The Black Pearl’s Espresso Martini

The Black Pearl | Melbourne, Australia

Originally called The Pharmaceutical Stimulant, the Espresso Martini was created by Dick Bradsell at Fred’s Club in the late 1980s, when a young model, who Bradsell claims is now world famous, sidled up to the bar and asked for something to wake her up—and then fuck her up. The solution was a combination of vodka, fresh espresso, coffee liqueur and sugar, shaken into a frothy glass of bittersweet addiction. (Some speculate the model was Kate Moss, others Naomi Campbell, but Bradsell has never revealed her identity.)

Bartending apocrypha aside, the drinks has legs. The natural oils in the espresso, which give a shot that beautiful crema on top, turn into a thick, stable layer of froth when you shake it. The dark liquid beneath, when the drink’s made right, is a perfect balance of boozy, bitter and sweet. It’s like drinking a Guinness in a cocktail glass.

This version comes courtesy of Melbourne’s The Black Pearl, where the drink outsells all other cocktails at the bar by a ratio of four to one.


Serving: 1

  • 1 3/4 ounces vodka
  • 1 shot fresh espresso
  • 1/3 ounce coffee liqueur
  • 1/3 ounce vanilla syrup

Garnish: three espresso beans

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake.
  2. Fine strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with three espresso beans.