Skip The Vodka And Try Bourbon In Your Next Espresso Martini

The details of a martini have gotten fuzzy since the dawn of the classic cocktail era, and we are here to support pushing the boundaries even further by using bourbon instead of vodka. Originally a mixture of gin and dry vermouth stirred and served in a cocktail coupe, the 'tini craze of the 1980s and '90s pushed gin out of the stirring pitcher and replaced it with vodka. That more neutral spirit blended better with the long list of fruit flavors being added to the drink, which then needed to be shaken, not stirred. Even James Bond and President Obama messed with the classic gin martini by asking for a shaken version, so you could see these modifications as a slow continuum of change.

We are not, repeat, not advocating for anything wild and crazy like shaving Parmesan into your espresso martini — just a simple swap of the sweet and toasty flavor of bourbon to replace that neutral vodka portion. We already know that whiskey and coffee play well together, making this the most natural next step in the evolution of the espresso martini.

No matter what you call it, this drink's a hit

If you want to try this variation, it's as simple as swapping out the vodka in a classic espresso martini recipe for your favorite bourbon. Your first sip will reveal a new level of soft caramel and vanilla notes from the bourbon. If you have a sweet tooth, consider shaking things up further with salted caramel or cookie dough bourbon. The campfire notes in smoky s'mores flavored whiskey combined with espresso would be another taste bud pleasing combination. You could even stray from bourbon into rye for less sweetness and more spice.

We hear the haters already — there's no gin, no vermouth, and now no vodka. Is this still a martini? After a few sips, we don't think you'll care about the name of the drink. Believe it or not, there's no written origin recipe for a martini, which might be why so many variations and adaptations exist. As Shakespeare might have said, a good cocktail by any other name is still darn tasty!