Decaf Espresso Martini | #KatiesTakiBar

Happy Cinco de Mayo everybody! It’s been too long since introducing my Taki Bar to you before actually creating something with it to share with you on here. Things have been quite manic, and will be for the next couple of weeks. I actually have no tequila in my home bar at present, but I do have Kahlúa, a Mexican coffee liqueur. Bad timing though as I wondered whether DECAF Espresso Martinis would be possible (and easy) to make*. I’m removing the one Mexican ingredient, however: Kahlúa, and creating my own decaf coffee liqueur. If you want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and with the added energy from the caffeine, just swap the homemade decaf coffee liqueur back to the standard Kahlúa.

*The fact we have a blog post on it, means this is really easy to make.

I was inspired by Carly and Leon‘s laughing fit where Leon had managed to kid Carly into thinking she was having decaf espresso martinis all night. I was originally sitting there laughing along with them at Carly finding out, on camera, that “They don’t do espresso martinis!”. I was sure that making your own decaf espresso martinis shouldn’t be too hard, as the only thing caffeinated ingredient in them is the Kahlúa, espresso and coffee bean garnish (if any). Therefore, we need to make a new decaf coffee liqueur and think of an inventive decaf garnish. It’s super easy to make, but just takes 4 weeks to rest. I’m going to say now, that even though you’re not going to “still be wired at 11am” as with a typical espresso martini, expect a sugar-rush, these (as with most alcohol) are still FULL of sugar! You’re allowed a treat though, right?

Funnelled into a Kilner clip-top bottle, with a rustic brown tag and tied in a raffia bow, it could make a perfect present!

To Make the Decaf Coffee Liqueur

500ml water
150g white sugar
150g demerara sugar (or just 300g of sugar, I thought I’d be fancy)
3-4 tbsp instant decaf coffee (depending on how strong you would like it)*
200ml Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum (or any other dark rum)
Vanilla extract/1 x vanilla pod

*Quantities may be slightly different for freshly ground coffee.

Put the water, sugar(s) and coffee into a pan and bring to the boil, simmer for about 15 minutes. Do not add the rum until the mixture has cooled, as the alcohol has a lower boil temperature than water. Add the rum and the vanilla or vanilla pod and stir once cool and decant into an airtight bottle. Leave to rest for 2-4 weeks before serving (it’s the kind of thing that gets better with age), occasionally giving it a shake/stir/mix. If you’ve used a vanilla pod, remove after no more than 4 weeks.

Bottle it up and label. If you’re going to be making a lot of liqueurs or syrups, it’s a good idea to label what you’ve made!

To Make the Decaf Espresso Martini

50ml vodka (I’ve used 7 times distilled and filtered Lithuanian Vodka)
35ml homemade decaf coffee liqueur (Made using the recipe above)
25ml cold decaf espresso

Fill your martini glass with ice to chill, pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake the crap out of it to make the creme top. I’m expecting a fantastic creme from Carly & Leon as I’m sure they have exceptional upper body strength! Empty the martini glass and pour your cocktail through a strainer. Garnish with decaf coffee dust, hot chocolate, vanilla or Star Anise (pictured).

A Loyalty Card Birthday Freebee Spree

As I am sure you are already aware, it was my birthday last month. I promise, I will stop going on about it after this post. Until next year anyway. I recently went on a shopping spree with the sole intent to see what I could get for being such a loyal customer to… most of the shops on the British high street. Materialistic, perhaps, but also a bit of an experiment. Do loyalty cards really pay off for your birthday? Do these big commercial places really look after you, especially on your birthday, as you do them with your loyal custom?

Space NK

Space.NK emailed on my birthday to say that I had a complimentary NARS Audacious mascara to pick up when I went in store with my email and my N.dulge card or used a unique code given to me on the email on their online store. As I decided to have a day out mooching around the more luxurious shops, I popped in to Space.NK.apothecary and gave them my card.

Instead of the mascara (of which, I had plenty anyway), they gave me the Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Essence Treatment (40ml), an anti-ageing liquid concentrate that hydrates the skin to be used in addition to your skin care routine. With LHA and sodium hyaluronate, it exfoliates and smooths the rough texture of skin over time.

As I am no skin expert, I am not entirely sure that this is the perfect product for me, a risk that comes with getting a generate freebie for your birthday.


*Collect within 28 days, no purchase necessary.

The Body Shop

An absolute favourite when it comes to offers and loyalty, although I was left a little confused some months ago when they changed the loyalty card over. The new Body Shop loyalty card is much nicer, no longer scrawled in sharpie but I wasn’t sure why I had two at one point and whether my loyalty from the old card was transferred to the new. That aside, they still honour the £5 to spend “during your birthday month”. As my birthday is 28 March, I was unsure whether this meant prior to my birthday, just the entire month of March or a month after my birthday (my shopping spree was in the first few days of April).

I didn’t really know what I fancied at the Body Shop this time, I seemed well stocked up on my favourites so thought I better treat myself to something I don’t usually buy. I perused the make up counter as I have a lipstick I’ve been using almost every day and picked up another one (colour crush 235) and took it to the till when I learned that they were currently promoting a ‘buy one get one half price on all makeup and skin-care’. Not going to decline on one of their frequent offers (get me every time, they do), I also picked up the Honey Bronze highlighting dome in 01, I never use highlighter and frankly terrified of any kind of cream blush, highlight or bronzer, so thought I would give it a go since I had the voucher.

Both the lipstick and the highlighting dome with the offer and the voucher came to all of £9. Not really going to complain about that.

*Use within 1 month after your birthday, with qualifying purchases only.


Another email popped into my inbox on my birthday from Paperchase, saying they had “credited my card with £5 birthday money”. Not one to turn down free money, I decided to find the tackiest notebook (sorry, paperchase) to act as a cocktail recipe book and guestbook for Katie’s Taki Bar “patrons”.

It wasn’t until I was at the till before I saw a girl with the perfect, miami-vice looking notebook, exactly what I was looking for. The book was also the cheapest, cheaper than my voucher, so I then needed a pen to go with it. They don’t match at all, which I guess is kind of the point. The notebook and the pen cost me all of 25p (30p if you get a bag of course).

*Valid for 2 weeks, will discount from your first shop after your birthday automatically whether you want it or not (I believe).

ASK Italian

I had the email from ASK Italian first, as early as 9 March. This offer was for a £20 spend when you spent £50 dining in the restaurant. When you think about it, this is a very good deal, it could buy a bottle of prosecco to accompany a nice meal or give a decent discount to a group of friends having a nice post-birthday lunch.

That was our plan: 5 ladies and one baby. We headed to our local shopping mall where I am sure it was in the corner, it had also closed down in our local town…

It’s a story anyway, maybe next year!

*Use by the date on email, minimum £50 bill.