The global novel coronavirus pandemic may have grounded us, but we can still enjoy happy hour. This daily series will provide delicious drink recipes for you to try at home. So call your friends for a virtual sip session and traverse the globe, even if it's only in your mind. 

Today's cocktail hails from London – the Espresso Martini.

What is it?

An Espresso Martini is the tuxedo of the cocktail world. Sophisticated, rich and midnight-dark, this sultry drink blends quality espresso, vodka and Kahlúa in a Martini glass. 


This decadent use of espresso and its chic presentation hint at Italian flair. But the Espresso Martini originates deep in the smolder and sleaze of 1980s London. It was first shaken up in the Soho bar Fred’s after a glamorous patron asked for a drink to wake her up and then knock her out. The lady’s name – and the rather more colorful phrasing of her request – are lost. But the drink endured igniting the taste buds (and energy levels) of cocktail lovers worldwide. 

You'll need (Serves 1)

1 ½ fl oz (40ml) espresso 
1 cup ice cubes, straight from the freezer 
¾ fl oz (25ml) Kahlúa (or other coffee liqueur) 
1 ¼ fl oz (35ml) vodka 
¼ fl oz (5ml) sugar syrup (optional) 
2–3 whole roasted coffee beans 


Step 1: Use a quality espresso machine to brew a strong shot of espresso. 
Step 2: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes before pouring 1 1/2 fl oz of espresso, the Kahlúa, vodka and sugar syrup over it. 
Step 3: Shake heartily for about 20 seconds. 
Step 4: Open the shaker and use a cocktail sieve (or the lid) to strain the liquid into a Martini glass, excluding the ice cubes. 
Step 5: A supple foam should have formed on the drink. Float the coffee beans in the center and serve. 

Tasting notes

A beautifully blended Espresso Martini seduces you first with its scent: a whisper of caramel and chocolate, before the rich odor of coffee barrels into your nostrils. From the first sip, your taste buds should flood with coffee flavors, a dash of sweetness from the Kahlúa balancing any bitter notes. Respect the Espresso Martini like a vengeful coffee god: the collision of caffeine rush and mellowing vodka can wield a wicked power. Scout an espresso machine before you order, to avoid inferior imitations made with the dreaded instant coffee. The best adaptations are found in coffee cultures like Melbourne and NYC. 

Other recipes: 

Mint Julep
Pina Colada 

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