The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Today is Espresso Martini Day

Research from Spirits New Zealand revealed that the Espresso Martini was the most popular cocktail served in Kiwi bars in 2023 and March 15 is the day to push your offering out to consumers.

We’re sure all bars and bartenders have their own Espresso Martini on their repertoire but the recipe on a most basic level is espresso, coffee liqueur, and vodka.

It’s not a true Martini as it doesn’t contain either gin or vermouth but it’s popularity surged in recent years and has overtaken the classic Martini in many bars and clubs.

Its origin

One of the more common claims is that the Espresso Martini was created by British bartender Dick Bradsell in the early ’80s while working at Fred’s Club in London.

Reportedly an American model asked for something that would “wake me up, and then **** me up”.

Bradsell said in an interview on YouTube: “The coffee machine at the Soho Brasseries was right next to the station where I served drinks.

“It was a nightmare, as there were coffee grounds everywhere, so coffee was very much on my mind. And it was all about vodka back then – it was all people were drinking.”

The basic recipe

60ml premium vodka
15ml coffee liqueur (such as Kahlúa)
30ml espresso, freshly brewed (or cold brew concentrate)
1 tsp sugar syrup (optional for sweetness)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake for 10-20 seconds and strain into your cocktail glass.
Top with three coffee beans as a garnish (optional).

Tips for the perfect pour

The best brew: Always use freshly-brewed espresso for the best flavour (make sure the espresso is cooled to room temperature) or for busy nights, a cold brew concentrate will also work. Always avoid using instant coffee, as it will lack the depth and richness you need.

Quality spirits: Choose premium vodka and coffee liqueur to ensure a smooth and flavourful cocktail. Premium spirits can make a significant difference in the overall taste and experience of the drink.

Chilled glassware: Chill martini glasses in the freezer for at least 10-15 minutes before preparing the cocktail. A chilled glass will help keep the cocktail cold and enhance the drinking experience.

Balance the sweetness: You can achieve the perfect balance of sweetness by adjusting the amount of coffee liqueur.

Shake: Martinis should never be shaken, unless they’re espresso martinis. Shaking the cocktail with plenty of ice for about 10-15 seconds will create the perfect frothy texture on top.

Double strain: Double strain the cocktail through a fine mesh strainer to remove any ice chips or coffee grounds and ensure a smooth, velvety texture.

Make it your own!

Once you’ve mastered the classic espresso martini recipe, try using flavoured vodka, adding a splash of Irish cream liqueur, or incorporating different types of coffee liqueur for unique and innovative flavour profiles!

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