I'm not the right person to be writing this because I despise coffee, and therefore hate Espresso Martinis. I’ve spoken to a few close confidants though who love them and they've come up with this list of the best ones in town.
I can’t tell you if they’re right or not, but I suppose that’s what Facebook comments are for.
Albatross & Arnold
A twist on the classic, Albatross & Arnold on Spinningfields offer an Espresso Margarita, which I’m told maintains that stereotypical coffee rocket-up-the-arse that an espresso delivers but manages to be different enough to actually challenge the original martini (and better it). If you’re not a massive fan of tequila don’t worry, they use the very special 1800 Coconut, making the drink resemble the best chocolate bar in the world – the Bounty. Finished with Kahlua and Cazcabel coffee liqueur, it’s also a strong bugger too.
Albatross & Arnold, Leftbank, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3AN
0161 325 4444
Everyone loves a bit of Cottonopolis action. Whether it’s for a big frosty pint of Big Wave, some pork in a Bao or, as this article would suggest – a big lovely Espresso Martini. This is a bit of a stretch though because the cocktail menu at Cottons doesn’t actually include the classic drink – but rather a clever (and apparently delicious) twist. The New Black contains Diplomatico Reserva Rum, Coffee Liqueur, Orange Wine and Orange Liqueur – giving you a drink that transports you to Christmas Day, sat watching The Queens’s Speech with a full Terry’s Chocolate Orange all to yourself.
Cottonopolis, 16 Newton St, Manchester M1 2AE
0161 236 5144
The star of a million Instagram posts, you’re likely to see Espresso Martini’s lining the walls, floors, table tops and the hands of all the people poking the yolks of poached eggs and chomping down on smashed avocado in Federal every weekend. This place is always packed, so once you’ve queued up and got your massive plate of amazing food – you might as well partake in one of their excellent Espresso Martinis which I’ve been told are “as good as the grub”.
Federal Cafe, 9 Nicholas Croft, Manchester M4 1EY
0161 425 0974
Cane & Grain
Surprisingly enough, between banging out the best bloody St Louis Ribs this side of the Atlantic, Cane & Grain also have a great cocktail menu available, and this is before you even start looking at the mental creations upstairs in Science & Industry. Espresso Martini wise, again this is a twist on the classic but my sources tell me it’s such an indulgence – it had to be included. You’ve got Jack Daniels, Kahlua, Milk, Cream, Chocolate Syrup and Popcorn. Okay so it’s nothing like an Espresso Martini but it tastes like coffee and will sort your head out any time of the day.
Cane & Grain, 49 -51 Thomas Street, Manchester M4 1NA
0161 839 7033
Everyone loves a bit of the old Schloss. Not only is there always a party going on in here, with nipple tassels, dancing on tables and pianos getting duelled, but the food is sublime and the drinks considerable. I usually go for a nice big pint of ice-cold wheat beer, but if I was a fan of the Espresso Martini I’ve been told that Albert’s do one of the best in the city. You’ve got the vodka, Kahlua and espresso shot, but they also add a cheeky little surprise in the form of Patron XO Cafe Tequila, a coffee flavoured drink that even I can endure. “Proper fit” was one source’s concise review.
Albert’s Schloss, 27 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR
0161 833 4040
When one of my sources mentioned Jimmy’s on Newton Street for an Espresso Martini I did a double take. I was always under the impression that Jimmy’s was a place where you listened to a long-haired bunch of blokes have sex with guitars while drinking warm bottles of Castlemaine XXXX. How wrong I was. Sure, they have loads of live music on here, and it could be considered ‘grungy’ but they also apparently do a great turn in cocktails – including the Espresso Martini. It’s not uncommon for them to offer variations on the recipe – with a big winner being their White Chocolate Espresso Martini that someone had once.
Jimmy’s, 12 Newton St, Manchester M1 2AN
0161 923 6964
Harvey Nichols Second Floor Bar & Brasserie
A very elegant and classy experience, the Second Floor Bar & Brasserie at Harvey Nichols isn’t somewhere I find myself too often – mostly because I’m too scruffy. I did go there a few weeks ago though and found the experience fantastic – not only was the food sublime but the drinks came thick and fast as I trawled through their extensive cocktail menu. One such cocktail is their Praline Espresso Martini, which although I haven’t tried, I did watch the face of my accomplice as she sipped away at it. Featuring that brilliant Mozart chocolate liqueur and salted caramel, she assured me it was one of the best she’s ever tasted.
Harvey Nichols, 21 New Cathedral Street, Manchester M1 1AD
0161 828 8898
Of course, the Alchemist is in here – as if they wouldn’t be. Not only do they have one of the biggest, and most creative cocktail menus in the city, they also manage to inject so much theatre and sparkles into each drink that just drinking them is an experience in itself. Espresso Martini wise, I’ve been told to recommend their Melbuccino, which contains Vodka, Licor 43 Vanilla, Milk and is topped with an Espresso Coffee Foam. Although not as strong as your usual espresso cocktail, it still packs a punch and the vanilla apparently sets this bad boy apart from the rest.
The Alchemist, 1 New York St, Manchester M1 4HD
0161 228 3856
Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant
Okay, so this recommendation comes from our videographer, Joe who has the tastes and palate of a 7-year-old and struggles to enjoy a drink that doesn’t contain his two favourite ingredients of whiskey and coke. But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt because he seemed to have a little bit of passion for Gino D’Acampo’s Vanilla Espresso Martini. He loved it, and I suppose if anyone is going to do espresso well, it’s going to be the Italians who, I’ve heard, have no qualms with taking a shot of the stuff anytime and anywhere. Mouthwash, in the shower, just before bed – they love it, so they are a very reliable source. Even if Joe isn’t.
Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant, 11, Corn Exchange, Manchester M4 3TR
0161 827 4200