Ahhh espresso martinis. Where would Friday night be without you? Sure, it may seem like we’ve only been recently going nuts over this coffee/alcohol concoction, but it’s actually been gracing cocktail menus since the 80s.
Created for a woman who demanded the bartender make her a drink that would, quite simply, “wake her up and f**k her up”, this cocktail proves you don’t need to be a coffee connoisseur to reap the benefits.
With bars in Sydney putting their spin on the original, we can say thanks to the 80s and be grateful the espresso martini was born. To save you from less-than-amazing espresso martinis, we’ve put together our pick of Sydney’s best bars serving the perfect coffee cocktail.
Resembling that of a hotel lobby out of an old Hollywood film, Della Hyde is the perfect place to pull up a pew and make your way through their extensive cocktail list (which is updated every fortnight). Luckily for us though, a main-stayer is their famous salted caramel espresso martini made with vodka, espresso, salted caramel, espresso liqueur and honeycomb. Like we needed any more excuse to fall in love with the drink all over again.
Primus Hotel’s Lobby Bar
For a vanilla infused, cold drip experience, Primus Hotel’s Lobby Bar should be on your list. With a menu dedicated to martinis, it’d be rude not to try their version of the cocktail, served in a chilled glass (using liquid nitrogen). Cold mist cascades as you sip, adding a very Instagram-friendly element to an already awesome drink. Want to know how to make it at home? Check out their recipe below.
Lot. 1 Sydney
Lot. 1 brings a bit of Italian culture to Sydney’s CBD. This restaurant and bar offer a delicious aperitivo hour complete with traditional Italian snacks to team with your post-work espresso martini (which they have claimed could just be the best).
Firefly's self-proclaimed ‘show stopping’ espresso martini is certainly one to remember. The combination of espresso, vodka, vanilla cream liqueur and cookies and cream shavings provide the perfect amount of sweetness.
Deus Bar & Kitchen
Camperdown’s industrial style bar (located next to Deus Ex Machina’s Sydney Flagship) uses inspiration from the machines found at the store next door to create their cocktails. This caffeine-fuelled cocktail is made with vodka, fresh espresso, crème de café and finished with honeycomb for a twist on the classic espresso martini.
As the name suggests, this bar may be small, but their cocktails are by no means inferior. Pocket Bar’s take on the classic espresso martini is sure to pack a punch. Combining the strong flavours of whisky and a dash of vermouth, sweetened with honey and shaken with coffee, if you didn’t love them before, the espresso martini will become your new (and rightly so) drink of choice.
Eau De Vie
For the sweet tooth, Eau De Vie give a whole new meaning to the term ‘dessert cocktail’. They’ve teamed vodka, coffee and maple syrup to create their famous espresso martini and and topped it off with vanilla mousse. Now, if that hasn’t got you salivating…
Bella Vista Hotel
With fancy AF pub food and a killer cocktail menu, it's hardly a surprise that this Hills spot made the cut. We suggest you assemble the crew, book a table for dinner and drink an espresso martini between each course, because why not?
Bondi Hardware hasn’t strayed too far from the original recipe, but they sure know how to please a crowd with their vanilla espresso martini that is simply spot on. With one part vanilla-infused Absolut vodka, one part Kahlua and a dash of vanilla bean syrup shaken with espresso, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were the inventors of the drink.
If you love coffee, but vodka isn’t your thing, Barrio Cellar has put a Mexican twist on their version of the espresso martini, by swapping vodka for tequila and adding rum, agave and crème de cacao.
Because one espresso martini is never really enough, The Butler gives you three glorious choices. Using Will & Co.’s espresso, you can either have yours with vodka and coconut, rum and maple or cognac and cinnamon. Let’s just say, once you start at one, you’ll need to resist the temptation to try them all!
The team at Barangaroo House don’t stray far from tradition with their espresso martini. They’re not promising anything ridiculously fancy—just a darn good drink with the perfect espresso scented foam on top, every single time.
The Grounds Of The City
This coffee institution isn’t messing around with their cocktail list, bringing along the espresso they are so well known for and rolling it into everyone’s favourite cocktail. Order an espresso martini and get the perf combination of vodka, coffee liqueur, and a shot of The Grounds' own signature espresso blend all finished with a whiskey mist. Yes, a whiskey mist.
This one is the perfect espresso martini for all of you sweet tooths out there. Made with marshmallow vodka (!!), Kahlua, fresh espresso and marshmallow syrup, grab one after dinner or why the hell not, just skip dinner altogether and drink a couple of these instead (with some delish bar snacks on the side). Either way, you know we’ll be there.
Order yourself this vanilla and espresso martini while grazing on a charcuterie board while relaxing in the luxe northern suburbs of Sydney. Absolut vodka is the star of this one and you guessed it, Kahlua is also in the mix.
If you want to go the traditional route here, then ‘The Traditional’ (see what they did there?), served on tap at Tuxedo will be your best friend. Now if you’re feeling adventurous, check out ‘The Candy Man’. This one’s complete with amaretto, vodka, Kahlua and espresso served in a glass pimped with 100s and 1000s and c’mon, just think of the Instas!
Still want more booze? Here are Sydney's best gin bars.
Image credit: Primus Hotel