Food & Beverage

XXI Martinis Is Solving the Espresso Martini Problem

Bar patrons love it. Bartenders hate it. The Espresso Martini may not be new, but this caffeinated-comeback-kid is the “it” drink of the season.

After its inception in London in 1983, this sweet and delicious drink hit its peak in the late 1990s. Now the Espresso Martini is back, alongside other 90s trends we thought were gone, like mom jeans and chunky platform shoes.

Google searches for “espresso martini recipe” spiked last December and are on an upward trajectory again leading into the holiday season. Bar patrons are clamoring for this sweet treat. Yet bartenders far and wide are bemoaning the return of this delicious cocktail to the mainstream.

What’s the problem? And more importantly, what’s the solution?

The Problem with the Espresso Martini

The recipe sounds simple enough: add espresso, vodka, coffee liqueur, and sweetener (often simple syrup) to a cocktail strainer with ice. Some recipes also include crème de cacao or Irish cream. Shake, pour into a martini glass, top with three espresso beans.

What’s the problem?

The espresso.

Bartenders are prized for two things — speed of service and quality of their cocktails. In the time it takes to pull a quality shot of espresso, a bartender could have served another whole party. The Espresso Martini is slow. And when a bar is packed three deep on a Saturday night, every second of delay feels like an eternity.

Plus, an espresso machine is not an inexpensive piece of equipment to invest in.

Some bars try to get around the difficulty by either pre-batching espresso or substituting espresso with either pre-made black coffee, cold brew, or — most horrifyingly — instant espresso. The results are lackluster at best, watery and bitter at worst, and devoid of the rich flavor and lovely froth fresh espresso creates.

The difficulties don’t stop there. Bartenders have to shake the heck out of the shaker to get that nice foamy froth on top. And the heat from the espresso can prevent the shaker top from sealing properly, leading to leaks and sticky messes all over the bartender and the bartop.

This is just for a SINGLE Espresso Martini. Once a customer sees one being made, suddenly everyone wants one. It could be all the bar staff makes for the rest of the night, getting more behind and more frustrated all the while.

It’s enough to make bartenders nostalgic for the Aperol Spritz craze. At least those were easy.

Because of the service slowdown caused by the espresso and the lack of equipment required to make it, some bars choose not to offer the drink at all. But this choice comes at a cost; in markets like Las Vegas where the Espresso Martini can go for $20 each, bars are missing out on huge revenue from this trending drink.

XXI Martinis Shake Up a Solution

Bid Beverage has come up with a sleek, delicious solution: a “ready-to-shake” pre-made Espresso Martini that takes the frustration out of the drink. The XXI Martinis line currently comes in espresso, chocolate, and chocolate peppermint, with more flavors in development for the coming year.

With a pre-batched cocktail, bartenders can serve a consistent, premium Espresso Martini in just a few seconds. Faster service means more customers served, bringing in greater revenue to both the bar and the bartender. And the bar doesn’t have to invest in expensive equipment to make it happen.

Plus, XXI Martinis are incredibly versatile. It can be served straight up, like the classic Espresso Martini. Pour it on the rocks or toss it in a blender with ice for a boozy, Frappuccino-style drink. Pour it over ice cream for an after-dinner affogato. Or make it unique by adding liqueurs or garnishes. How about a shaving of fresh nutmeg or a sprinkling of rose petals? Since they save so much time making the drink, bartenders can really make the presentation pop.

Who is XXI Martinis?

XXI Martinis is an emerging ready-to-shake cocktail line from Bid Beverage that’s changing the way we drink.

It all started (as so many good things do) at a bar in Las Vegas. Co-Founder Shannon Keeran was out late one night and asked his bartender for something to wake him up. The bartender made him a fantastic Espresso Martini. Shannon told him that together, they were going to bottle that amazing drink one day.

Six years later, Shannon and that same bartender, Co-Founder Angelo Bottley, released XXI Martinis. Crafted under Angelo’s experienced mixologist eye, this is a bartender-approved pre-mixed cocktail.

Bring XXI Martinis to Your Bar, Restaurant, or Liquor Store

Busy bars and restaurants can tap into the Espresso Martini craze without a $1,000+ outlay on an espresso machine and without slowing down their bar operations. And at-home drinkers can enjoy bar-quality espresso cocktails with friends without “playing bartender” all night.

XXI Martinis is planning an initial product release across Ohio, Kentucky, Nevada, and Las Vegas, with more markets to follow. Keep up with the latest on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, or check their website for product releases and distribution information.

The editorial staff had no role in this post's creation.