Espresso Martini

Get the ultimate cocktail experience with our Espresso Martini recipe. Elevate your senses with the bold blend of rich espresso, smooth vodka, and decadent Kahlúa—creating a perfect symphony of flavors in every sip!

A glass of espresso martini garnished with coffee beans on top.

Alright, let’s talk Espresso Martini – the ultimate pick-me-up cocktail that’s basically your favorite coffee date in a fancy glass. It’s the end of a long day, and you’re craving something that’s both a zesty spirit-lifter and a smooth relaxer. Enter the Espresso Martini. It’s like the best of both worlds, with a kick of espresso to keep the conversations flowing and a splash of vodka to ease into the evening. And let’s not forget a hint of Kahlúa, because who doesn’t love a touch of sweet coffee liqueur in their life, especially during the holiday season?

History of the Espresso Martini

In the early ’80s, London bartender Dick Bradsell created the Espresso Martini at the Soho Brasserie. A model requested a pick-me-up, inspiring Bradsell to mix coffee with vodka. According to Dick, a famous model entered the Soho Brasserie where he was working and asked him to create a drink that would “wake me up”. As there was a coffee machine next to where Dick was serving drinks, he decided to combine the coffee with vodka.

Originally called Vodka Espresso, it featured vodka, sugar syrup, two coffee liqueurs, and fresh espresso. Renamed the Espresso Martini, it gained popularity. In 1998, at the Pharmacy Bar, Bradsell rebranded it as the Pharmaceutical Stimulant. The cocktail, known by these three names globally, has slight ingredient variations. Bradsell’s inventive blend of coffee and vodka, concocted amid coffee grounds, became a legendary and versatile drink cherished worldwide.

Reasons to Love This Martini

  • The perfect blend of caffeine and alcohol provides an energizing yet relaxing experience, making it the perfect after-dinner drink.
  • Its rich, creamy texture and signature frothy top offer a luxurious and visually appealing drinking experience.
  • The combination of bold espresso and sweet Kahlúa balances the sharpness of vodka.
  • Espresso Martini serves as a versatile drink, fitting for both sophisticated dinner parties and casual get-togethers.
  • It is simple in preparation and requires only a few ingredients.

Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for Espresso Martini on a table.
  • Vodka: Vodka adds a clean, crisp base to the cocktail. Its neutral flavor intensifies the other ingredients without overpowering our Espresso Martini.
  • Kahlua: A coffee liqueur that brings a sweet and rich coffee flavor. It complements the espresso and adds depth and sweetness.
  • Espresso: A freshly brewed shot of espresso is key for its strong, robust coffee flavor. It provides the characteristic coffee kick and a slightly bitter edge.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Strong Coffee Variation: Replace espresso with strong coffee for a milder flavor. This tweak is perfect if you don’t have an espresso machine but still crave that classic cocktail essence.
  • Cold Brew Concentrate Alternative: For a closer taste to traditional espresso, use cold brew concentrate rather than instant coffee. It offers a richer flavor and integrates smoothly with vodka, making it a superior choice for your Espresso Martini. Avoid using instant coffee, as it lacks the depth and richness of espresso or cold brew.
  • Grey Goose Upgrade: Elevate your Espresso Martini by using Grey Goose vodka. Its smoothness enhances the cocktail, blending seamlessly with the rich flavors of cold espresso and Kahlua.
  • Egg White Foamy Top: If you don’t have a way to make espresso and you are using strong brewed coffee or cold brew and you still want a foamy top, then add an egg white to the shaker before mixing. This creates the foamy top and doesn’t change the flavor.
  • Garnish Variation: Traditionally, this coffee cocktail is garnished with 3 coffee beans, but there are some other garnishes that have been used in the cocktail. So, alternatively, you can garnish with chocolate-covered bacon, coconut, cocoa powder, espresso powder, or a cherry.
  • Sweeter Espresso Martini: If you want to add a little bit of sweetness to this drink, then just add ½ to 1 oz. of simple syrup.

