Cocktail Club

Get a buzz from this cold brew cocktail recipe

Cocktail Club host Jackson Cannon mixes a "well textured, lightly bittersweet concoction."

Join us Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. for’s Cocktail Club with host Jackson Cannon and BarNoirBoston founder Kyisha Davenport for coffee and rum cocktails. Kike Salazar on Unsplash

If you can look past the painful brand checking in this video of the late great Dick Bradsell, you can learn almost all you need to know about making a great espresso martini. This latter twentieth-century legend of the London bar scene lays out the major components needed for the drink and relates the origin story of what, when he created it, was called the vodka espresso cocktail. In his telling, the scene is the late 80s and that year’s model is sitting at the bar asking Dick if he can mix up a drink that will both “wake her up and f*** her up.” 

This line by now would be falling out of favor, maybe even forgotten but here we have it from the horse’s mouth. The other thing we get from this video shot in 2011 is that Dick is OK with the fact that his drink by then is known the world over as the espresso martini. This is a guy who can move between the ancient ways of the gin martini, into its vodka counterpart and beyond without the hubris or outrage of old timers insisting that all these things we now call martinis are not actual martinis. Get over it friends, Dick was.


His drink that had a run of ultimate chicness in the mid 90s, survived the disdain of the craft cocktail movement and in fact held an underground position as a so-called guilty pleasure for craft bartenders who understood that this mix of coffee, clear spirit, and sugar was often just what the doctor ordered. Maybe there are no guilty pleasures, I know I have always loved this drink, but never as much as when I discovered an updated version that I think Dick would have loved.       

At the Portland Hunt and Alpine Club in Maine, this cocktail has been a steady hit since it appeared on the menu in 2015. Owners Andrew and Briana Volk’s version features Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy as the coffee liqueur, an inventive sweetened cold brew concentrate and light rum in place of vodka. So perfect is this update, I have been copying it ever since. By being true to their approach to sourcing and DIY, they landed on a recipe, faithful to the original but richer and more expressive. In their cookbook/cocktail guide, “Northern Hospitality with the Portland Hunt and Alpine Club,” they shared their recipe and a bunch of other helpful insights for entertaining in the Northeast including instructions for building a fire for outside entertaining.


Just like the master laid it out, the drink has coffee, sugar, coffee liqueur, and spirit. When shaken, they fuse into a well textured, lightly bittersweet concoction guaranteed to be pleasurable for generations to come.

What you’ll need

Cold brew cocktail (aka the world’s greatest espresso martini)


  • 2 oz. sweetened cold brew concentrate (instructions below)
  • 1 oz. Allen’s coffee brandy
  • 1 oz. light rum (you can substitute vodka)


  • Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • No garnish

Sweetened cold brew concentrate 

Make by using your own cold brew recipe from ground coffee, with half the usual amount of water or purchase a cold brew concentrate and mix that with half the called for water.

Then mix 2 parts of concentrated cold brew base with 1 part simple syrup and refrigerate.

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