What we know as the Espresso Martini has been an ever-changing cocktail experience over the decades. But the original, and some say the best, was coined the ‘Vodka Espresso’ in 1983 by Dick Bradsell.

As the tale goes, a pretty blonde lass was sitting by the bar at the Soho Brasserie in London. With her eyes, she coaxed the bartender over and said ‘I need something to wake me up and f**k me up’.

We’re not sure that’s the girl in the above photo, but it’s what we imagine her to look like and it makes the story cooler.

Dick said in an interview with ‘Difford’s Guide’ “The coffee machine at the Soho Brasserie was right next to the station where I served drinks. It was a nightmare, as there were coffee grounds everywhere, so coffee was very much on my mind. And it was all about the vodka back then – it was all people were drinking.”

Vodka was clearly the scene drink of the 80s

Fast forward to a time where the Vodka Espresso AKA the Espresso Martini is one of the world’s most sought after designer cocktails. While we may have left behind the ‘wake me up, f**k me up’ mantra – moving toward a classier disposition – the idea that the Espresso Martini is the go to drink for a luxury taste, peak in alertness and a desire to hit the dance-floor is still well and truly part of the tale.

Crystal clear martinis, fire garnished cocktails and Donnys bar’s infamous Sticky Date Espresso Martini (centre)

The cocktail has even moved into a space where flavour, presentation and the science behind the scenes have come to the forefront. This speaks volumes for dedication to the craft that goes well beyond the quality of mixologists, with espresso martini products now falling into the laps of the distillers & coffee brewers themselves.

We are firing into an era of premium batched cocktails and first class ready to drink alternatives.

In previous times, the thought of a pre-made cocktail would have the aficionados turning up their noses. But now with the increase in demand, and a thirst for high-end quality, these are becoming the norm’ and even the reg’ at some venues.

Onyx Espresso Martinis on tap at Christopher Hanna Hair

While we continue to push the boundaries for what an Espresso Martini is and can be – including lower ABV versions with a focus on retention of flavour and experience – we are excited to continue the evolution of Bradsell’s classic; never forgetting that the recipe in its original form, is still one of, if not the best there is.

Our Ready To Drink version of the Bradsell classic