Ms. Chastain, 38, considers the relationship between espresso martinis and the Bravo universe as a chicken-or-egg paradox: Did reality TV stars (re)popularize the drink, or are their tastes a symptom of larger American trends?
Coffee culture flourished during the pandemic, most notably on TikTok (remember dalgona coffee?). Ty Bridgwater, 23, began a series of iced coffee reviews on the app in January 2021, and some have been viewed 6.7 million times.
Mr. Bridgwater uses TikTok’s “duet” function for his commentary on other users’ coffee-based drinks, some of them boozy. Videos with the hashtag #icedcoffee have more than two billion views, and the hashtag’s landing page reads, “It’s not just a drink, it’s a lifestyle.”
The appeal of mixing uppers and downers needs little explanation: Consider the popularity of vodka with Red Bull among clubgoers, or the appeal of Four Loko among pre-gaming college students (at least, back when it was caffeinated).
Now, as the United States approaches the post-pandemic era, that enthusiasm for caffeine will be put to good use. Bars are reopening, parties are returning, and many of us are tired (it’s been a long 15 months). This is a cocktail designed for a reawakening, and we’re on the precipice of a grand one.
Which is not to say that the drink doesn’t have its detractors. “I’m convinced this is some conspiracy,” said Andrea Hernández, 31, who writes a newsletter about upcoming food and beverage trends. She has been tweeting about the ubiquity of the espresso martini since April, when she began to feel that “it was a trend that was going to be forced on us, like it or not.” For now, she says, she’ll stick to her preferred drink: a dirty martini.