How to Make Espresso Martini

Step #1: Optionally, chill your martini glasses in the freezer for 20 minutes. Pour 4 ounces vodka, Kahlúa, and espresso into a cocktail shaker over ice.

Step #2: Shake vigorously.

Step #3: Strain the mix into your favorite martini glass, then garnish with three coffee beans. Sip and savor!

Vodka, Kahlúa, and espresso being poured into a glass.

Expert Tips

  • Measure Your Ingredients: Accuracy in measurements is key to a perfect Espresso Martini. Use a jigger to ensure you’re adding the right amount of each ingredient, maintaining the balance of flavors.
  • Experiment with Coffee Types: Different types of espresso have unique flavor profiles. Experiment with various beans especially for coffee lovers and try different brewing methods to find your preferred taste for the cocktail.
  • Avoid Over-Shaking: While vigorous shaking is essential, overdoing it can lead to a diluted drink. Shake just enough to chill and mix the ingredients thoroughly, usually around 10-15 seconds.
  • Balancing Espresso and Liquor: If you prefer more espresso flavor and less liquor, reduce the amount of Vodka and Kahlua. Increase the espresso coffee to adjust the taste to your liking.
  • Egg White Foamy Top: If you don’t have a way to make espresso and you are using strong brewed coffee or cold brew and you still want a foamy top, then add an egg white to the shaker before mixing. This creates a foamy top and doesn’t change the flavor.
A shot glass filled with coffee beans, and a glass of espresso martini garnished with coffee beans on top.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t have an espresso maker for my Espresso Martini?

Consider the Classic Stovetop Espresso Maker available on Amazon. It’s affordable, easy to use, and compatible with stovetops. Compact for storage, it comes in various sizes and colors, like the festive red 5-cup, perfect for holiday Espresso Martini.

Can I serve an Espresso Martini in a coupe glass?

Absolutely! A coupe glass is a great alternative or any small stemmed glass.

Can I make an Espresso Martini without a cocktail shaker?

Absolutely! A large mason jar with a tight lid can be a great alternative. Just make sure it’s securely sealed before giving it a good shake to mix your Espresso Martini.

Is it possible to make a non-alcoholic Espresso Martini?

Yes, you can use non-alcoholic substitutes for vodka and Kahlua, though the taste will differ from the original.

How can I make my Espresso Martini creamier and foamier?

For a creamier texture, substitute Kahlua with Bailey’s Irish Cream. To enhance the froth and foam, add a small amount of heavy cream when shaking the cocktail. If you don’t have Bailey’s Irish Cream at home, you can make your own with my Homemade Irish Cream recipe.

Storage Info

An Espresso Martini is best enjoyed fresh, as its appeal lies in the freshly brewed espresso and the frothy texture achieved when shaken with ice. However, if you need to store it, it’s advisable to keep it in the refrigerator for no more than a day to maintain its flavor and quality. Storing it in a tightly sealed container or a cocktail shaker is recommended to preserve its taste.

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A glass of Espresso Martini and a shot glass filled with coffee beans.

Espresso Martini Recipe

This Espresso Martini recipe combines the bold flavors from Espresso, Vodka, and Kahlúa to make the perfect cocktail!
4.7 from 7 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Beverages
Cuisine: North American
Diet: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 231kcal
Author: Linda
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Ingredients

  • 4 oz. Vodka
  • 2 oz. Kahlua
  • 2 oz. Espresso
  • Ice
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Instructions

  • Optionally, chill your martini glasses in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  • Pour vodka, Kahlúa, and espresso into a cocktail shaker over ice.
  • Shake vigorously.
  • Strain the mix into your favorite martini glass, then garnish with three coffee beans. Sip and savor!

VIDEO

NOTES

Storage Info:
An Espresso Martini is best enjoyed fresh, as its appeal lies in the freshly brewed espresso and the frothy texture achieved when shaken with ice. However, if you need to store it, it’s advisable to keep it in the refrigerator for no more than a day to maintain its flavor and quality. Storing it in a tightly sealed container or a cocktail shaker is recommended to preserve its taste.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 231kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 33mg | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.04mg

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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