When it comes to espresso martinis, Portland doesn’t mess around. The resurgence of the classic cocktail, which dates back to the eighties, began in 2021 and was solidified in 2022 when research firm CGA by Nielsen IQ reported it as one of the 10 most-ordered drinks at U.S. bars. You know what they say, what goes around comes back around.
The versatility of the espresso martini makes it a well liked cocktail across the board. Enjoy it with your preferred liqueurs (e.g., vodka, tequila, Kahlúa, Baileys, etc.) and your preferred texture (creamy/frothy or rich/on the rocks). Start your evening with one for a caffeine boost or indulge in one after dinner for a sweet nightcap. However and whenever you prefer it, Portland’s got you covered:
Made with vanilla vodka, Kahlúa, and chilled espresso, the espresso martini is just one martini of many on the menu at the Bar of Chocolate. Check out the cozy cafe on Wharf St. for all the dessert cocktails you could imagine. Spoiler Alert: They’re all delectable.
Better known as the Loose Cannon at B&B, this espresso tini is made with Cafe Du Monde cold brewed vodka, coconut cream, Phö-tavia Arrack, and espresso. The presentation is just the cherry, or shall I say, the coffee bean on top!
Check out this modern speakeasy in the basement of Roma Cafe for one of the coolest bar atmospheres in Portland. Bramhall’s take on the espresso martini includes vodka, Maine’s finest coffee liqueur, espresso, and aromatic bitters. Presumably, “Maine’s finest coffee liqueur” is Allen’s Coffee Brandy, the #1 selling spirit in the state.
The menu at Cocktail Mary likens their Nitro Espresso Martini to “Guinness for the Girlies,” and that’s something I can get behind. Composed of vodka, French roast, mocha, hazelnut, and Allen’s Coffee Brandy, this one’s for the real coffee lovers. And the Guinness loving girlies!
The Grill Room’s espresso martini comprises of Stoli Vanil, Kahlúa, Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur), Baileys, and espresso. Topped with three beans, this is the perfect espresso martini for those who prefer it on the creamier side.
Gross Confection Bar serves a top tier espresso martini featuring local Coffee by Design espresso, rum, and zucca rabarbaro. Dark on the bottom with a frothy layer on top, this tini is the best of both worlds! And if you’re thinking about a second round, I highly recommend the chocolate martini (pictured on the left).
Don’t let Lenora’s identity as a taco bar deter you from giving this espresso martini a shot. They serve up a mean one made with reposado tequila, cold brew, mole bitters, and demerara sugar. Pairs well with tacos/nachos no matter the time of day.
The Café Colada is Papi’s take on an espresso martini: served in a milkshake glass and disguised as dessert. Composed of vanilla vodka, rum, Allen’s Coffee Brandy, coconut ice cream, pineapple, and fresh espresso, your sweet tooth won’t want to miss this one. (Mine certainly didn’t).
Sip on the Knight Train at Rigby Yard, which is nestled in an old train depot, for a delightful twist on the classic cocktail. This concoction blends Cynar, Cointreau, Ezra Brooks Bourbon Cream, and Time & Tide Nitro Coffee, topped off with a zip of nutmeg.
One thing that doesn’t need room for improvement at Room for Improvement is the espresso martini. Made with rum, Allen’s Coffee Brandy, cold brew, banana, and salty coconut foam, this rendition strays from the typical flavors of an espresso martini in the best way.
While Sagamore Hill makes a great espresso martini, I’d personally recommend ordering the Midterm Elections. Still in the greater espresso martini family, this cocktail is composed of vodka, Kahlúa, gingerbread simple, espresso, and topped off with hand whipped cream. You can thank me later.
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