Here’s another very important date for that drinking diary of yours. (I’m not the only one with a separate calendar for drinking events, am I?) March 15 is Espresso Martini Day, and what better way to celebrate such a momentous occasion than an espresso martini trail? Seven of London’s best restaurants have joined together to mix up some unique espresso martinis for you to try out and celebrate the momentous occasion!
On the agenda menu for the day are riffs on the espresso martini that range from a smoky take on the classic, at In Horto, to an Indian spiced version at Kahani. There’s even a tropical jungle riff on the drink to savour along the way. And don’t worry if you can’t make it on the day, as the restaurants will be running the special drinks for a full month from March 15 onwards.
And remember, since these are restaurants, you can always match at least one of the espresso martinis along the way with a delicious meal. At the very least, you’re going to want to snack at some of the venues on the trail.
The Espresso Martini trail
So you’ve gathered up your friends, you’re all ready and raring to go – let’s get into the nitty gritty details. Where to go, and what to drink. We’ll leave the order that you hit the venues up to you. You can decide whether you start in the east, west, north or -gasp- south, but we’ll at least tell you where to go. For ease of tracking, here’s a hand-dandy map too:
Como Garden, Kensington
The absolute can’t miss stop on the tour is Como Garden. There, trail trekkers will simply have to try out the Classic Espresso Martini in its purest form as they take a step into Italy without leaving Kensington High Street. Fancy some food while you’re there? Check out the Italian tapas to fuel up!
📍 37-45 Kensington High Street, W8 5ED. Nearest station is High Street Kensington.
The nearby Zuaya offers up a jungle-themed take on the cocktail with their Jungle Espresso Martini. Their concoction mixes up Puerto Rican bananas, Peruvian chocolate, Columbian coffee, and premium vodka for a drink that may have you wondering if you should just spend the rest of the day there. But forge on, there are espresso martinis to drink…
📍 35B Kensington High Street, W8 5EB. Nearest station is High Street Kensington.
Sam’s Riverside, Hammersmith
Despite their reputation for quintessentially British fare, Sam’s Riverside is offering up a decidedly untraditional cocktail at their stop on the espresso martini trail. Their Amaro Espresso Martini mixes bitter-sweet Amaro Montenegro and Sepia Amer, as well as Aztec chocolate bitters, into the typical drink specs. One for fans of a negroni!
📍 1 Crisp Road, W6 9DN. Nearest station is Hammersmith.
In Horto, Southwark
In Horto‘s Smoky Espresso Martini swaps out the vodka for smoky whiskey, and adds smoke and oak bitters into the mix. But with a double shot of espresso in there for good measure, it’ll perk you right up to carry on along the trail! If you’re starting to get peckish, their sharing platters are perfect for small groups.
📍 53b Southwark Street, SE1 1RU. Nearest station is Borough.
Perhaps the most adventurous of the drinks, Kahani‘s Indian spiced take on the cocktail, the Bonbon Espresso Cup, speaks to the restaurant’s fusion of Indian flavours and the best British ingredients. It makes use of butterscotch infused vodka, Caffé Amaro, and Cherry Brandy, and comes with a Tandoor-cooked masala marshmallow.
📍 1 Wilbraham Place, SW1X 9AE. Nearest station is Sloane Square.
El Norte, Mayfair
Luxury and decadence combine at El Norte with their Toffee Espresso Martini. Toffee-infused gin, Kahlua, and Ethiopian espresso beans contribute to the drink’s opulence – oh, and it’s topped off with a toasted marshmallow. Of course!
📍 19-20 Dover Street, W1S 4LU. Nearest station is Green Park.
JIJI Restaurant, Islington
At JIJI, the melding of Japanese and Middle Eastern flavours and ingredients has resulted in the Espressi Mochitini. A fairly normal looking list of ingredients – vodka, coffee liqueur, and espresso – is augmented by the addition of a chocolate mochi.
📍 6g Esther Anne Place, N1 1WL. Nearest station is Essex Road.
So, there you have it, the London espresso martini trail. Who will you be inviting with you? And will you make it all the way to the end? Only time will tell! We do, however, highly suggest eating somewhere along the way. Why waste the chance when you’re stopping off at so many great restaurants?