The classic espresso martini has been fuelling late nights for cocktail and coffee lovers since the 1980s.
"There’s craft coffee stores popping up everywhere. It’s a coffee movement"
Combining those two ingredients, along with coffee liqueur and sugar syrup, the espresso martini is a classic cocktail that even the most loyal tea lovers enjoy drinking.
You could say we've become a nation obsessed with coffee, in all of its wonderful versatile food forms. And if we needed another excuse to obsess over our daily caffeine dose, this week (April 10-16), marks UK Coffee Week 2017.
Where did the espresso martini come from?
"Coffee in the bar industry and coffee, in general, has become really popular," said Robb Collins, who is the group head bartender at The London Cocktail Club with a decade of experience as a mixologist. "There’s craft coffee stores popping up everywhere. It’s a coffee movement. When people go out drinking, they think 'I wanna combine alcohol with coffee', which is how this drink, the espresso martini, started out."
Rumour has it, we have famous cocktail connoisseur and bartender Dick Bradsell to thank for this wonderful creation after a beautiful model came into his bar one night and asked for a drink that would 'wake her up'.
Robb said: "The station he was working at had a coffee machine next to him and he just had coffee on his mind. At the time, in the cocktail industry, vodka was really big. It’s all people drank. He combined the two and some coffee liqueur and some sugar and that’s how this baby was born."
Top tips for making a great espresso martini
According to Robb, it's all about the quality of the vodka, freshly brewed espresso, making sure you have the right 'balance' of ingredients and chilling your glass so it's 'really cold'.
"You don’t want the bitterness of the coffee to overwhelm anything. That’s why you add a bit of sugar so it counteracts that bitterness and makes it smooth. It's all about getting the right balance."
Talking about vodka, Robb said: "Grey Goose works really well because it’s soft and has got a real bit of sweetness to it, and if you use some really nice freshly brewed espresso you wouldn’t even need to add sugar. You could just use some Tia Maria."
Are there any twists you add to your espresso martini?
"Our customers are looking for really well-crafted drinks which aren’t going to be too complex. I’d say our customers have slightly more of a sweet tooth so we add salted caramel vodka to ours.
"You could do a shortbread biscuit on the side and even put an edible flower on top to make it pretty. Or you could add a tiny drop of rose water or vanilla essence to add a different flavour profile.
"Or try melting chocolate and rimming the glass with it."
How to make the perfect espresso martini
- Chill your martini glass in the freezer or by placing ice in it.
- Get a mixing tin and add 25ml of vodka, 25ml of coffee liqueur – either Tia Maria or Kahlúa – then 35ml of freshly brewed coffee and 5ml of sugar syrup.
- Add a cube of ice to the shaker and shake the drink vigorously for about 10 seconds.
- Get your chilled martini glass and strain the contents of your shaker into it.
- Garnish with three coffee beans like Robb is doing below.