Evolution of the Globally Popular Espresso Martini

Posted October 9, 2023 by in Lifestyle

Cocktails are special concoctions that could turn common bartenders into truly creative mixologists. One of the most popular cocktails is the martini, which was invented during the late 1800s and has endured ever since.

Today, there are more than 50 recipes for the martini, and the Absolut espresso martini is among the most popular. It offers two distinct differences from the original martini, which is vodka instead of gin with the addition of espresso for a smooth and very flavorful cocktail.

Martini Cocktail Origins

The original martini likely has its origins in the Martinez cocktail, which is said to be a twist on the Manhattan cocktail. The Martinez uses gin, vermouth, and bitters with a twisted peel for a lemon or an orange to add a little bit of natural citrus flavoring. The highly influential bartender Harry Johnson included martini recipes in Johnson’s official bartender’s manual that he published in the late 19th century.

A Bradford a la Martini recipe published in 1900 requires three-fourths of a glass of finely shaved ice, several dashes of orange bitters, and a lemon peel. Those ingredients go into a mixing glass along with half a wine glass of gin and half a wine glass of vermouth. The bartender uses a shaker to mix the cocktail, strains it into a cocktail glass, and adds an olive garnish.

The Emergence of the Espresso Martini

The next step in the evolution of what eventually would become the Absolut espresso martini is the espresso martini, which generally is credited to British bartender Dick Bradsell during the latter 1980s in London. As the story goes, a customer wanted a drink that would wake her up while also having a strong kick of alcohol. Bradsell mixed some vodka, espresso, and coffee liqueur along with sugar.  

The official recipe calls for:

  • 50ml of vodka
  • 25ml of coffee liqueur
  • 25ml of freshly made espresso
  • Sugar syrup
  • Three coffee beans as a garnish

Shaking the cocktail mixture produces a thick mix that proved to be delicious and has become a favorite around the globe. Many bartenders have laid claim to the original recipe, but many reputable sources say Bradsell is the originator of the espresso martini.

Espresso Martini Enjoys Global Popularity

Despite being a relatively young cocktail recipe, the espresso martini has become globally popular. Those who live in locales noted for exceptional coffee were among the first to embrace the espresso martini, which requires quality vodka to help make it truly great. Absolut vodka helps to ensure the quality of the espresso martini, which has spawned the aptly named Absolut espresso martini.

The espresso martini has really come into its own since the COVID-19 pandemic subsided. Previously, it mostly was popular in particular locales, like the UK and Australia. It made its way into the USA in locations like New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles thanks to visits by people from the UK and Australia. As more of them visited, more people in the United States became aware of the deliciously decadent espresso martini cocktail. Now it ranks highly among national favorites in the USA and many other nations. 

Read more: