The History of an Espresso Martini!

The espresso martini is an iconic drink that has risen in popularity among lovers of coffee, cocktails, and everything in between. Supposedly invented in 1983 by a bartender at the Soho Brasserie in London, the espresso martini saw a huge surge in popularity through the 1990s in the UK and beyond. While it later faded somewhat, almost three decades later, it is now experiencing something of a resurgence.

What Is an Espresso Martini?

The espresso martini is a shaken cold coffee cocktail, made with espresso, vodka, sugar, and coffee liqueur.

Why And When Was It Created?

The espresso martini can be traced back to 1983, where it was first created by a British bartender called Dick Bradsell in London’s Soho Brasserie. Initially, he called it the “vodka espresso”, but into the 1990s, it was renamed to the espresso martini.

The use of V-shaped glasses (those used for a traditional vodka martini) was highly popular among cocktail bars at the time. As the espresso martini became more popular, however, Bradsell changed the presentation to use a martini glass through the 1990s, while keeping its recipe the same.

Although Bradsell passed away in 2016, he is today considered to be one of the most influential bartenders of the past few decades – given that the beverage was arguably his most significant creation, this perception is testament to just how popular it has become.

Preparing Your Espresso Martini


50ml Smilov Spirits Vodka

30ml coffee liqueur

10ml sugar syrup

1 single espresso shot, brewed with a dark or intense coffee


Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake well with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass without any garnish. Add some coffee beans on top to decorate.

Invented in the 1980s, popularised in the 1990s, and revived in the 21st century, the espresso martini is arguably one of the most iconic coffee cocktails in the world right now.

Its ease of preparation, balance of flavours, and moreish taste make it a staple for cocktail bars, hotels, and nightclubs alike all around the world, and if you haven’t tried one with Smilov Spirits Vodka yet, then you are certainly missing out. Grab your bottle below and use the recipe above to create your new favourite cocktail at home.

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