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Espresso Martini


Espresso Martini

The Espresso Martini is now ubiquitous across the world. Combining coffee liqueur, vodka and espresso with a touch of sugar, It has deep, unctuous coffee flavour and the undoubted reputation of being one of the best pick me up cocktails. You’ll see this, or variations of it on most cocktail menus. It’s the best known and most loved of a bunch of contemporary classics to come from the 1990’s. This is a great crowd pleaser to include on your bar hire menu, and has the added bonus of keeping everyone focused and alert!

Vodka, Coffee Liqueur, Espresso, Sugar Syrup.

*premium glassware pictured, event glassware may differ.

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The Espresso Martini is a crowd pleasing cocktail and perfect for those planning a vodka based menu for their mobile bar hire. This classic 90’s cocktail has stayed a popular choice among drinkers since its creation over 20 years ago.

The rich flavours of coffee are a great inclusion for a warming winter menu but the crisp cold refreshing nature of this cocktail make it just as good a choice during the summer months. Whilst this cocktail is generally pretty well received, not everyone is a fan of coffee and you may want to include some lighter more citrusy drinks on your menu. For another vodka based classic with a similarly elegant serve, the Cosmopolitan makes a great choice to go alongside the Espresso Martini.

Espresso Martinis aren’t just limited to vodka either, the luxurious flavours of fresh espresso and coffee liqueur pair brilliantly with a range of spirits, rum, brandy, whiskey or even tequila all work just as well in this classic drink and can give it a new and interesting flavour profile. If you want to serve a variation on the Espresso Martini don’t hesitate to ask your event organiser about what spirits might work well.

If you’re planning an evening event or want to avoid having your guests too pepped up on caffeine there is no reason we couldn’t use decaf coffee in your Espresso Martinis, again, just let us know and we’ll be happy to accommodate.

If you want to feature an Espresso Martini on your cocktail menu and are keen to find out more about what drinks to serve with it be sure to speak to your event organiser about your options, or check out some other vodka-based, wintry and modern-classic cocktails from our list.


The birth of the Espresso Martini is linked to bartender Dick Bradsell.

In the early 1980’s Bradsell was working at the Soho Brasserie when a customer asked him to make her a drink that would ‘wake her up and f**k her up’. It’s said that Dick used vodka simply because that was the spirit of choice at the time.

Myths & Legends

The drink was originally called a Vodka Espresso but this then morphed into the Espresso Martini as during the 80’s.

Any drink made with vodka, served up in a v shaped, stemmed glass is generally deemed a martini. Later on when Bradsell worked at Damien Hurst’s restaurant in Notting Hill the Espresso Martini was served on ice and called the Pharmaceutical Stimulant.

References give us some more information on Dick Bradsell and his creation.

“The story goes that Bradsell created the drink—originally called The Vodka Espresso then the Pharmaceutical Stimulant—at Fred’s Club in the late 1980s, when a young model, who Bradsell claims is now world famous, sidled up to the bar and asked for something to “wake me up and f**k me up”. His solution was a combination of vodka, fresh espresso, coffee liqueur and sugar, shaken into a frothy mix of bittersweet addiction.”

Ingredients & Equipment

There is a now a bunch of producers making really decent coffee liqueurs so we’d recommend having a try of a few until you find the one you like. Mr Black’s cold pressed coffee liqueur is a stand out and one we love to use but of course Kahlua is the original and the most well known. It’s also a great idea to have a shop around for various different vodkas. For instance, Black Cow vodka is made from whey, so has a great creamy, soft mouthfeel that goes well in the Espresso Martini.


  • 40ml Vodka
  • 25ml Kahlua
  • 40ml Espresso
  • 10ml Sugar Syrup
  • Coffee Beans to Garnish


  • Shaker
  • Jigger/Measure
  • Hawthorne Strainer
  • Fine Strainer
  • Martini Glass or Coupette
  • Cubed Ice
  • Chill your glass in the freezer or fill it with ice
  • Take your Boston glass or small tin
  • Using your jigger to measure, add the vodka, Kahlua, coffee and sugar syrup
  • Fill your shaker with cubed ice and seal using your Boston tin or lid
  • Shake VERY hard for 15-20 seconds
  • Remove your glass from the freezer or empty of ice if necessary
  • Using your Hawthorne strainer and your fine strainer, double strain the cocktail into your chilled Martini glass or coupette
  • Garnish with 3 coffee beans arranged in a triangle at the edge of the glass
  • Serve and enjoy!

For larger groups of six or more students, we offer the option to take things private. Our classes are fully portable, and we are able to set ourselves up efficiently and professionally in a wide variety of locations and settings across the capital, the UK, and beyond. You name the location, and we’ll endeavour to make it happen.

Give one of our dedicated event organisers a call on 020 8003 7982. They’ll happily talk you through your options, and answer any questions you may have about both our mobile and in-house cocktail making classes.