Toronto’s Top Espresso Martinis

But First, Coffee… Cocktails: Here’s Where to Sip the Best in the City


The espresso martini is officially back in style, and for good reason. The trending coffee cocktail is the perfect pick-me-up ahead of a night out and an equally delicious pairing for your post-dinner sweet treat. But how did this martini originally come to be? Allow us to give you a brief history on the famed cocktail and everyone’s favourite frothy fix.

Created by a fabled bartender and much-loved character of the British beverage industry, Dick Bradsell, the inception of his most famous libation was the result of his days spent bartending in the late ’80s. Working as bar manager and owner at many successful establishments, including Fred’s Bar in Soho — a staple of the London cocktail scene — Bradsell whipped up the concoction at the request of a famous model.

While there are many rumours about her identity, it remains a mystery to this day. The story goes that one late night in London, she asked Bradsell for “something to wake me up, then mess me up” (…that’s the clean version, anyway). Quickly, he whipped up the boozy brew on the spot using old coffee grounds, and the heart-stopping blend of caffeine, alcohol and sugar was born. Taking on several monikers over the years including Vodka Espresso and Pharmaceutical Stimulant, it remains both energizing and aesthetic to this day.

Looking to satisfy your coffee cocktail craving? We’ve rounded up O&B restaurants across Toronto where you can enjoy a handcrafted espresso martini and other coffee-based concoctions that are dangerously delicious. Bottoms up!