Here’s to you, Dick Bradsell

The downsides of having small children and liking cocktails are obvious.

The upside is that not only do I have a heightened sense of excitement every single time I enter a bar, but my adjusted sleep patterns have sparked some creativity.

Like whenever I have to test my party stamina that’s now more familiar with prFrench House, Sohoe-midday than post-midnight frivolity, I will order an Espresso Martini.

It’s not really a martini and should more accurately be ordered as a “Vodka Espresso” but it’s served in a martini glass and let’s not quibble over names.

Instead let’s pay homage to its creator, legendary London bartender Dick Bradsell who died over the weekend after more than 40 years of serving (and creating) cocktails.

I never had a cocktail made by Dick, but by all reports, he was the goods when it came to shaking, stirring and muddling and his legacy is an impressive list of well-known cocktails.

Legend has it that Bradsell invented the Vodka Espresso at Fred’s Club in 1984 when a now world-famous model (rumoured to be Naomi Campbell) requested a drink that would ‘wake me up, and then fuck me up’.

Hey presto, the Vodka Espresso was born.

50ml Vodka83914081657e5de230b96a68b8ff492b

5ml Sugar syrup

10ml Kahlua

10ml Tia Maria

1 short strong Espresso

Pour all ingredients into a shaker, and then add the ice. Shake hard, and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with 3 coffee beans.

It’s often confused with the Black Russian – but Bradsell’s offering is different (and vastly superior in my view). The Black Russian contains vodka and coffee liqueur (like Kahlua or Tia Maria), but no coffee. It was reportedly invented in Brussels in the 1930s.

If you want to read more about Dick, here’s a great piece by Simon Difford from Difford’s Guide. It also includes a list of 30 cocktails Dick is credited with creating.

Cheers Dick Bradsell.






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