Carmelo Anthony’s Espresso Martini Riff Is in Its Own League


Movies stars aren’t the only celebrities with their own liquor brands. Even NBA players like LeBron James have whipped up their own tequila companies. But 10-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA selection, and former scoring champion Carmelo Anthony went a different direction. 

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After 19 years in the NBA, Melo retired in March as the No. 9 scorer in league history. He plans to “Stay Melo” during post-basketball life, a credo he built over the last two decades. But, he says, there’s more to him than just basketball—such as his affinity for tequila

“There are just a lot of things that people don’t know about me, personally,” Anthony tells Men’s Journal. “And when they start seeing me doing other things outside of the norm, it’s shocking. Like, ‘oh, he’s into tequila?’ But I’ve always been a fan of tequila.”

Earlier this year, Anthony launched a collaboration with storied tequila brand 1800 Tequila. “I understand what goes into the art of making tequila and the branding and messaging,” Anthony says. “I’ve learned over the years what I like, what I don’t like. So for me to partner with 1800, it made sense.” 

This month, Anthony and 1800 Tequila are taking the partnership to new heights with an upcoming clothing drop and signature cocktail. 

Related: 26 Best Tequila Brands of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

How Does Carmelo Anthony Enjoy His Tequila?

Anthony enjoys his agave pours in a variety of ways, whether over one big rock or as part of the signature cocktail he crafted with 1800 Tequila.

Pumpkin spice has a certain connotation: orange leaves, Thanksgiving, and lengthy Starbucks lines. Less often do we associate the seasonal flavor with perennial NBA All-Stars like Anthony. But ask the three-time Olympic gold medalist how he’s spending his first fall of retirement from professional sports, and he’ll tell you he’s been mixing up pumpkin spice espresso martinis with tequila.

“I wanted to tap into and create something that people are already familiar with when it comes to the holidays, pumpkins, and spices,” Anthony says. “I’m an espresso martini drinker, so to do my own pumpkin spice martini, we’re knocking on the door.”

If he could choose anyone to sip his cocktail with, he’d choose best-selling self-help author Robert Greene. “I really wanna pick his brain,” Anthony says. “I just like the way he thinks. I like the way he sees the world. I like the way he sees culture. I like the way he’s objective on different topics, people, and scenarios. I love to listen to him talk. Plus, he wrote one of my favorite books, The 48 Laws of Power.”

Anthony reminds tequila fans to drink responsibly. “That’s what ‘Stay Melo’ means. Relax, stay mellow, understand how much you’re drinking, understand what’s going on.”

Related: 11 Best Añejo Tequilas for Sipping and Mixing

Taking STAYME7O to the Next Level

Anthony and 1800 Tequila are releasing four fashion pieces as part of the 1800 Holiday Drop Shop, a limited-edition capsule collection that features clothing designed and produced in collaboration with Carmelo Anthony’s streetwear brand STAYME7O. The shop opens on Cyber Monday, November 27.

The items featured in the drop—a varsity jacket, hoodie, hat, and embroidered fabric patches—are staples in Anthony’s closet. “I just wanted to bring my own personal style to 1800 and see if we could come out with a fire collection,” he says.

The “Stay Melo” motto—a mindset built around the idea of maintaining your calm in the midst of chaos, while also being a professional at the highest level—can be found stitched across each piece in the collection, along with the other clever brand statements like, “when in doubt, drink tequila.”

“1800 and STAYME7O…say the same thing in different ways. Taste is everything. Mindset is everything,” Anthony says. “When you drink tequila, what’s your mentality? What’s your vibe? What’s your mood? When you’re staying mellow, what are you doing?”

How to Make Melo’s 1800 Espresso Martini Melo 1800 Espresso Martini

Courtesy Image


  • 1.5 oz 1800 Cristalino
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin puree  
  • 1.5 oz fresh espresso 
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • Cinnamon stick, for garnish
  • Ground cayenne pepper, for garnish
  • Star anise, for garnish


  1. In a mixing tin, combine 1800 Cristalino, pumpkin puree, fresh espresso, and simple syrup. 
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously for 60 seconds. 
  3. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass. 
  4. Use an index card to cover half the top of the glass. Very lightly shake a small amount of ground cayenne over the exposed area, then grate a healthy amount of cinnamon over the cayenne. Add a star anise to the center for garnish. 

1800 Cristalino Tequila 1800 Cristalino Tequila

Courtesy Image

$54 at Total Wine

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