Koktail Kicks : Espresso Martini

Koktail Magazine

25 Nov 2022

Your weekly spill-all on classic cocktails—their origin stories, their ingredients, and why we love them

In the spirit of a foggy and rainy Bangkok week, we could all use a kick to help us raise an eye from the drowsy atmosphere here in the City of Angels and what could be better than a caffeine load with an ample dash of alcohol? There are plenty of cocktails that feature the dark-gold bean but only a few stand out, and none more so than the espresso martini.


Espresso martini is a full flavour drink with a dashing creme top, featuring vodka, a fresh espresso shot, and coffee liqueur served in a stylish martini glass. It is a timeless hit to order wherever you may be in the world, and the story of how it was created is as glamorous as can be.


It allegedly started in the early 1980s in London when a fashionable young lady walked into the Soho Brasserie bar workplace of Dick Bradsell, a celebrated mixologist, and asked him: "can you make me a drink that will wake me up and then f--k me up?". He then whipped up a mixture of vodka, Kahlúa (a coffee liqueur), a shot of espresso and simple syrup served with decorated coffee beans on top. It was first called vodka espresso before later transitioning to espresso martini as the trend of calling anything served in a martini glass demanded. The model in question? Some say Kate Moss and others say Naomi Campbell.


Another interesting facet is that the coffee beans on the foam top always come in threes. Not more, not less. Nobody really knows why, but perhaps the three beans represent three blessings; health, wealth and happiness as the number three is believed to be a symbol of luck by some.


Fast forward to today, it has become one of the most-ordered drinks around the globe. At Koktail, we tend to order it as the final drink of the night before heading home, to pep us up but never anything more..