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  • Writer's pictureJosh Pugh

From Caffeine Kick to Cocktail Classic: The Delightful History of the Espresso Martini

If there’s one drink that perfectly encapsulates the marriage of sophistication and caffeinated buzz, it’s the espresso martini. With its velvety texture, rich coffee flavour, and just the right amount of boozy kick, this cocktail has become a staple in bars around the world. But have you ever wondered how this delightful concoction came to be? Well, grab a seat, a cup of joe, and let’s take a journey through the history of the espresso martini!


The Birth of an Iconic Cocktail:

Believe it or not, the espresso martini is a relatively young creation, dating back to the 1980s. Legend has it that it was invented by the legendary cocktail king himself, Dick Bradsell, at the Soho Brasserie in London. As the story goes, a supermodel sauntered into the bar one fateful evening and requested a drink that would "wake me up and then f**k me up." Quite the request, right?


Being the creative genius that he was, Bradsell whipped up a concoction using fresh espresso, vodka, coffee liqueur, and a touch of sugar syrup. And just like that, the espresso martini was born! It was originally named the "Vodka Espresso" but later came to be known as the espresso martini due to its martini glass presentation.


The Rise to Stardom:

After its inception, the espresso martini quickly gained popularity among the chic and trendy crowd of London. Its unique combination of flavours and the potent caffeine boost made it a hit among both cocktail connoisseurs and caffeine aficionados alike.

Word of this delicious elixir spread like wildfire, and soon, bartenders around the globe were shaking up their own versions of the espresso martini. From New York to Sydney, this cocktail became a mainstay on cocktail menus everywhere, cementing its status as a modern classic.


The Perfect Recipe:

While the basic components of the espresso martini remain the same—vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso, and sugar syrup—bartenders have put their own spin on the recipe over the years. Some opt for flavoured vodkas or liqueurs to add an extra layer of complexity, while others play around with different coffee beans to enhance the drink's flavour profile.

But no matter how you mix it, the key to a perfect espresso martini lies in the balance of flavours. The sweetness of the coffee liqueur should complement the bitterness of the espresso, while the vodka provides a smooth and potent base. And of course, a freshly brewed shot of espresso is essential for that unmistakable caffeine kick.


The Legacy Continues:

Today, the espresso martini remains as popular as ever, beloved by cocktail enthusiasts and coffee lovers alike. Whether you're sipping one at a swanky rooftop bar or shaking up a batch at home, there's no denying the allure of this iconic cocktail.


So here's to Dick Bradsell, the supermodel hero, and the countless bartenders who have helped spread the joy of the espresso martini far and wide. Cheers to decadent indulgence and the perfect marriage of caffeine and spirits!

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