The history of the Espresso Martini
The Espresso Martini was invented during the cocktail boom of the 1980s by London bartending legend Dick Bradsell, who was dubbed the king of cocktails by British newspaper The Observer.
“Can you make me a drink that will wake me up and then fuck me up?”
Bradsell described the story behind the creation of the Espresso Martini as follows: “One evening, a model – now very famous – came into my bar and asked me: “Can you make me a drink that will wake me up and then fuck me up?” As a result, Dick Bradsell came up with the idea of refining the well-known Black Russian. The result was the birth of the Espresso Martini.
Dick Bradsell, gentleman that he was, never revealed the name of the model. According to rumors, it was none other than supermodel Kate Moss. The time and also the famous sentence could speak at least for the British model.
Bittersweet pick-me-up – The flavor profile of the Espresso Martini
The bitter-tart notes of the espresso used characterize the taste of the Espresso Martini. For this reason, you should always pay attention to fresh coffee of good quality if you want to inspire your guests or yourself with this cocktail. The alcoholic spiciness of the vodka* and the sweetness of the coffee liqueur and sugar syrup give the drink its elegant polish, with which it has always surprised critics time and time again. True coffee fans will be delighted with a good Espresso Martini.
Always just Kahlúa? The right coffee liqueur for your cocktail
Sure, Kahlúa is the most famous and popular ingredient for the espresso martini and is considered a deonym for coffee liqueur.
Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to look beyond the familiar. You’ll come across high-quality variants like the Mr. Black Cold Brew or the Patron XO Tequila* coffee liqueur, which will give your cocktail a completely different, almost sublime look. Just keep in mind that both contain significantly less sugar than the Kahlúa and you may need to add a bit more sugar syrup to your drink.
By the way, both coffee liqueurs are also excellent for preparing another cocktail legend, the White Russian.
Short and sweet: tips for your espresso martini
- Try high-quality coffee liqueurs to give your drink that special something that sets it apart from the ordinary.
- Shake it real good! What the crema is to a perfect espresso, the foam crown is to an espresso martini. This should be stable in the jar, yet fluffy. To achieve this, you’d better shake the drink a little longer and harder.
- Without freshly brewed espresso, this cocktail is a mere shadow of its former self. The aromas in a cup of coffee are fleeting and complex. They do not tolerate long standing times, otherwise they lose flavor due to oxidation. Therefore, always pay attention to freshly ground beans, a good preparation and a fast processing of your espresso.
- Reach for good, but not premium vodka for your cocktail. The taste of the drink is almost exclusively determined by the espresso and the liqueur. Expensive premium vodka only makes the cocktail more expensive, but not better.