Fatigued to Fired Up – The Espresso Martini

In my early drinking days (as many of us can probably attest to) I loved an espresso martini. It’s a drink that acts as a segway in an evening—sip one as an after-work pick-up as you move into a raucous evening. An espresso martini helps you transition from fatigued to fired-up. It’s the vodka-Red Bull for adults, combining caffeine and alcohol in a way that acts as a quick boost.

(Many will point out it’s not good for your brain or heart, and it’s not. But no one in their right mind would have more than one in any moment.)

As legends go, the cocktail was invented in the 1980s by Dick Bradsell, a trailblazing bartender out of London. (Apparently) a supermodel sidled up to his bar and asked him for a cocktail that would “wake me up, then fuck me up.” He made up the drink on the spot.

She remains unnamed, but her drink of choice has gone down in history: vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup—the perfect potent pick-me-up. Bartenders from around the globe ran with the drink, tweaking the recipe as they see fit. I’ve seen iterations with Amaretto, Fernet, creme de cacao, cold brew, and everything in between. (I lean towards one with a whisky base, preferably, the coffee-inflicted Kavi.)

My favorite iteration of an espresso martini has to be one from New York’s Mace. Needing no introduction, Nico DeSoto combines espresso, cardamom, and vodka fat-washed with pistachio.

The Recipe

The Espresso Martini from Mace Bar NYC
Image from @macebarnyc on Instagram


1. 5-ounce pistachio fat-washed vodka

1.5-ounce espresso

0.5-ounce cardamom syrup

Add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker

Shake and double strain

Garnish with 3 cardamom pods

Vodka: 120g pistachio oil, a bottle of vodka. Combine in a jar, shake every ten minutes for two hours. Add to the freezer for 4-6 hours. Strain, and store for up to one month.

Check out last weeks MartiniThe Katana Kitten Martini.

Will Gray
Founder and Content Warden of Booze World News.

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