Get To Know The Espresso Martini

By Seamus Harris

Some say the 1980s were the lowbrow nadir of cocktail culture. Not so, says Seamus Harris, who reps one of the decade’s most enduring classics.

We tend to remember the 1980s as about consumption more than creation, and often conspicuous rather than tasteful. But things were stirring in the world of cocktails as a select group of bartenders conjured up influential new drinks. The Espresso Martini has proved one of the most enduring. In fact, we could say it provided just the caffeinated wake-up call to get bartenders taking cocktails seriously after decades of neglect.

Invented by London bartender Dick Bradsell around 1984, the Espresso Martini was one of a slew of Bradsell creations that adroitly applied fresh angles to established formulas. Examples include the Bramble, which enlivened a Gin Sour with berries, and the Treacle, which topped off the Rum Old Fashioned with apple juice. In the case of the Espresso Martini, freshly made espresso takes the Black Russian to a whole new level.