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Hutch’s Happy Hour – Espresso Martini Recipe

“I’d like a drink that’s going to wake me up, and f@*k me up”

Yup…you read that right; and no, 8 months of research for Hutchs Happy Hour hasn’t turned this half of AKP into an alcoholic insomniac! This, as the story goes, is the request made to a barman in the Soho Brasserie, London which led to the creation of the cocktail we know today as an Espresso Martini. The barman in question was Dick Bradsell who was working at the Brasserie in 1983 when a model (her identity has been kept a secret to this day) made the somewhat undignified request. As the coffee machine was positioned right next to the station Dick would mix drinks, coffee grounds everywhere, it was forever on his mind; and with vodka being all anyone was drinking back in the 80’s it seemed a no brainer to try and combine the two.


Espresso Martini cocktail in an LSA martini glass. Image by Amanda Karen Photography


Espresso Martini ingredients

  • 50ml Vodka (Hutch’s recommendation – Crystal Head)
  • 60ml Coffee liqueur (Hutch’s recommendation – Tia Maria or Kahlua)
  • 60ml Fresh espresso

How to make an Espresso Martini

  • Put a handful of ice in a cocktail shaker followed by the vodka, liqueur and espresso
  • Shake all ingredients vigorously for around 30 seconds (this is important if you want a nice thick foam on your cocktail)
  • Strain in to a martini glass, sit back and enjoy


Espresso Martini cocktail in an LSA martini glass. Image by Amanda Karen Photography


Coffee lover or not, there don’t seem to be many people who don’t enjoy a good espresso martini, and with it being one of Amanda’s favourite tipples I figured it was about time I figured out how to make one myself.

Whilst the quality of each ingredient is important, I personally feel the coffee itself is the deal breaker. If you’re using the finest vodka and good quality coffee liqueur, a bad “espresso” can really sink this one. On the flip side, having experimented with some more standard vodkas in my research for this post, the bad “espresso” really spoils the drink whilst a good one really elevates the drink.

Now I say “espresso” in this way, and I’m no coffee expert so please don’t troll me if I’m wrong here, as I’ve tried using both filter/French press coffee (technically not an espresso) and my much-loved Nespresso machine. I wasn’t impressed with the results I was getting from the French press, the cocktail feeling rather flat; but with the Nespresso machine it really came together…it was then just the small matter of which pods made for the best Espresso Martini.

It was no surprise as that all the pods I tried made a great tasting cocktail as I like them all as standalone coffees. If I did have to choose, I would say the “Master Origin – Columbia” produced the most balanced cocktail, whilst the “Ciocattino” made for a nice subtle twist with it being a chocolate flavoured coffee.


Espresso Martini cocktail in an LSA martini glass. Image by Amanda Karen Photography


Finally, I have a few useful tips to share that I learned whilst researching the recipes:

  • Not everyone has a Nespresso machine so for the purposes of this, using your favourite coffee perfectly acceptable and much better on the purse strings than purchasing a new kitchen gadget. If using filter or instant coffee (i.e. not an espresso) I would advise making it a little stronger than usual for the cocktail.
  • To achieve a good foam on the cocktail, the espresso used must have a good crema to it (coffee talk for foam). Filter coffee generally doesn’t produce this and so the resulting foam on cocktail will be minimal.
  • Kahlua is a perfectly good substitute for Tia Maria. Kahlua is in fact a little sweeter than Tia Maria so if you find the bitterness of coffee too much then making this substitution may be for you.
  • Sugar syrup can be used as you would use sugar in a regular coffee. If you find the cocktail too bitter, then you can always add sugar syrup to the mix. I would suggest 5ml as a good starting point.




And for those eagle eyed among you, who may have booked your wedding photography with us, you may recognise the cocktail card, beautifully illustrated by De Winton Paper Co.

Previous Hutch’s Happy Hours can be found here: Bakewell Bellini | Caipirinha | Boston Gin | Aztec in New York | Coco Chanel | Dark and Stormy | Old Fashioned