We’re calling it: The espresso martini is the perfect party-starter cocktail. Combining a caffeine hit with a smooth finish, the espresso martini will take you from exhausted after a big day at the office to dance floor-ready in just a few sweet sips. So here’s cheers to Melbourne’s finest espresso martinis, just in time to celebrate World Coffee Day.
If grazing on some Japanese fare, zesty cocktails and general good times are high on your agenda, drop into Mr Miyagi. Their Cold Drip Martini has taken a classic and really shaken things up, with shochu and sake taking the place of the traditional Kahlua and vodka double whammy. Coffee is still at the heart of this cocktail, but it is the white chocolate foam that will leave patrons pleasantly surprised.
Fresh and exotic dishes and drinks are what you’ll find in the heart of the Richmond jungle. With a cool fit-out and hot and spicy South East Asian hawker-style food, this is an excellent place to start your weekend right and we have just the drink to match. As part of their Classic Cocktails list, Botherambo combines Wyborowa Vodka, Mr Black cold drip coffee liqueur, palm sugar, and espresso. Perfection.
Arbory Bar & Eatery
This is not a drill, people: The Arbory has installed an espresso martini tap just in time for peak cocktail-slinging season. Made using all of the usual suspects, the cocktail is poured into a keg chilled, and pumped with nitrogen to achieve the foam on top we know and love from the traditional cocktail. Best of all, it takes less than a minute to serve, so you can get back to enjoying the riverside views along the Yarra.
Yes, the Speakeasy Group’s second successful bar venture may lend itself to beers and whisky, but we’ve found that they do anything they set their mind to very well indeed. Their Inherent Vice cocktail produces espresso, chocolate malt and pistachio flavours, with your choice of either vodka, rum or whisky to give it a kick. Sidle up to a Boilermaker booth, share a charcuterie board amongst pals, and while away some glorious hours here.
This Nordic-inspired bar tucked away in the heart of the city is known for its hearty cuisine and imaginative cocktails. As part of their Liquid Deserts menu, try the Rum & Chestnut Espresso post-meal, made with Bacardi 8 Rum, chestnut, cardamom, and coffee. The duNORD cocktail list does change seasonably, so don’t delay in dropping by, but we’ve got a good feeling this one will be around for a little while longer.
Celebrating two of Melbourne’s greatest loves, coffee and cocktails, Lui Bar has taken the espresso martini to the next level. The Vodka Pour Over features Belvedere vodka as it filters through single estate coffee and ice. As well as the coffee hit, you get hints of white and dark chocolate, making this one a smooth experience. Add to that the incredible view of the city from the Rialto, and you’re in for quite an evening.
Polēpolē Bar & Kitchen
While it’s usually all about the beers, ribs and beats at East African-influenced Polēpolē, you can’t go past their Mzungu Martini if you’re looking for a beverage to put a little pep in your step. Green Island spiced rum meets Amarula, crème de mure and, of course, espresso. Polēpolē is the Swahili expression for ‘go slowly’, and we couldn’t encourage you more to take your time with this concoction to make it last as long as possible.
Saké Restaurant & Bar
There’s no denying that the Japanese know how to create a cocktail and Saké delivers in spades, bringing contemporary Japanese cuisine to the banks of the Yarra River. Aptly named Fukkastu (Japanese for ‘resurrection’), this baby will put some spring in your step. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum teams up with Frangelico, Kahlua and Asahi Black, shaken with fresh espresso and vanilla.
For a cosy date place in Melbourne’s north, we recommend LongPlay, as their charming booths and Mediterranean-inspired shared plates encourage a little closeness. Their espresso martini stays largely true to the classic, with Russian Standard Vodka, Kahlua, and espresso, but they’ve added Frangelico in the mix to give it a hazelnut tinge. Listen to records in the front bar, or venture further in to their cinema that seats 30 guests.
We’re not sure why, but every time we wind up at this North Melbourne establishment, a round of these coffee-fuelled cocktails is inevitable and we proceed to take the night by storm. While they stay pretty true to the traditional recipe at Prudence, there is something about the awesome bar staff and vinyl spin that creates optimal espresso martini drinking conditions. In winter, the fire is lit and in summer, their back courtyard beckons, making this venue the perfect spot for downing a beverage or two all year round.
This inner-city basement bar has gone through a name-change or two in its time and has settled on Peruvian cuisine, with a drink list to cater all cocktail enthusiasts, from the classic to the adventurous. The Harley House take on the espresso martini is the Episcotini, made with house-infused coffee Campo de Encanto pisco, sugar, coffee liquor, cold drip coffee. Grab one of these and take in the glorious Vincent Fantauzzo artwork adorning the walls.
Can't find the energy to go out? Why not try our ultimate espresso martini recipe to make your drinks at home.
Image credit: Saké Restaurant & Bar