Espresso Martini : John Toubia Grasshopper

If you live in Sydney, you’ve probably been to the laneway bar Grasshopper. It was one of the first. (And is featured in my previous piece: Sydney’s (not so) secret laneway revolution)

When I caught up recently with John Toubia from Sydney’s iconic laneway bar Grasshopper he gave me the low down. The signature glass jars came about with his first pop-up. Pour the mix into the jar. Pop the lid on. Shake. Serve. That’s how it goes. And the jars stuck.

As we chatted at the downstairs bar, I told him that I’m honestly not all that fussed on Espresso Martinis. (That was until I tried his.) The Espresso Martini is a signature of his. Toubia is even the mixologist behind the Espresso Martini Appreciation Society. As I watched him mix my cocktail, I asked him if he’d share his secrets. He has switched to Smirnoff Espresso vodka, as he says by using that he doesn’t need to add sugar. Toubia also uses fresh espresso coffee.

Smirnoff Espresso Vodka Martini by Grasshopper
Created by John Toubia, Grasshopper Bar
(1.5 standard drinks)


45ml of Smirnoff Espresso vodka
15ml of Monin Caramel Syrup
3 dashes of Orange Bitters
30ml of fresh Espresso Coffee
3 coffee beans
100g of ice

Equipment needed:

1x cocktail glass
1 x cocktail shaker


Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice and shake hard for 30 seconds. Once complete, strain the contents into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with 3 coffee beans.

And FYI here’s my bar review on Grasshopper from my weekly newspaper column BAR FLY:

1 Temperance Lane, Sydney (02) 9947 9025

Stick a lid on it. Shake it. Serve it. That’s how it got started. Word on the street has it that Grasshopper makes a mean Espresso Martini (and the word is right.) Whatever your cocktail choice, the laneway bar early adopter still serves ‘em up in its signature glass jars. Owner John Toubia lets us in on a secret “Everyone we employ goes jar crazy” looking for new ones. Cocktails are the most popular drink here. And every week ten out of the one hundred numbered signatured cocktails are listed for on premises. Or try a Grasshopper cocktail class (no fancy bar equipment is required – household objects, glass jars, measuring beakers and tablespoons are used.) But there’s more to Grasshopper than cocktails – we like the (Australian, French, Spanish) wine list and the grub. Head Chef Stuart Mitchel has hit his stride.

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