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Espresso Martini Recipe 

The Espresso Martini is a coffee-flavored cocktail that has become a popular after-dinner drink. This velvety blend of coffee and spirits is sure to elevate your holiday gatherings, making it the perfect libation for those cozy nights by the fireplace or lively celebrations with friends. Whether you’re hosting a festive dinner party or a cozy night in with loved ones, this delicious wintertime cocktail adds a touch of sophistication to any setting. The Espresso Martini recipe that follows is easy to make and includes many variations. 

This relatively modern cocktail first graced the scene in the 1980’s. Legend has it that a well-known model requested a pick-me-up cocktail during a late-night photo shoot, leading to the birth of this caffeinated concoction. Its popularity skyrocketed, becoming a staple in cocktail bars worldwide.

Glas with espresso martini recipe held up to window with NYC in view.

An espresso martini has just a few main ingredients, though there are some variations on amounts and specific products used. The core ingredients are:

  • Vodka- The base spirit that provides the alcoholic kick. Use a premium or mid-range brand.
  • Espresso- Freshly brewed espresso brings the signature coffee flavor.
  • Coffee liqueur- The liqueur provides extra coffee undertones. Kahlua is a popular brand.
  • Simple syrup- A small amount of syrup sweetens the cocktail.

Espresso Martini Recipe

Servings 1


  • 1 ½ oz vodka
  • 1 oz coffee liqueur like Kahlúa
  • 1 oz freshly brewed espresso
  • ½ oz simple syrup adjust to taste


  • Brew a shot of espresso and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Fill a shaker with ice.
  • Pour vodka, coffee liqueur, and espresso into the shaker.
  • Add simple syrup to taste.
  • Shake vigorously for about 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.
Coffee beans in a glass container, with top view of espresso martini, and tin mug

Variations of the Espresso Martini Recipe 

  • Vanilla Bean Espresso Martini- Add a splash of vanilla extract or use vanilla-infused vodka for a sweet twist.
  • Peppermint Mocha Martini- Infuse the cocktail with a hint of peppermint by adding a splash of peppermint schnapps.
  • Spiced Gingerbread Kick- Incorporate gingerbread syrup and a pinch of cinnamon for a warm and spicy flavor.
  • White Chocolate Delight- Replace regular coffee liqueur with white chocolate liqueur for a rich and indulgent experience.
  • Hazelnut Heaven- Introduce hazelnut liqueur for a nutty undertone, complementing the coffee perfectly.
  • Caramel Espresso Bliss- Drizzle caramel syrup inside the glass before pouring the cocktail for a sweet caramel touch.
  • Orange Zest Elegance- Add a twist of orange zest or a splash of orange liqueur for a citrusy kick.
Brown shaker, espresso martini recipe in a glass with orange slices on side.

Tips and Hints

  • Chill Your Glassware- Before preparing your Espresso Martini, pop your martini glasses into the freezer. A frosty glass enhances the drinking experience, keeping your cocktail cooler for longer.
  • Invest in Quality Ingredients- The simplicity of the Espresso Martini highlights the importance of using high-quality ingredients. Freshly brewed coffee, top-shelf vodka, and a premium coffee liqueur contribute to a superior cocktail.
  • Shake with Vigor- Achieving the perfect frothiness in your Espresso Martini requires a good shake. Shake the mixture vigorously for at least 10-15 seconds to create a luxurious and velvety texture.
  • Garnish Creatively- Elevate the presentation by garnishing your Espresso Martini with coffee beans, a twist of orange peel, or a sprinkle of cocoa powder. These small details add a visual and aromatic appeal to your drink.
  • Serve Immediately- Espresso Martinis are best enjoyed fresh. Serve your concoction immediately after shaking to savor the full, robust flavors and the delightful frothy top.
  • Storing Vodka- Store your vodka in the freezer so it’s icy cold when making drinks.
Picture of coffee pot, mug and martini glass with candle.

 Frequently Asked Questions

What vodka is best for an Espresso Martini?  

A premium vodka like Grey Goose or Absolut works well. Avoid bottom-shelf vodkas.

What if I don’t have a cocktail shaker?

You can mix in a jar and strain into glasses. Just be sure to shake very well. 

What other coffee liqueurs can I use?

Kahlua is common, but you can sub in Baileys Irish Cream or other coffee-flavored liqueurs.

How do I make the foam topping?

Shake vigorously and fine strain for naturally frothy foam. Some add cream but this dulls the espresso flavor.

What glass should I serve it in?

A classic martini glass is traditional, but a cocktail or coupe glass also works well.

Whether you’re a coffee enthusiast or a cocktail connoisseur, the Espresso Martini is a holiday delight that brings together the best of both worlds. Experiment with the variations, share the joy with friends and family, and toast to the season with this decadent, caffeinated creation.

Espresso Martini with Joy in lights.

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