The rise (and rise, and rise) of the espresso martini

Simple to make and the perfect pick-me-up after a long night's revelry, it's no wonder the espresso martini has such a lasting appeal.

So, what is it about this crafty little cocktail that's managed to stand the test of time?

Firstly, it's that magic combination of revitalising ingredients. As Pierre-Marie Busson, GM of London's Milk & Honey puts it, "You wouldn't drink a double espresso past a certain hour, but you'd combine it with sugar and alcohol to wake yourself up during a night out."

It's also incredibly simple to make. With only three, relatively cheap components - all of which are staples of a back bar - it's hardly surprising that most cocktail lists include an espresso martini, whether in a Michelin-starred venue or a local pub.

Switch it up

Adaptability is key to a cocktail's success. With experimentation becoming a trend among UK drinkers, tweaking the classic espresso martini recipe to make something more unique and memorable is a great way to ensure sales.

With that in mind, we've put together some of our favourite serves, covering a range of complexity, effort and ingredients. So, whatever your time constraints, customer expectations and bartending capacity, there'll be a variation for you.

1) Straight Up: Classic Espresso Martini

Simple, straightforward and quick to do - every venue should have at least this classic serve on their list.

40ml Wyborowa vodka 

20ml Kahlua 

25ml espresso

Chill a martini glass and set to one side. Shake all ingredients well with ice. Strain the martini mixture into the chilled glass, and garnish with coffee beans.

2) With a Twist: Gingerbread Espresso Martini

A step up from the classic, with one or two extra ingredients. It may take a little more time, but the flavour payoff will certainly set you apart from the crowd and offer your customers a variation they'll remember.

50ml Absolut vodka 

20ml Kahlua

25ml espresso 

10ml gingerbread syrup

Shake all ingredients well with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass, before sprinkling nutmeg on top. For an extra memorable twist, serve with a small gingerbread man.

3) Showstopper Espresso Martini

Perfect for venues that specialise in cocktails and have more access to a range of ingredients.

50ml Absolut Elyx

15ml Kahlua 

5ml sugar syrup 

30ml espresso

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and serve.


Feeling the cocktail fever?

Check out our range of Christmas twists on old classics here.

Having spent most childhood summers trekking through Italian vineyards, Elisa’s love of wine started at a young age. Now, you’ll find her heading up Bibendum’s social media channels, as well as writing about wine, spirits, and everything in between.

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