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The Perfect Espresso Martini

A delicious, if dangerous cocktail.
espresso martini being poured into martini glass

Ina Garten has engagement Chicken. I’ve got The Perfect Espresso Martini. A Perfect Espresso Martini so untouchable I’m capitalizing the P in perfect.

Why am I qualified to make such claims? Well, legend has it that the Espresso Martini was born when a young Kate Moss asked bartender Dick Bradsell for something to, “Wake me up and then f*&% me up.” I took Kate’s sentiment and ran with it: falling for my now-husband (aka then-boyfriend’s best friend) and blowing up my 21-year old life over those frothy confections.

And you thought you were just getting a drink recipe!

I suppose you could make the argument that it’s not the icy, silky-smooth cocktails so much as the type of establishment where Espresso Martini’s are served that can be a catalyst for forbidden romance. This place had serious bartenders (mixologists, maybe!). Delicate stemware. Garlic aioli. It was a far cry from the $5 pitchers and Sysco wings we were used to, and our first taste of what would become the foundation of our relationship: talking while eating and drinking at places we couldn’t really afford, and enjoying the hell out of it.

14 years later, I’m happy to report the escapist Espresso Martini Dream is alive and well. Last summer I found myself at the scene-iest waterfront restaurant on Nantucket, with a group of women sipping Espresso Martinis. I stared at the cocktail list and there she was, tucked between an Aperol Spritz and some Smoky Mezcal number. I thought, “Didn’t we leave these back in the early 2000s with the Chocolate Lava Cakes and Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese?” But hey, bootcut jeans and sitcoms are back, so why not! An Espresso Martini never really goes out of style.

There is a reason this beverage hasn’t gone the way of the Cosmo, or Long Island Iced Tea. Drinking one is an event. Whether you’re getting the party started or looking to multi-task with a post-dinner coffee/dessert/nightcap. It is strong, and sugary, and icy, and just bitter enough to make you stand up a little straighter and take notice of your surroundings. Maybe even what you’d like to change about them.

Thankfully, you don’t need to visit Nantucket, or even the swankiest bistro in a sleepy college town to experience the foamy thrill yourself. Here’s my recipe for the Perfect Espresso Martini:

1. Fill a shaker with plenty of ice and drizzle in a ½ ounce of Not Just Caramel

2. Add 1/2 ounce Kahlua or another coffee liquor, and 2 ounces of vodka.

3. Add 1 ounce of chilled cold brew, espresso, or just some good strong coffee you stuck in the fridge after breakfast.

4. Shake it like you deserve a proper cocktail, and happiness.

5. Dust off a martini glass — two if you’ve invited someone you might be secretly in love with — and see where that sweet first sip takes you

SIZE

Serves: 1

PREPARATION

5 min

DIFFICULTY

Ingredients

1ounce
Chilled espresso or strong brewed coffee
1/2 Ounce
Kahlua or other coffee flavored liquer
2 ounces
vodka

Process

1

Fill a shaker with ice and add, caramel, espresso, kahlua, and vodka

2

Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass.

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