The Real Reason Espresso Martinis Give You Such A Bad Hangover

Ever have an evening when you need something to take the edge off, but also want to party like you're Lionel Richie? (That is to say, all night long?) The feeling you're probably looking for, in drink form, is known around the world as an "espresso martini." Served cold in a martini glass, the cocktail recipe is fairly simple — 2 ounces of vodka and an ounce of espresso meet a half-ounce each of coffee liqueur and simple syrup, according to HuffPost. Yet, the resulting effects are, as you can imagine, slightly more complicated.

Allegedly invented in 1980s London by a man called Dick Bradsell, the espresso martini was first concocted for a young lady who had requested that Bradsell "make me a drink that will wake me up and then f*** me up," which is about the best description of the cocktail we've heard so far. The drink was popular in the early '90s, but has seen such a resurgence lately that even The New York Times is alarmed. Why the spike in popularity? And for that matter, why all the concern? Well, unlike a warm cup of milk before bed, an espresso martini is what you would classify as a "dangerous drink" on a night out because as the old saying goes, if the caffeine doesn't getcha, the alcohol definitely will.

Two dark and powerful forces at work

When it comes to an espresso martini, there are two powerful forces at work: alcohol and caffeine. "Coffee is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, so your body is doing different actions simultaneously, which may not be ideal," nutritionist Frances Largeman-Roth told HuffPost. As we all know, when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, results vary. When that unstoppable force is an espresso martini, the immovable object at the end of the night may turn out to be you.

Largeman-Roth goes on to explain that a shot of espresso contains 64 milligrams of caffeine — less than a grande cup of coffee maybe, but if you're sensitive to caffeine, it's still enough to mess with your sleep. If the vodka itself doesn't give you a headache, a rotten night of sleep might finish the job. "For folks over 30, the combo of caffeine and alcohol can wreak some serious havoc on your sleep," Largeman-Roth points out. "If your goal is to stay up all night, that's fine, but if you have a 9 a.m. meeting, I'd skip this one!" Espresso martini enthusiasts — who are mostly just slightly older versions of the Red Bull-and-vodka cohort — would argue that the cocktail is not dissimilar to ordering an espresso after a big meal at a restaurant before heading off for drinks somewhere else. But maybe ask them if they still feel that way tomorrow.