The late-’90s-early-’00s are BACK. But if low-rise jeans, bandana tops and skinny scarves send you screaming, relive this era with a drink. Nostalgia brought us the revival of one of the trendiest cocktails, The Espresso Martini. While the espresso martini never truly disappeared, it began trending again in the 2020s. Like a grown-up iced coffee, the perpetually popular cocktail features vodka, coffee, and coffee liquor. Besides a newfound obsession with specialty coffee, people are literally just tired. Really tired. After a year of watching reruns of The Office and solving jigsaw puzzles during the lockdown, they need a pick-me-up to make it to last call at the local watering hole. Lastly, we can’t leave out the role of social media, and the herd mentality it tends to inspire. Espresso martinis tend to photograph well, and cocktail content boomed on TikTok and Instagram throughout the pandemic. Thirsty yet? Don’t worry, we tried all of Frederick's most popular bars to find you the best cocktail in question (a daunting task really).
1. Café NOLA
This place truly has it all. Brunch, a full coffee bar, infused cocktails, live music, local artist pop-ups and a killer downtown location. NOLA (as the locals call it, don’t worry we’ll get you there) is known for its eccentric staff and always rotating locally sourced foods. They include savory dishes for all diets including vegetarian and vegan options. But the best thing on their menu? The espresso martini, of course. Whether you need an afterwork pick-me-up, or a little hair of the dog, Café NOLA has you covered.
2. JoJo’s Taphouse and Restaurant
A classic! Located on E. Patrick St, JoJo’s is a great spot to bring anyone to – especially from out of town. They offer a rotating broad lunch and dinner menu along with local brews and spirits. But we’re here to talk martinis!! This Espresso Martini hit had the whole table melting in satisfaction. Imagine a grown-up version of chocolate milk but served in a fancy pansy glass. It had us all saying, ‘I love being a grown up’.
3. Dutch’s Daughter
Dutch’s Daughter is a staple in Frederick, MD. While Dutch’s offers fine dining and beverages, they also provide a more casual laid back bar atmosphere called The Dungeon. Do we have your attention yet? Good. Our bartender had these espresso martinis on deck because we were drinking them so quickly. Such a smooth rendition of the cocktail, if I didn’t know any better, I would assume there was no alcohol in it at all! But my hangover the next day would prove otherwise…
4. Manalù Italian Restaurant
Located off of Westview Shopping Center, Manalu is one of the best Italian restaurants in Frederick, PERIOD. While their hours are slightly less traditional than most (always confirm with good ole google before you make the trip) some may be surprised at their espresso martini skills. Just ask our Transaction Coordinator, Karey, who passionately insisted Manalu be on the list... like really passionately. And if we know anything, it’s not to mess with Karey.
5. The Tasting Room
Did you think we’d forget the OG, Tasting Room? Never. The Tasting Room holds a special place in my heart being the place I discovered espresso martinis and eventually lead us all to this blog. Labeled as “the Black Martini” on their menu, this drink is sure to make you feel like you have it all together. TR’s menu is one of the best in Downtown Frederick and leans heavily on fresh, quality ingredients. While considered fine dining, TR is the best place to plan a first date, anniversary or just a good ole time with the gals. Either way, you’re sure to be impressed with The Tasting Room.
If you’ve made it this far you’re probably already planning your next happy hour. Bottom line is that like all things, trends come and go. Maybe we’ll see less of the espresso martini once the weather warms up and we’re craving a light fruity substitute? But for now, I’m sticking to the sweet, sweet, delight of espresso martinis. And of course, remember to drink responsibly, my friends. Cheers!