let it cool slightly.

2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup.

3. Shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds to ensure a frothy top.

4. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

5. Garnish with three coffee beans and serve immediately.

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