Coffee and spirits are a match made in heaven. It’s no wonder so many incredible cocktails combine the two. Drinking coffee cocktails makes the party last longer, but they also open up a whole new world of flavors. Whether you’re a bartender, cocktail connoisseur, or humble weekend warrior, having these awesome drinks in your back pocket is certain to make you the star of the evening.
While not a martini in the traditional sense, this tasty coffee cocktail has exploded in popularity in recent years. Like most beverages, its exact origins are disputed. However, the most common narrative asserts that the drink was born at a bar called Fred’s Club in London. Sometime during the 1980s, world-renowned bartender extraordinaire Richard Bradsell is believed to have prepared the drink for a patron who wanted to be both caffeinated, and intoxicated. While the patron’s exact choice of words was far more colorful, vodka was all the rage in London and Bradsell’s drink station was near a coffee machine. Bradsell decided to make use of what was available, and the Espresso Martini was born.
The Absolut espresso martini is known for being smooth, balanced, and dessert-like. This beverage starts off with a standard pour of vodka, followed by equal parts hot espresso and coffee liqueur. These ingredients are then combined with ice, shaken, and double strained into a chilled martini glass. Those with a flair for presentation might garnish the top with an espresso bean or two!
Among the oldest of its kind, this cocktail is might be the quintessential combination of coffee and booze. Early incarnations of Irish Coffee can be traced to Austria, Denmark, or Germany around the 19th century. These initial cocktails all featured the classic combination of hot coffee, whipped cream, and sugar, but typically featured spirits local to the region. The classic Irish Coffee is thought to have emerged in Limerick sometime between the 1940s and 1950s. It is believed that the combination of Irish Whiskey and coffee was popular among passengers making their way through Limerick’s airfields. As such, chefs, bartenders, and restauranteurs in the area capitalized on the trend and began adding it to their menus. While its origins are debated, historians agree that travel writer Stan Delaplane introduced Irish Coffee to the United States in 1952. Interestingly enough, he claims to have first had the drink in a Limerick airport before bringing it to the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco. The beverage has been a classic ever since.
Much like the Espresso Martini, the beauty of Irish Coffee is in its simplicity. The recipe calls for 2 parts of Irish whisky and a dash of brown sugar, to be poured over 4 parts of hot coffee. A thick layer of whipped cream is then poured against the bak of a spoon and floated over the top. It’s a lovely way to wind down on a cold evening.
The White Russian owes much of its popularity to the 1998 film The Big Lebowski. Still, the cocktail has roots dating back to the late 1940s. While it is unclear which drink appeared first, the White Russian adds cream where the Black Russian leaves off. The first recorded mention of the White Russian was in an Oakland newspaper around 1965. This particular article happened to be a recipe on how to prepare the drink.
The White Russian is sweet and simple. It consists of 5 parts vodka, 3 parts coffee liqueur, and 2 parts fresh cream floated on top. The ingredients are then carefully stirred with a bar spoon and served in an old-fashioned glass over ice.