There are some cocktails that you order from the bar because you want to be seen drinking them. They look the business. They elevate your soirée from social to special. And they dial up your evening’s potential to ‘who knows where this night will take us’.
The Martini has to be one of them. And for me, the Espresso Martini is the mother of them all.
Glorious to look at and delicious to drink, the Espresso Martini has everything you want from a cocktail. The perfect blend of ice-cold caffeine and alcohol, which for any coffee addict (like me), can only be a wonderful thing.
The Espresso Martini has a legacy too. Rumour has it that in 1983 Dick Bradsell, renowned cocktail innovator and mixology pioneer, was working in London’s Brasserie Soho. He was approached by a beautiful lady who asked for a drink that would, and I quote here, “wake me up and f**k me up”. As Dick was working behind a bar that had a large espresso machine spilling coffee grounds everywhere and vodka was the spirit of the moment he was very much influenced. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Espresso Martini is a drink that I like to start my evening off with before moving on to something else. Yet, with the best of intentions, once I’ve tasted one I find it almost impossible to drink anything else. Other cocktails on the menu, either delicately sweet or brilliantly bitter, simply pale in comparison.
An expert bar tender knows that an Espresso Martini deserves the finest ingredients. A quality espresso made fresh, exceptional vodka, the richest coffee liqueur and lashings of ice. The glass must be freezing. The shaker must be shaken to an inch of its life.
The result is a seductive dark liquid with a velvety frothy top. Begging to be the centre of attention and, ideally, sipped in lavish surroundings with friends you know you can depend on to have a decadent time. But who will also put you safely in a cab at the end of the night.
Pour all the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with coffee beans.