Introducing: Bea Bradsell, Drinks Distilled Spirits Guide
Introducing the latest addition to our panel of Spirits Guides Bea Bradsell, who has come aboard as our resident Espresso Martini expert and curated a range of Espresso Martini kits in partnership with her favourites – Belvedere Vodka, Mr Black Coffee Liqueur and Illy Coffee.
About Bea and Dick Bradsell
Bea Bradsell is the On-Trade Director of Creative Marketing Agency The Drink Cabinet. Over her 20 years in hospitality, she has worked at some of the world’s top venues including El Camion, Callooh Callay, Swift & The Dead Rabbit. Bea is also the daughter of Dick Bradsell and continues her father’s legacy by educating cocktail lovers on the Espresso Martini in particular.
Dick Bradsell (1959-2016) was known as the godfather of the modern British Cocktail, changing the face of the modern cocktail around the country. Active from the late 70's Dick was known for opening venues such as Dick's Bar at The Atlantic, The Player and Damien Hirst's Pharmacy.He is best remembered for creating some quintessential modern classic cocktails - The Espresso Martini, Bramble, Russian Spring Punch and Treacle, to name just a few.
We caught up with Bea to discover her top tips when it comes to selecting Polish vodka (her dad’s favourite style to use within the Espresso Martini) and coffee liqueur and her favourite home bartending trick!
What are the most common mistakes people make when selecting a Polish Vodka?
I think a lot of people think that vodka has no flavour and this is certainly not true. A good quality vodka should be textured and filled with the flavours of it’s raw ingredients.
What’s your top tip when picking Polish Vodka?
This about the cocktail you’re making when picking your vodka. For a Cosmo you may want something a bit more citric of floral. For a Martini something a tad more savoury. Then for your Espresso Martini you want something robust enough to hold up against the strong coffee flavours.
What are the most common mistakes people make when selecting a coffee liqueur?
I think people often think the coffee doesn’t matter in an espresso martini and that’s totally not true. Coffee is such a personal drinking experience so finding coffee liqueurs that match how you like to drink your coffee is really important.
Also, a little can go a long way. Yes, it’s perfect in a coffee forward cocktail like an Espresso Martini but just 5ml can make a huge difference in say a daiquiri.
What’s your top tip when picking Coffee Liqueur and Coffee?
For me I like to think back to the original coffee used in an Espresso Martini which was dark, rich illy espresso. Those flavour notes shine through the sweeter notes keeping it balanced. Above everything your coffee liqueur should be about the coffee so look if it mentions the bean types or production method on the bottle. Also, it should taste of coffee not just sugar.
What are the most common misconceptions about the Espresso Martini?
I think the Espresso Martini is often thought of as a sickly-sweet cocktail and it’s not meant to be. It should be a fine balance of the ingredients. Also shake it longer and harder. No one ever shakes them enough. You really need to put some effort in - I like to say ‘shake it like you hate it!’
What’s your favourite home bartending trick when it comes to the Espresso Martini?
My trick is to prep your espresso ahead of time if you know you’ll be making them or when you start make up a big batch. No one ever just has one! However only pre-batch within a few hours before hosting so your coffee remains as fresh as possible. Also make sure to seal the container. Oxygen is not coffee’s friend.”
Tell us about your favourite place to enjoy an Espresso Martini - where and why?
El Camion is still my favourite place to get an Espresso Martini. They make it to Dad’s recipe so it’s the closest you can come to still getting one of his drinks.