If Neil Patrick Harris has his way, the espresso martini will only get bigger across the United States, if that’s possible. The venerable cocktail from the 1990s has been on a tear recently, as consumers have driven it into the top 10 list of the most ordered cocktails at U.S. bars, according to the research firm CGA by NielsenIQ. Its popularity only makes sense to Harris, so he has partnered with Thomas Ashbourne Craft Spirits to release “The After Hours” Espresso Martini.
“There’s something emotionally connecting about an espresso martini that makes you feel like you’re opening your next adventure,” says Harris. “I mean, who wouldn’t want to sip one?”
Launched with much fanfare in the summer of 2022, Thomas Ashbourne aims to deliver ready-to-drink (RTD) bar-quality craft cocktails to consumers. Thomas Ashbourne decided to reach for the stars to stand out in a rapidly expanding segment that sees new brands appear almost constantly. Hollywood and music stars precisely.
Each of the four drinks in their initial release was a reimagined take on a classic cocktail with a celebrity directly attached. The Perfect Cosmo, of course, had Sarah Jessica Parker, the Hardscatto saw rapper Playboy Carti as its face, and so on. Each celebrity had a stake in the company and was actively involved in its sales.
Sales in the first year were strong, and the female-founded company quickly passed the million-dollar mark in sales, which only 5% of all female-founded companies achieve in their first year. So, they knew who they wanted to partner with when they decided to add another offering.
“Neil is an iconic talent. He brings sophistication and an irreverence to Thomas Ashbourne that we knew was a perfect fit. We like to say that we are wildly delicious and wildly dignified; that is Neil,” says Cara Kamenev, the CEO, and founder of Thomas Ashbourne. “We have been in contact with him and working on his deal for a very long time. We would have loved to have had him at our debut, but that didn’t work out, so instead, we decided that he would be the perfect person to spearhead the expansion of our product line.
The decision to work with Harris is a no-brainer. A stage and screen star, he has been in the public eye for most of his life. From his beginnings as Doogie Howser M.D. to his turn as the elegantly loveable lothario Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother to this latest show Uncoupled, where he plays a newly single middle-aged gay man in New York, his characters capture the public’s eye. Plus, he loves a good drink.
“I loved the idea of the “After Hours” espresso martini because I love mixology, and it’s a great drink. There aren’t very many of them on the market, and that’s a shame,” says Harris. “They bring a classiness of a martini with the pep of caffeine. You could sip one before heading out for the night or when the bars are closing, and you want to go dancing and need a little pep in your step.”
Harris was involved with formulating the drink recipe the entire way, and he sampled numerous drinks until they settled upon a final choice, which he says was both fun and exhausting. As an equity partner, he has a direct connection to his drink and will be involved with its rollout and marketing. For its debut, Thomas Ashbourne released a video of Harris where the star humorously introduces his new cocktail to the public. Moving forward, he will be meeting with distributors, doing tastings, and being an active face of the brand.
The 375 ml bottle or 4-pack of 200 ml cans of the “After Hours” Espresso Martini is being offered online exclusively during its rollout with plans to quickly incorporate it into the brand’s footprint in retail locations nationwide. Priced at an affordable $16.99 for the bottle and $19.99 for the cans, it is designed to deliver a “sophistication that is available to everyone,” according to Kamenev.