XXI Martinis Espresso, $37.99
The back story
If you’ve been to a bar recently, you’ve probably seen someone ordering an espresso martini. Heck, you may have ordered one yourself. The drink, which is believed to have originated in the ‘80s, is making a big comeback. One recent bar-industry report said the cocktail is now among the 10 most popular in the U.S.
Little wonder that there’s now an Espresso Martini Day on the calendar — and it’s coming up on March 15. Naturally, there’s now a bottled version of the cocktail on store shelves, courtesy an upstart brand called XXI Martinis.
The company is the brainchild of Shannon Keeran, who’s worked in the energy business and property development — admittedly, not the resume of someone ready to shake things up, so to speak, in the cocktail world. But on a trip to Las Vegas some years ago, Keeran asked the bartender, Angelo Bottley, to make him a drink that would serve as a pick-me-up. Bottley offered his take on the espresso martini and Keeran liked it so much that he and Bottley went into business together and founded XXI Martinis.
The venture has been no small challenge — or financial burden: Keeran said just over $3 million has been invested in the brand to date, which launched last year and is now available in a handful of states with more scheduled to come on board soon. Keeran swears by his espresso martini recipe, which he says is fairly classic — a blend of vodka, espresso and cream liqueur.
Although the espresso martini is perhaps the flavor that’s getting the most attention, Keeran conceived of XXI Martinis as, well, a bottled martini brand. There’s also a chocolate flavor available and peach and raspberry are in the works. During the holidays, the brand rolled out a chocolate peppermint one as well.
What we think about it
This is a straightforward take on an espresso martini that does what it’s supposed to — give you that rich coffee flavor in a sweet, boozy form. If you’re a martini purist, it won’t be your thing, but the espresso martini was never about appealing to that crowd. Could you make your own espresso martini at home? Sure, but this definitely saves some fuss. An added bonus: The bottle is shelf stable for a few months, according to Keeran.
How to enjoy it
Obviously, there’s no mixing involved with a bottled cocktail. But Keeran does suggest preparing the martini by shaking it in a cocktail shaker with some ice. And you can always add a garnish of a few espresso beans for a classy touch.
This article was originally published by Marketwatch.com. Read the original article here.