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The Evolution of the Espresso Martini: A Bold Fusion of Coffee Culture and Cocktail Craft

The Evolution of the Espresso Martini: A Bold Fusion of Coffee Culture and Cocktail Craft

4 minute read

Who doesn't love a good origin story?

Once upon a time, the caffeinated sophistication of an Espresso Martini was nothing but a twinkle in its creator's eye. Today, it's an established classic, bridging the best of two worlds – coffee and cocktail. So, what's the tale behind this luxurious libation? Hop on, and let's embark on this buzz-worthy journey through time.

The Espresso Martini, it seems, was a product of the vibrant 80s' London club scene. A charismatic young bartender named Dick Bradsell was running the show at Fred's Club. A legendary figure in mixology circles, Bradsell was renowned for his creativity and flair, a Picasso of the cocktail world if you will.

One fateful evening, a supermodel strutted into Fred's Club, commanding a drink that would 'wake her up, and then f**k her up'. Bradsell, rising to the occasion, found inspiration amidst the espresso machines and the enticing bottles of vodka. Thus, the Espresso Martini was born.

The original version, initially dubbed the Vodka Espresso, was a blend of fresh espresso, coffee liqueur, vodka, and a dash of sugar syrup. The drink's evolution into the modern Espresso Martini involved little more than a name change. It was a smart marketing move, aligning it with the sophisticated martini moniker, though the only similarity to a true Martini is the iconic glass in which it's served.

But we live in the 21st century, a time of instant gratification. Instant coffee, as ubiquitous as it is misunderstood, presents a practical alternative for creating a satisfying Espresso Martini at home. Yes, purists may scoff, but we’re not deterred. Let’s call this little marvel the "Word Instant Coffee Espresso Martini".

To concoct this drink, we're using Word instant coffee, vodka, coffee liqueur, simple syrup, and ice cubes. The art is in the blending of these ingredients. The dance of flavors: the robust coffee, the sweet liqueur, the smooth vodka, and the balancing simple syrup. All shaken together, creating a frothy, icy spectacle, strained into a chilled martini glass, garnished with coffee beans.

Can you hear the ice shattering against the shaker? Can you smell the intoxicating aroma of coffee mingling with the alluring scent of vodka? Good. You're getting it.

So, why has this drink endured? Simply put, the Espresso Martini straddles two of life's greatest pleasures: coffee and alcohol. It serves the function of a pick-me-up, a digestif, a cocktail hour indulgence, and a dinner party showstopper. It is a love letter to the timeless appeal of coffee and the never-ending allure of a well-crafted cocktail.

Yet, the Espresso Martini is more than the sum of its parts. It's a symbol of innovation in the face of necessity, a testament to the creative spirit of mixology. It's a tribute to the enduring love affair we have with coffee, ever since the goats of an Ethiopian shepherd discovered its stimulating effects centuries ago.

In the end, whether you're sipping an Espresso Martini crafted with fresh espresso or its instant sibling, remember to raise your glass to Bradsell, to innovation, and to the fantastic journey that brought this cocktail from the bustling bars of London to your lips.

So, here's to you, the Espresso Martini, and your storied journey through the annals of cocktail history. No matter the recipe, no matter the place, you remain a timeless companion in our spirited adventures.



  1. 2 teaspoons of you Word Instant Coffee
  2. 2 ounces of vodka
  3. 1/2 ounce of coffee liqueur (like Mr. Black)
  4. 1/2 ounce of simple syrup
  5. Ice cubes


  1. Prepare your coffee concentrate: Dissolve the 2 teaspoons of Word Coffee in 1 ounce of warm water. Let it cool down.

  2. Combine the ingredients: In a cocktail shaker, combine the cooled coffee concentrate, vodka, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup. Fill the shaker with ice until it's about two-thirds full.

  3. Shake it up: Shake the mixture vigorously for about 20 seconds, or until the outside of the shaker becomes frosty.

  4. Strain and pour: Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.

  5. Sip and enjoy!

Original Blend

Original Blend


Your constant companion: perfectly-sized to come on trains, planes, or a weekend away (read: anywhere with questionable coffee). Using only premium beans from ecologically sensitive regions of the Western Ghats of India, House of Word coffee is sourced from one… read more

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