Emily Says . . . . ‘The Espresso Martini’

Espresso Martini

In her third feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at the ever faithful Espresso Martini;

A cocktail that has never gone out of fashion: the Espresso Martini. A simply timeless concoction of vodka paired with espresso, this number is the go-to at the bar for a little ‘pick me up’. But how did this infamous creation come about in the bartending scene?

Rumour has it that the Espresso Martini was created in the early 1980s by London bartender Dick Bradsel whilst working at the Soho Brasserie. According to Dick himself, the story goes that a famous female model visited the bar and asked him to get her a drink that will ‘pick me up then fuck me up’. Not a request a bartender gets every day, that’s for sure! The Espresso Martini was born after Dick put together some vodka and sugar with a shot of espresso from the bars shiny new espresso machine. Revolutionary.

The growing popularity of the espresso machine in the 1980s spurred along the name of the Espresso Martini. Even to this very day, this timeless little number never fails to make an appearance in the life of a bartender. Whether it is being enjoyed as a post-dinner treat or fuelling a late night, there is always a suitable time for the Espresso Martini.

In my four and a half years of bartending, I’ve come across several different recipes in making the perfect Espresso Martini. Here is the recipe I personally have found to truly shake up something beautiful:

Glassware –

Ingredients –
1 bar spoon of fresh honey
25ml sugar syrup
25ml Café Patron XO
50ml Belvedere Vodka
1 shot of espresso

Method –
Pour all ingredients into a boston glass. Add ice and hard shake to ensure a thick head on the finishing product; the Espresso Martini is all about the foam! Double strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish – three single coffee beans.

The addition of fresh honey truly gives a smoother touch to the Espresso Martini, complimenting beautifully the smooth finish of Belvedere vodka.
Usually, the usage of any coffee liqueur is suitable in the creation of this particular drink. I, however, feel that the use of Patron’s own coffee tequila, Café Patron XO gives an exclusive touch, and certainly brings out the caffeine kick that we coffee lovers are looking for. For those true coffee enthusiasts, however, the replacement of Café Patron XO with a double espresso will work just fine.

A cocktail that one can truly not go wrong with, and a cocktail that will never go out of style: The Espresso Martini, here to pick you up… then fuck you up.

GREY GOOSE® Hosts Trans-Atlantic Celebration to Honour Legendary British Bartender, Dick Bradsell

dick bradsellGrey Goose, the world’s best tasting vodka, will pay tribute to the man who many believe invented the Espresso Martini cocktail at Tales of the Cocktail festival by live-streaming events in New Orleans and London simultaneously

GREY GOOSE, the world’s best tasting vodka, will host a trans-Atlantic celebration of the life of legendary bartender, Dick Bradsell, with Swift bar in Soho, London and specially curated pop-up bar, Le Café de Nuit in New Orleans. Taking place on Thursday 20 July during Tales of the Cocktail, the world’s premier cocktail festival, the celebrations will focus on the Espresso Martini cocktail, a now worldwide classic which Bradsell reportedly invented, when a supermodel asked him to make her a cocktail

Dick Bradsell, the man who was nicknamed ‘The King of Cocktails’, sadly passed away last year. To celebrate his legacy, GREY GOOSE is inviting cocktail enthusiasts from both sides of the pond to raise an Espresso Martini cocktail to the man and join in the parties which will be live-streamed between the bars at 1pm-3pm in New Orleans and 7pm-9pm in London.

At Swift, the statement cocktail bar from the team behind award-winning Nightjar and Oriole, Bradsell’s daughter, Bea, will host the evening with all funds from the sales of the Espresso Martini cocktail going to The Benevolent, the drinks industry charity.

Joe McCanta, GREY GOOSE Global Brand Ambassador, said: “Dick Bradsell was an industry icon, who changed and revived the London cocktail scene; setting a new standard which all ambitious bartenders strive for. This celebration is simply a way for GREY GOOSE to remember the man behind the Espresso Martini cocktail, which has become one of the most iconic cocktails to date.”

A Whisky And Cocktail Lover’s Oasis

A couple of events for you all to get involved here at The Grove Balham, 39 Oldridge Road, Balham –


Wednesday 13th November at 7.30pm

Be the master of your own blend as Chivas invite you to discover the art of blending. Guests are invited to blend their own deluxe whisky using the 5 main single malts that go into the Chivas Regal blend. Gain an insight into the work of Chivas Regal master blenders, who work with over 30 mature, meticulously selected whiskies to create the consistently excellent Chivas Regal 12. Phil Huckle, UK Chivas Regal brand Ambassador, will host the evening and judge the blends and award a prize for the best balanced blend. Take your whisky home at the end of the night to enjoy with family and friends.

Tickets are priced at £30 including all whisky, canapés and whisky brand ambassador training.


Tuesday 26th November at 7.30pm

Who will take the coveted trophy for the best espresso martini in South West London? We’ve challenged 10 of the best cocktail making pubs in Balham, Clapham and Battersea to a mammoth cocktail competition to decipher the best of the best. Starting at 7.30pm each round will see another challenger produce 3 cocktails for our 3 judges in the hope of impressing them over all others and take the coveted crown. Cash prize, respect and bragging rights for the winning bartender. Email grovebalham@youngs.co.uk for more information on entry requirements.

Want to take your seat on the judging panel? Enter our social media competition and send us your name, email address and telephone number via facebook or tweet us. Not on social media? Feel free to email us at grovebalham@youngs.co.uk.


Kahlúa Coffee House Tasting


Kahlúa have taken over Manchester. Well, more Market Restaurant on High Street in the Northern Quarter but taken over non the less. Transformed into the Kahlúa colours of red, yellow and black, with bottles lining shelves and menus covering everything from Mexican char grilled chicken to Espresso Martini’s and White Russians, Kahlúa has taken the ever intrigued Manchester scene and created something just that little bit different.


