Espresso Martini

12 Extraordinary Facts About Espresso Martini

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The espresso martini is a cocktail that has exploded in popularity in recent years. This coffee-infused drink combines vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and sugar for a sweet, energizing cocktail perfect for a pick-me-up at any time of day.

Read on for 12 fascinating facts about the rich history and incredible rise of the espresso martini.

1. The espresso martini was invented in 1983 in London’s Soho neighborhood.

Legend has it that a model walked into a London bar called Fred’s Club and asked the bartender Dick Bradsell to make her a drink that would “wake me up and then fuck me up.” Bradsell experimented with vodka, sugar, espresso, and Kahlua until he crafted the perfect combination that delivered the desired effect.

And thus, the espresso martini was born. Bradsell originally called his creation the “Vodka Espresso.”

2. It didn’t get its now-ubiquitous name until the late 1980s.

The “Vodka Espresso” moniker stuck around for the first few years. It wasn’t until the late 80s when Bradsell began working at a hot new London restaurant called The Pharmacy that his drink started to blow up. The restaurant owner thought “Vodka Espresso” lacked marketing appeal and renamed it the “espresso martini,” a nod to its similarities to a classic dry martini.

3. Coffee was used as an ingredient in cocktails long before the espresso martini came along.

Facts About Espresso Martini

Drinks combining coffee and alcohol have been traced back to the 1600s. In the late 1800s, a cocktail called the Pharisäer became popular in Germany and Switzerland. It mixed hot coffee with rum and sugar.

So while the espresso martini put the coffee cocktail back in the spotlight in modern times, the concept of caffeine meeting cocktails has been around for centuries.

4. An espresso martini contains around 74 mg of caffeine.

That’s about the same amount of caffeine you’d get in a small 8 oz. cup of coffee. The caffeine comes from the freshly brewed espresso that goes into each martini.

So in addition to delivering a delicious cocktail experience, the espresso martini gives you a solid jolt of energy. It’s a drink that can wake you up just as easily as coffee can!

5. The foam is almost as important as the liquid itself.

A proper espresso martini is topped with a frothy cap of foam. This foam is created by the long, vigorous shaking required to mix and chill the drink. The foam contributes rich texture and helps release the coffee aromas that make the cocktail so irresistible.

For best results, shake it hard for at least 30 seconds!

6. It’s often garnished with three coffee beans.

The three coffee beans floating on top of the foam have become a signature espresso martini garnish. Legend has it they represent health, happiness, and prosperity.

So as you sip this delicious drink, make a wish!

7. Espresso martinis are no longer just an after-dinner drink.

They used to be viewed primarily as a post-meal pick-me-up. But these days, espresso martinis are enjoyed at all times of day – and even for weekend brunches!

Their versatility and popularity have exploded. You could now even call it an all-occasion cocktail.

8. Flavored variations are now popular and creative takes on the classic recipe.

With the espresso martini craze in full swing, bartenders have begun putting their unique spins on the classic version. Popular modern twists include:

  • Salted caramel espresso martini
  • Espresso martini with dark chocolate liqueur
  • Vanilla vodka espresso martini
  • Iced espresso martini

The possibilities are endless! The key is to keep the espresso and the shake.

9. Espresso martini recipes vary slightly around the world.

While recipes do differ somewhat globally, the standard roughly calls for:

  • 2 parts vodka
  • 1 part espresso
  • 1 part coffee liqueur
  • 1 part simple syrup

Shake these ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish and enjoy!

10. Espresso martinis are very Instagrammable.

Between the enticing dark color, the frothy foam topping, and the flashy coffee bean garnish, the espresso martini was practically made for Instagram.

No wonder it’s the most photographed cocktail on the ‘gram! When this drink arrives at your table, get ready to grab that phone for the perfect pic.

11. The cocktail experienced a huge pandemic revival.

After years out of the spotlight, the espresso martini made an explosive comeback during COVID-19 lockdowns. Stir-crazy consumers turned to the comforting yet energizing qualities of the cocktail.

It delivered the perfect jolt of escapism and buzz. Bars and restaurants couldn’t keep up with the espresso martini demand!

12. Espresso martinis are now everywhere on cocktail menus.

Thanks to its recent revival, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a restaurant or bar that doesn’t serve espresso martinis these days. It’s become a menu staple across the board.

And bartenders are continuing to experiment with unique variations, so there’s always a new spin to try.


The espresso martini has cemented its status as a classic cocktail for the ages. With its rich history, photogenic aesthetic, smooth yet bitter taste profile, and energizing caffeine kick, it’s a drink that satisfies all the senses.

This extraordinary concoction continues to soar in popularity and will likely remain a menu fixture for years to come. So next time you’re looking to treat yourself to a delicious pick-me-up, reach for this extraordinary cocktail.

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