Photo of a can of Muskoka's Espresso Martini

The latest buzz

Coffee, tea and non-alcoholic drinks with a kick
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You could call the Espresso Martini the sleeper hit (caffeine pun!) of recent bar history. Created by a 1980s London bartender, for a customer who wanted to both perk up and chill out, it has become a modern classic.

Some bartenders have grown to loathe the wildly popular cocktail, because the coveted, crema-like foam requires a labour-intensive shot of fresh espresso (chilled or cold brewed doesn’t create a picture-perfect tawny layer) and a hard shake.

Fortunately, it’s an easy drink to strong-arm at home.

You can swap out the classic vodka base for aged rum, whisky or even tequila. Kahlua is the classic mixer, but award-winning coffee liqueurs come from many Canadian craft distilleries, including Coffee Liqueur from Carroll’s Distillery in New Brunswick, Javalley Coffee Liqueur from Barrelling Tide Distillery in Nova Scotia or Coffee Liqueur from Alberta’s Grit City Distillery.

Even easier, Bartenders Trading and On the Rocks make excellent bottled Espresso Martinis. Lucky Ontarians can also find cans of Aloette Espresso Martini Fizz (also from Instagram  @fizzbyaloette) and fabulously foamy Muskoka Brewery Nitro Espresso Martini (shown above) at the LCBO.

Espresso Martini

1 ½ oz vodka

1 shot fresh, hot espresso

¾ oz coffee liqueur

Coffee beans, for garnish

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker full of ice and shake vigorously for up to 30 seconds, until thoroughly chilled and foamy. Pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a few coffee beans. Makes 1 drink.

Banff-born spirits

If tea is your drink, your caffeination of choice is trending on the cocktail scene! So-called hard iced teas and boozy canned tea and kombucha cocktails are all the rage. Park Distillery in Banff has even created a tea cocktail trail in collaboration with local fave Jolene’s Tea House. A number of bespoke tea cocktails (like a Matcha Colada and a minty After 8) are on the menu at several hot spots, all a few minutes apart in downtown Banff.

Photo of Fungtional Brew's Lion Mane IPA

Restore, recover, repair

Fungtional Brew Company’s craft beers give you a little buzz without any alcohol or caffeine. Fungtn Lion’s Mane IPA gets a kick from the functional ingredient of lion’s mane mushrooms, with the juicy peach and hop notes of any great IPA; Fungtn Reishi Citra beer uses reishi mushrooms to repair and restore the body, kicked up with tropical and citrus hop notes. Find them at

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