Espresso Martini


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When it comes to coffee cocktails, the Espresso Martini is an easy, warming, and a sweet cocktail that’ll keep you awake and light on the calories. Like the Martini cocktail itself, the Espresso Martini can be very versatile, though the reason why it was made couldn’t be more simple. This vodka-based classic is preferred in the wintertime, but we’ve got a reason to celebrate. It’s National Martini Day today and lucky for you, the ingredients needed are not hard to find!


The Espresso Martini can be as versatile as the original Martini cocktail itself, there are many variations and it does leave room for creation.

As with any vodka martini, the quality of the vodka used will affect your drink, but there’s no need to splurge, just make sure it tastes good and not like Everclear. If you wanted to add a hint of flavor go for espresso, chocolate, or vanilla flavored vodka but beware of your ratios or it’ll end up too sweet.

We used Kahlua for a coffee liqueur because Bailey’s gets Irish Coffees. Just kidding, it’s because we think it blends better with vodka. Plus, it is what was used in the first one ever made.

One thing we do ask you splurge on, the espresso, use a quality brand. If you’re lucky enough to have an espresso machine available great- go on pull the shots but put it in the freezer for a quick minute to chill it. You gotta make sure it’s cold when adding it to the shaker, hot espresso will cause your ice to chill and ruin the whole thing. If you don’t have an espresso machine we recommend some killer cold brew from your local cafe or grocery shop.

The garnish is your chance to get creative, the recipe calls for espresso beans, the quantity is up to you. We have seen/tasted some Espresso ‘tennis with a mint leaf and it does add a certain magic to it.

Like with any coffee cocktail, the Espresso Martini ain’t exactly light on the ABV. It does resemble most Martinis with its potency landing around 23 percent ABV (46 proof). As for the glass, we hope you’d honor tradition, but we have seen it in coupe glasses.

If you don’t feel like making it, or perhaps you’d like your first one to be magical, go ahead and ask for it at the bar, it is one of the more common Martinis out there and it beats asking for a vodka red bull any day.


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The Espresso Martini wasn’t born with that name, back in 1983 it was called a Vodka Espresso.

It was created by Richard Arthurt ‘Dick’ Bradsell, a very influential bartender who on that fateful day was working at the Soho Brasserie in London. Legend has it the customer was a model who wanted something that would, wake her up and fuck her up all together.

Dick looked around and saw nothing but the coffee/espresso machine that had been given him a headache from cleaning it, and the mess of coffee beans surrounding it.

So, boom, part one done- now what base? Well, Vodka was the “it” spirit back then, so he went for it. He used both Khalua and Tia Maria, and added some sugar syrup, and that’s all.

He tweaked it in 1988 because martinis were the drink of that decade, so Espresso Martini it was. Ten years later, Dick was managing the newly open Pharmacy in Notting Hill offered it on the rocks under the name the Pharmaceutical Stimulant.

Coffee cocktails in the U.S. are usually preferable in the wintertime, but with the long nights during the summer, they’re technically the best way to keep the party going. In Europe, they’re a lot more common due to espresso machines being in just about every business establishment/home. Plus, in general, coffee culture is just a bigger deal out there.


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Random Fact

Using three espresso beans as a garnish has a deeper meaning in Italy- health, wealth, and happiness.

This came from the tradition of serving Sambuca in Italy as a shot with three coffee beans, more commonly known as “con la mosca” of "with the fly."


There are so many Martinis out there (and we can’t wait to show you more), but the Espresso Martini has stood the test of time. It’s also nice to know there’s another way to feel awake with vodka that doesn’t involve RedBull. If you try our recipe let us know how it turns out, what you used, or what you changed!

We hope you’ve enjoyed National Martini Day, either at home or out and about, thanks for reading and as always…

Cheers from,

Happy Hour City