The world’s first Espresso Martini Festival sold out faster than you can say, “shaken, not stirred” – and by Bond, we felt like the luckiest of ducks to attend the event.
Held over three days at Meat Market in North Melbourne, the festival was organised by the masterminds behind Mr Black Cold Press Coffee Liqueur. Mr Black has found fast success as the must-have ingredient for the perfect espresso martini (and can we just say it tastes just as good over ice).
Mr Black Spirits Co came at a time in 2012 when craft beer had taken over and craft gin was taking off. Former designer Tom Baker teamed up with Philip Moore, one of Australia’s most notable distillers, and together they worked on producing a liqueur that would fill a void; bringing Australia’s thriving coffee scene into the evening.
Meat Market was buzzing all weekend, whether from the coffee, alcohol or great vibes it’s really hard to tell, but we loved it nonetheless.
With everyone’s favourite cocktail at the forefront of the event, the festival also showcased all the elements that make a great espresso martini. Coffee roasters Campos and Rushmore were there with fresh grounds, Ketel One showed off their vodka and there were also cold brews from Coast and Beat Coffee.
We also had fun sampling each and every chocolate from the Loving Earth stand, twice. Ok, we went back for thirds, but can you blame us? It’s delish.
The folks at Mr Black Spirits Co are pretty forward thinking, so it was only natural they would use the festival as a platform for other innovative coffee creations coming through the fold.
One of the more interesting concepts came from North Street Coffee Soda, who has brought out the very first carbonated coffee. The jury is still out on this, as it was hard to wrap our heads around that distinct coffee flavour mixed with bubbles – but it’s worth a try for yourself. We hear it’s super tasty in cocktails, so we’re willing to do some further research.
Coffee brewers Campos teamed up with Campari to provide guests with a cocktail made from Cascara, or “coffee cherry.” Containing natural anti-oxidants and carrying tasting notes of dried cranberries and cherries, Cascara is the dried berries of the coffee plant that encase the bean. The team at Campos paired this with the bittersweet liqueur from Campari to make the perfect aperitif cocktail that had us swooning.
On board the creative train was the main bar at the festival, which had eight versions of espresso martinis on offer, including one with spiced rum which was a real winner, although we’re not bias, we love all cocktails equally.
The Mr Black Festival of the Espresso Martini was an absolute treat. We lost track of time in the dark mood lighting at Meat Market; recoiling at the first sign of daylight when leaving like a tanked-up vampire.
Hopefully we see it return next year, along with some more creative coffee ideas – what could be next? Coffee IV drips? Patent pending…
Images supplied courtesy of Mr Black Spirit Co.