The original espresso martini was created by Dick Bradsell in the late 1980s while at Freds Club in London for a young lady who asked for something that would, “wake me up, and then fuck me up.” Bradsell has since confirmed this in a widely-circulated video.
Not everybody has the extensive bartending armoury of the legendary Mr Bradsell simply lying around their houses, however, so below is a little recipe for you guys to try out at home using everyday ingredients and equipment that we’ve called the Nespresso Martini.
20ml Coffee liqueur
10ml Sugar Syrup
Coffee Beans to Garnish
Prep: 2 Minutes
Make: 1 Minute
Total: 3 Minutes
40ml Vodka – Any good quality non-flavoured vodka.
20ml Coffee liqueur – We recommend Mr. blacks, Fair cafe or Kahlua.
40ml Espresso – If you’re lucky enough to own an espresso machine then use that or alternatively make a highly concentrated instant coffee ideally from instant espresso granules.
10ml Sugar Syrup – For a simple home method mix equal parts hot water with caster sugar in a mixing jug and stir until fully dissolved. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Coffee Beans to Garnish – See garnishes at the bottom of the methodology
Chill a martini glass/coupette in the freezer or fill it with ice
Take your Boston glass or small tin and, using your jigger to measure, add the vodka, coffee liqueur, coffee and sugar syrup.
Half fill your shaker with cubed ice and seal using your Boston tin or lid, before shaking VERY hard for 15-20 seconds. The key to the Espresso martini (or in this case Nespresso!) is adequate aeration. When shaking a cocktail, usually you’d fill the shaker with ice. In this method we only half fill it allowing more room for the liquid to aerate. So be sure to allow the right amount of ice for the equipment you’re using. Employ a vigorous shake which causes the liquid to repeatedly hit the front and then back ends of the shaker introducing air and diluting the cocktail.
Remove your glass from the freezer or empty of ice if necessary and, 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. Garnishes are there just to enhance the aesthetics on your drink and are optional. If you don’t have any whole coffee beans try grating a little chocolate or cinnamon onto the top of this cocktail.
Serve and enjoy!
Hawthorne Strainer †
Fine Strainer ††
* If you don’t have this glassware try and choose something that will fit the volume of the liquid well, preferably with a stem e.g. a small wine glass. At a push you can use pretty much anything, it’s more about the flavour than the presentation, right?
** If you don’t have a cocktail shaker there are several other items we could employ. A mason jar, a reusable coffee mug or water bottle, or a sturdy Tupperware – ideally not the takeaway food style and be sure it’s clean and free from food particles.
*** If you don’t have a jigger (fancy bar name for a liquid measure) work from the principle that a tablespoon is 15ml.
**** Before embarking on a cocktail making adventure be sure you have sufficient ice. Ice is the second most important ingredient in a cocktail after the alcohol. If you have ice trays at home load them up a few times in preparation and bag the resulting ice up for later use. If you don’t happen to have ice trays you can freeze water in zip lock bags and then break it up.
† The Hawthorne strainer is usually used for a “first strain” which separates the main solids from the liquid cocktail e.g. the ice. Instead of a Hawthorne strainer you can use the lid/cap of your makeshift shaker or any solid item that can sit flat on its top.
†† A fine strainer is like a small sieve on a handle. It serves to take any bits missed by the initial strain and the tiny flecks of ice out of the cocktail for a smooth texture. This is called a fine or double strain and is not strictly necessary but if you want to have a go you can use a regular tea strainer or sieve.
The creation of the Espresso Martini is widely attributed to legenadary bartender Dick Bradsell.
He was working at the Soho Brasserie in the mid 1980s 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 it happened to be the spirit in vogue at the time.
In the early 1980’s Dick 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.