Take for example their free master classes. Ran upstairs in their Salon de Kahlúa, collaborative partners The Liquorists and Coffee Circle explore the heritage of Kahlúa, whilst enjoying a cocktail or two. But to really stand out, you spend some of the session blind-folded. Fantastic idea! After an introductory  drink of replacing rum with Kahlúa in a coffee based Mojito, your host, in our case Jamie Jones, asks you to become departed from your senses and spend the next few minutes in darkness, hands on the table. In the middle is placed a dish containing 4 spoons, one with a rum based sugar cane cube, one with vanilla, one with a jelly coffee cube and the last with vanilla coffee cream. Of course, you have to guess what you have just tried, and many expressing how simple the ingredients are to creating the finished product of Kahlúa.

After a history lesson in coffee by Coffee Circle, you are then treated to a shot glass of probably one of the world’s most famous coffee cocktails – The Espresso Martini. A mix of Kahlúa, vodka and espresso, shaken to create a creamy layer on top and decorated with a couple of coffee beans. Simple, perfect.

The last treat of the evening though highlighted the Salon de Kahlúa cocktail menu created by The Liquorists – an Americano. Not your usual coffee drink, but more a combination of Kahlúa and vermouth spritzed with a coffee infused Pernod absinthe spray. Served in a cup complete with saucer of course. This gave an insight into the drinks list as there are 8 drinks to choose from, ranging from The Flat White (Kahlúa, Chivas Regal and Pedro Ximenez Sherry), The Mocha (Kahlúa, Olmeca Altos Reposado, Cherry Cola and Chocolate Ice Cream) and The Affogato (Absolut Vanilla, Kahlúa and Espresso) which is a de-constructed White Russian that you drink with a spoon.

The session lasts for 45 minutes and as it’s free, spaces are snapped up quickly, especially with what is on offer for you. Masterclasses are held at 6:30pm on Thursdays, and at 6:30pm and 8:30pm every Friday and Saturday. Book yourself on, grab a bite to eat, watch a film in the speakeasy and enjoy many a Kahlúa beverage because April 27th – IT’S GONE.

Check out the rest of the photos via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Kahlúa Tasting Notes


Coffee liqueurs seem to be a mainstay for any bar or indeed your own drinks cabinet. Easy enough to digest after a hearty meal, or just to have when the mood captures you, coffee liqueurs can do no wrong. Even when sided with cocktails such as the White Russian (or black if you prefer) or Espresso Martini, the versatility of this liqueur really showcases its qualities. Although I bet if you ever thought of a coffee liqueur, you would more than likely name Tia Maria. Nothing wrong with this, but if you ever scan a bar or restaurant, another brand may keep popping up and going by the name of Kahlúa.

The vibrant state of Veracruz, Mexico is home to Kahlúa, the region that is known for its rich culture and traditions, and the premium 100% Arabica coffee and sugarcane – two ingredients that blend very well when Kahlúa is brought into the coffee liqueur category. But it actually takes seven years to create Kahlúa with the process of growing, harvesting, drying and aging, distilling and finally roasting and blending.

Here’s a step-by-step guide so to speak of how Kahlúa comes about, taken directly from the Kahlúa website –

Growing – Kahlúa is crafted from the finest ingredients that grow side by side in rural Veracruz, Mexico—shade grown, hand-selected 100% Arabica coffee beans and sugarcane.

Harvesting – High in the mountains of Veracruz, the coffee is handpicked during the October to March harvest season. The red coffee cherries are then pulped and processed to extract what we know as the coffee bean.

Drying and Aging – Beans are air-dried and the papery external layer called the husk is removed. The dried coffee is aged for at least six months in 50-kilogram burlap bags to develop the ideal taste profile. The beans are now ready for roasting.

Distilling – Stalks are crushed, juice is collected and boiled into a molasses, then yeast and water are mixed and left to ferment. Once sugar is converted into alcohol, the spirit undergoes a distillation process until it reaches proof, then stored in barrels.

Roasting and Blending – After seven years the coffee and sugarcane meet again in our Kahlúa distillery. The coffee is roasted in micro-lots, ground to extract the perfect flavor. The extract is combined with our fine sugarcane spirit, vanilla and caramel, then rested for eight weeks before being filtered and bottled.

Seven years is a long time, so lets see how it fares . Below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Kahlúa – 20%

Strong coffee aroma on the nose, rather sweet with a freshness dominating. Thick texture on the palate, with a slight sweetness and a lingering coffee flavour to begin with, but becomes more dominant as it follows on the long finish.

As mentioned,  Kahlúa also goes well with a variety of cocktails –

Kahlua - Espresso Martini
Espresso Martini

Glass – 


Ingredients –

30 ml Kahlúa
25 ml Absolut vodka
25 ml fresh brewed espresso

Method – 

Fill a shaker with ice, add Kahlúa, Absolut and a fresh brewed espresso. Shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled martini glass.


Black Russian

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

25 ml Kahlúa
25 ml Absolut vodka

Method – 

Fill a rocks glass with ice, add Kahlúa and Absolut and stir.

Simple, easy, enjoyable. Create at home or ask your bartender and savour two cocktails that are seen in most bars, especially after dinner. Kahlúa gives a different take on the coffee liqueur category, and its versatility in cocktails, mixers or just over ice means that although it’s not got the marketing power of Tia Maria, it’s a bartenders best friend.

You can purchase a bottle here and look out for future flavours including French Vanilla, Mocha and Midnight – a blend of rum and Kahlúa.

Check out the rest of the photos via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.