10 Espresso Martinis You Need to Try Now

Local takes on a classic ’90s cocktail

Photo Provided by Hal Smith

Of all the cocktails to make a comeback in the ’90s resurgence, the least likely had to be the espresso martini … yet here we are. Local bartenders are reporting hundreds per week sold to bar guests, most of whom are 20-somethings, the nostalgia not really reaching into the older generations who happily said goodbye to this cocktail-meets-candy-bar at about the same time they stopped ordering Cosmos and Appletinis. Speculation as to why the trend has regrown so fast includes the probably-not-unlikely observation that this demographic grew up on energy drinks, and as taste goes, this cocktail definitely beats Red Bull and vodka. Truthfully, though, the espresso martini is objectively delicious, so here are 10 to try now. 

Boulevard SteakhouseInvented in the 1980s by a Brit, the beverage has been popularized by American steakhouses since the 1990s. Boulevard’s is an homage to the Martini Lounge days, and it’s definitely a riff, using espresso and vodka, but amping things up with Cantero Negro tequila. (505 S. Boulevard, Edmond)

Broadway 10The Automobile Alley chop house serves a very traditional version with Stoli vanilla, Kahlua, a single shot of espresso and simple syrup. If you want to know what the original tasted like, this is pretty close. (1101 N. Broadway Ave., OKC)

Photo Provided by Broadway 10

Frida SouthwestWhile it doesn’t exist on the menu, cocktail wizard Zac Speegle can whip you up his take on the espresso cocktail — by the way, why are we calling this a martini? — which uses Arrosta coffee liqueur from Vapor Distillery, vodka, simple syrup and espresso. (500 Paseo, OKC)

The HamiltonProbably the first bar in town to use Nespresso pods for this purpose; the result is excellent with Kahlua, Bailey’s, cream and vanilla vodka. Non-traditional, but nothing invented in the ’80s is truly traditional yet, except maybe Nintendo gaming systems. (12232 N. May Ave., OKC)

Jimmy B’sThis popular downtown spot uses house-made cold brew with vanilla vodka, creme de cacao, espresso liqueur and brown sugar-cinnamon simple syrup. The cold brew’s intensity compensates for the lack of espresso, and it really works. (1225 N. Broadway Ave., OKC)

MiloWhen it reopens May 2, the restaurant-bar inside The Ellison Hotel will offer a hyper-local version of the cocktail, using Prairie Wolf vodka, Prairie Wolf Dark, house-made coffee and chicory demerara, Sincerely Coffee Roasters espresso and creme de cacao. (6201 N. Western Ave., OKC)

Neighborhood JamBecause you sometimes need a cocktail at breakfast or brunch, all locations serve an interesting riff, using house-infused cinnamon-vanilla vodka, coffee liqueur, a double shot of espresso and vanilla bean simple. (multiple locations)

PatronoWith two different builds — one traditional, one mocha — there is one for fans of coffee and one for fans of coffee drinks. Both use Averna and vodka, but one uses Godiva Dark Liqueur to boost the chocolatey deliciousness. (305 N. Walker Ave., OKC)

PonyboyAs part of its Humane Society series of cocktails, the Uptown 23rd bar offers locally produced Garden Club vodka and Same Old Moses bourbon with espresso, spiced chocolate bitters and orange bitters. (423 NW 23rd St., OKC)

Scratch – NormanOwner Brady Sexton calls his version a FlatLiner, the name of a popular variation popularized in Telluride, Colorado. The build includes muscovado syrup, house-made coffee liqueur, Bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters, vodka and cold brew. It’s more complex than most versions, which is a good thing if you’re serious about your cocktails. (132 W. Main St., Norman)