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This easy espresso martini is a classic cocktail for coffee lovers. It's strong and boozy yet sweet with a foamy top. It's the perfect after-dinner drink, and it's ready in just 5 minutes!
As a shameless coffee lover, this is one of our favorite cocktails. It's incredibly enjoyable after an Italian meal in place of a rich dessert, but it's also what we order at late-night outings, and what we serve when we want to keep the party vibe going.
If you're wondering how to make an espresso martini, it's actually very easy and requires just a few simple ingredients. It's ideal to use freshly brewed espresso because that's what gives it its foamy top, but you can also make it with cold brew concentrate or strong coffee made in your drip coffee machine or french press. You can also adjust the amount of simple syrup depending on how sweet you like it.
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake it until it's foamy, and strain it into martini glasses. Top it with a few coffee beans, and that's it!
This espresso martini recipe is bold yet perfectly balanced with a caffeine kick that will keep you going. Anyone who enjoys the taste of coffee will swoon over this refreshing espresso martini!
What is an espresso martini?
The espresso martini is a contemporary classic cocktail created by Dick Bradsell in the 1980s in London. It was apparently created for a ‘top model' customer who requested a drink that would “wake her up”.
Although it uses the term martini, it's not a true martini because it doesn't contain any gin or vermouth. It's made with vodka, freshly brewed espresso, coffee liqueur like Kahlùa or Tia Maria, and simple syrup. It's then served in a martini glass and garnished with three coffee beans.
Espresso martini ingredients
You only need 5 simple ingredients to make a classic espresso martini! Here's what you need:
- Vodka – just like any recipe, an espresso martini can only be as good as its ingredients. Go for a decent quality vodka you'd sip on its own for this spirit-forward cocktail.
- Coffee liqueur – a coffee liqueur such as Kahlua or Tia Maria for an extra boost of coffee flavor.
- Chilled espresso – the foam on the top of this cocktail comes from the shot of freshly brewed espresso. You can also use strong brewed coffee, or cold brew concentrate, but you'll need to use an egg white or cocktail foamer for that desirable foamy top.
- Simple syrup – like other cocktails, the amount of simple syrup you use is dependent on personal taste. Use as much or as little depending on how sweet you like it.
- Coffee beans – for garnish.
How to make espresso martinis
Making an espresso martini is quick and easy! Here's how to do it in a few simple steps:
- Pour the vodka, coffee liqueur, cold espresso, and simple syrup into a shaker with ice.
- Now shake, shake, shake to work up the foam.
- Strain it into two martini glasses, and top it with three coffee beans each. Cheers!
How to make an espresso martini frothy
The key to the desirable foamy top is using fresh machine-brewed espresso. If you don't own an espresso machine, don't worry, you can still make a frothy martini using strong brewed coffee or cold brew. Simply add an egg white or use cocktail foamer to the shaker and you'll have a beautiful frothy martini in minutes!
When to serve an espresso martini
An espresso martini is the perfect after-dinner drink for late nights that will magically wake you up and wind you down at the same time. This coffee cocktail tastes especially wonderful after a big Italian meal, in place of a heavy dessert.
Serve it as a welcome cocktail to kick things off, or anytime you want to get the party started!
Can I make it decaffeinated?
Absolutely! Simply swap regular espresso or coffee for decaffeinated.
Can an espresso martini be made in advance?
With its foamy top, this is one of those cocktails that's best served right away.
How long do you chill the espresso?
The time it takes to chill espresso will vary, but it will come to room temperature in about 5 minutes. Pop it in your fridge or freezer for another 5 minutes to speed up the chilling process.
Is an espresso martini a morning drink?
While it's traditionally served as an after-dinner drink, an espresso martini can be enjoyed anytime! It pairs naturally with breakfast and brunch foods, and especially on special occasions like Christmas.
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce coffee liqueur (such as Kahlúa)
- 1 ounce chilled espresso (see notes)
- 1 ounce simple syrup (see notes)
- 6 coffee beans
- Fill your cocktail shaker half full with ice. Add the vodka, coffee liquor, espresso, and simple syrup.2 ounces vodka, 1 ounce coffee liqueur, 1 ounce chilled espresso, 1 ounce simple syrup
- Secure the lid then shake for about 30 seconds to work up the foam.
- Strain into two martini glasses and garnish the cocktails with 3 coffee beans.6 coffee beans
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.