If you’ve ever visited our province’s capitol, you’ll likely have noticed a drink on the menus in that fair city that you’ve probably never heard of before: The Shaft.

Yes, it’s named after the 2019 movie starring Sam Jackson in the iconic title role. But there’s some debate over who actually invented this cocktail. Some say it was invented at the Strathcona in Victoria, others say it was invented at a bar called The Living Room in Calgary.

In Victoria to this day, they still have Shaft competitions and most of the bars and restaurants you’ll go to will have this unique cocktail on their menu.

So, what is a Shaft?

They say this cat Shaft is a bad mother
He’s a complicated man
But no one understands him but his woman

Similar to an espresso martini, The Shaft is a bit more mellow and creamier. It drinks more like a latte or a cappuccino as opposed to an americano or a shot of espresso.

While an espresso martini includes vodka, coffee and coffee liqueur, the Shaft incorporates some kind of cream liqueur (usually Baileys) to take the edge off and mellow it out. In fact, it almost looks like a cappuccino when served.

Shafts are also served in a highball or a rocks glass with lots of ice, rather than in a coupe or a martini glass, as the espresso martini would be.

In Victoria, you’re encouraged to down them quickly, but I prefer to sip mine. It’s a perfect summer mid-afternoon pick-me-up but mellow-me-out kinda drink.

Image by Rebecca Coleman

The Shaft Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz cold brew coffee, or strongly-brewed coffee that’s been cooled
1 oz vodka
1 oz Baileys (or Irish cream liquor)
½ oz coffee liquor (like Kahlua)


Fill your cocktail shaker with ice.
Add all the ingredients to the cocktail shaker.
Add the lid and shake well until the outside of the cocktail shaker is frosted.
Strain into a glass with fresh ice.
Serve with a straw and enjoy.

If you want to check out any more of my recipes, check out Cooking by Laptop.

Let me know if the comments if you tried to make The Shaft.