Bloody Marys and Espresso Martinis

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As usual, before we get into this, let’s go and make sure our ice trays are full.

We’re going to discuss two of my least favourite cocktails today; the Bloody Mary and the Espresso Martini. 

I find these super difficult, not because they’re necessarily _bad_ drinks, but because, along with the mojito, they’re the cocktails people order if they don’t really like cocktails. And it’s fine to not like cocktails! But so often the drink you’ll end up with when ordering these won’t be the cocktail they are capable of being. So let’s use this time we’re stuck at home to really get them right, and hopefully when we’re unleashed back on the world we can improve these one bar at a time, too.

Firstly, if you’ve not had a chance to do it yet, you can pop over to the IGTV channel and learn how to make your own coffee liqueur

Next, some essentials to make sure you’re fully ready to make these drinks this weekend.

  • Vodka. You don’t need to spend lots on vodka, but don’t cheap out. Absolut or Stoli Red are my recommendations and will do a great job for both these drinks. If you don’t fancy it, rum or tequila both work great in Espresso Martinis, and Tequila is great in a Bloody Mary.
  • Coffee! If you don’t have access to a means of making fresh coffee, instant is absolutely fine for both making coffee liqueur and espresso martinis. If you can stretch to it, get that fancy barista branded lad in the metal tin.
  • Coffee liqueur. See above for making your own, or pick some up. Kahlua is the classic for espresso martinis, but Tia Maria will do in a pinch. Feeling fancy? Grab a bottle of the Algebra Drinks Coffee Liqueur or Mr Black.
  • Tomato Juice. If you can grab the V8 one with extra veg juices I’m a big fan, and the small cans are also great if you want to avoid waste. I’m not a fan of using passata, though some big name bad people might recommend it or use it in their, uh, untitled or nameless bars 👀.
  • Citrus. Lemon is best for making Bloody Marys (BM).
  • Sherry is absolutely under-rated as a BM ingredient.
  • BM fixings (in order of importance)…worcestershire/soy sauce, horseradish/wasabi, tabasco (or a better hot sauce), celery salt, celery stalks, ground pepper, MSG powder, liquid smoke, pickled guindilla chillies

Espresso Martini

A long time ago I had the honour of interviewing Dick Bradsell, the inventor of the drink, for the much-missed Gin and It magazine. We chatted about that cocktail mostly, but after a couple of shots he asked me what my least favourite cocktail to make was and I told him it was the Espresso Martini. The bar I worked in at the time would pull the espresso shots at 5pm when we opened, so when it came to the 11pm Espresso Martini rush, they’d be sad and bitter and lacking good head (much like most of you, right?!). So he trotted round his bar and fixed me one with freshly poured espresso and it was a revelation. Just the right level of bitter, a great mouth feel and absolutely the drink that would “wake you up and fuck you up”.

If you’ve got fresh coffee, you should use that. You probably don’t have an espresso machine, though, so if you’re using a french press or aeropress, brew it twice as strong as you usually would. If you’ve got an espresso machine, la di da, you need a shot of espresso per drink.

  • 50ml Vodka
  • 20ml Espresso/Strong coffee
  • 15ml Coffee liqueur

No fresh coffee? No problem, this absolutely works with instant, just substitute the 20ml coffee for 2tsp instant coffee and 20ml boiling water (mix these before adding to the drink).

Give it a good hard shake and strain into a martini glass. If you’ve got them, it’s traditional to garnish with 3 espresso beans. Congratulations, you’re now woke and fucked (if only, eh).

Bloody Mary

This is…not a favourite drink of mine. Not only is it really tricky to balance, everyone has their preferences for it and it’s a nightmare to tweak. So what to do? Make up some ‘bloody mary mix’; not only is it way less faff to get the drink made, but you can just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ when someone asks for a tweak. Perfect. Get out your blender if you have it, or just mix in a jug (scale this up or down as needed)

  • 100ml Dry Sherry
  • 50ml Worcestershire/Soy sauce
  • 5tsp Horseradish / 3tsp Wasabi paste
  • 25ml Tabasco
  • 1tsp celery salt

(optional: 1tsp MSG powder, 2tsp liquid smoke, 25ml pickled chilli liquid)

These are the correct proportions and please do not @ me about your special palate.

Mix all that up and keep it in the fridge. To make the Mary itself:

  • 50ml Vodka
  • 150ml Tomato Juice
  • 10ml Lemon juice
  • 10-20ml Bloody Mary Mix 

Give it a good stir, garnish with some ground pepper and celery salt and a celery stalk (and a guindilla if you got some). Good times.

That’s it for today, please do share, subscribe, like and, above all, have a great weekend.


Post Credits scene
Not a fan of vodka? You can use the mix above with some tomato juice and beer to make a cracking Michelada. Get a pint glass full of ice, add 20ml lime juice, 20ml Bloody Mary Mix and top up with a 330ml bottle of lager. Give it a stir and discover the drink that will vanquish any hangover.