24 Jun Where to drink the best Espresso Martini in London?
What do you know about the history of the espresso martini? Like what do you really, really know about it? If your answer is “umm not much, and why are you asking me this question in such a serious manner?” then I feel like that is a totally normal and justified answer and I should really question why am I asking you this so seriously. As usual, we have a reason, but first, here are some quick facts you might not know about the espresso martini, to get you up to speed, and us all on the same page:
- It was invented in London, in Soho, in the late 1980s
- It is the only cocktail that can be made with 100% Fairtrade ingredients
- It was originally called the Vodka Espresso (which for those of among us who count themselves as more of a purist mixologist, this makes more sense as a name, because it’s not *strictly* a martini)
- The second iteration of the cocktail was called the Pharmaceutical Stimulant, and was served at Pharmacy in Notting Hill. This site is now a Waitrose.
Why is this last point important? Well, except in the context of this piece, it’s not really (still, the internet allowed me to find this fact out, so someone else must have considered it important too … but I digress). But in the context of what you’re reading, the fact that the site is now a Waitrose is significant because … FAIR Vodka and FAIR Café are now available at Waitrose in the UK! This is pretty exciting and means that you can now purchase everything you need to make an espresso martini at home as part of your weekly shop. Yep, uh huh, that’s right.
Being able to purchase Fairtrade at your local supermarket is really important in the context of being able to integrate Fairtrade products into your daily life. And as any good reader of the FAIR blog knows, Fairtrade is so important for the economic sustainability of the growers, plus the environmental sustainability of … well, of the whole world.
Once you’ve made FAIR part of your weekly shop and are ready to whip up an espresso martini by yourself at home, here is our recipe for the best espresso martini your supermarket money can buy:
- 1.4 ounces/40ml FAIR Vodka
- 1.2 ounces/35ml FAIR Café
- 1 ounce/30ml freshly brewed espresso, chilled
- Optional: ½ an ounce/15ml simple syrup (made from Fairtrade sugar, obvs)
Shake it all in a cocktail shaker (our tip is to shake it vigorously to get the perfect foam. You’re welcome), pour into a coup or martini glass, top with a couple of coffee beans for good looks, and voila, you’re done! The best part about the espresso martini is that you can make it your own: add some sugar syrup if you like it sweeter, or a little more espresso if you need that kick, or a little less vodka if you want to really taste the coffee. Really, the options are endless. Only not really, because this is a simple three to four ingredient cocktail, so the options aren’t actually *endless*, but you get the idea.
If whipping up an espresso martini at home isn’t your idea of fun, or you just really want to put on those new jeans you bought and head out for a drink, don’t worry, we also have you covered. And of course, because we’re us, we’ll recommend places that are also operating as sustainably as possible.
Henrietta Hotel takes their approach to sustainability and equality seriously, understanding that it is up to each person to care more about creating and sustaining a better world. They love the espresso martini for the fact that it is a first introduction to cocktails for many people and has a real London feel about it, given it was created there. Definitely a great place to pop into and try their version of this classic drink.
At Ace London, they put ingenuity, inclusiveness, and diversity at the center of everything they do, which is one of the reasons we love them. The other is that through all of their weekly prep creating syrups, cordials, and sherbets, they try and use all by-products in other drinks and take a seasonal approach to their drinks menu, always asking their suppliers for transparency in how things are grown or made. You know they make a good espresso martini because they also enjoy drinking them themselves, especially on a Sunday in The Lobby Bar after the madness of a brunch shift. As Laura Marwood, Head Bartender on The Rooftop at Ace says, “I love it because it appeals to everyone, whether it’s your down and out favourite or a guilty pleasure”.
If that isn’t reason enough to get to having an espresso martini this weekend, well, I don’t know what is tbh. Enjoy!