The Cocktail Comebacks These 6 Experts Think Will Follow The Espresso Martini - Exclusive

Filler photo of espresso martini
Filler photo of espresso martini - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

A few years ago, when the espresso martini renaissance was just kicking off, it felt like a true surprise. The cocktail had been invented in the 1980s before coming to prominence in the late '90s. The mix of vodka, espresso, and Kahlua quickly faded from memory in the 2000s, and was remembered with the likes of the Appletini as a quintessential trend that would be left in the past forever. Yet nothing is stronger than nostalgia it seems, and starting in the late 2010s the espresso martini came back, becoming a full-on phenomenon in the past few years. It's enough to make you wonder what other cocktails could be making their own surprise comebacks, and that's just what Tasting Table asked six different experts at the Nassau Paradise Island Wine and Food Fest.

We caught up with celebrity chefs and mixologists alike, and the answers ranged from some old classics to bygone trends from decades before the '90s. First up was chef, restaurateur, and host of "Bizarre Foods," Andrew Zimmern. He expressed some bafflement at the popularity of the espresso martini itself, asking "Why do people want that? I guess it's the whole keeps you up and puts you down." This led him to predict that "all those horrible drinks like lemon drops" from college and the '80s-era Midori Sour are going to make a comeback. "They will come back. They will have another moment," he said.

Read more: 23 Cocktails To Try If You Like Drinking Gin

Chef Michael White And Distiller Dan McKee See A Return To Classics On The Horizon

Cuba libre
Cuba libre - Goskova Tatiana/Shutterstock

Taking a slightly more optimistic view of the next great cocktail trend was Michael White. A Michelin-star winning chef from multiple restaurants including Alto and Convivio, he won a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant for Manhattan's Marea. White laid responsibility for the espresso martini revival at the feet of Starbucks and the younger generations' love of everything coffee. He also noted that so many old drinks are available at cocktail bars, saying, "We're so fortunate now to have all these different flavors." As for what he thinks deserves a little more attention, White named two Caribbean favorites: Cuba Libres, which are the original rum and Cokes, and simple, refreshing, minty mojitos.

Tasting Table also spoke with Dan McKee, a distiller who worked for Jim Beam and Booker Noe before becoming the Master Distiller at Mitcher's. McKee said, "I know the classics are still strong," and that from his perspective on the production side "at our Fort Nelson distillery, the first page of the menu, are those classics — still making those high-quality old fashioneds, Manhattans." While McKee concedes that "some of the espresso ones are coming and going," he believes that as long as interesting, high-quality spirits are being produced, the classic cocktails that highlight their flavors will always be in demand.

Robert Irvine And Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim Have Their Eyes On More Vodka Drinks

porn star martini
porn star martini - Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock

Tony Abou-Ganim, a pioneering mixologist and author of "The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails," threw out a name that would be a true comeback: the Pornstar Martini. The drink was invented by bartender Douglas Ankrah at London's Townhouse in 2003. It's a martini in form, but not style, as it leans very sweet and fruity with passion fruit, vanilla vodka, and Prosecco. Abou-Ganim told us, "That's getting a lot of play" and "it had its moment and it disappeared. It's having its second moment."

Then we spoke with celebrity chef and Food Network star Robert Irvine, who had the most interesting suggestion of the bunch. His guess wasn't a cocktail per se, but a mix of vodka and tequila, with no mixers, over ice. He could tell this sounded a little bit strange, but assured us: "I'm going to tell you, you will laugh when I tell you there is a market. It's coming soon."

One person who had a unique answer to our question was James Beard-winning chef and TV host JJ Johnson, who thinks the espresso martini is far from over, saying "I don't think it's a trend. I think it's not a fad. I think it's around and we all love it. It's like one of those things when you want a pick-me-up, you're like, ooh, I'm going to drink that espresso martini." For Johnson, it seems, we don't need another cocktail comeback.

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