Espresso Martini

Espresso martini

The Spruce

 

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
180 Calories
0g Fat
9g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 7mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 1mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 42mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The espresso martini is one of the most popular cocktails in the modern bar. Credited to Dick Bradsell at Fred's Club in London, it was reportedly created in the 1980s at the request of a fashion model who wanted an energizing cocktail. Made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and chilled espresso, the espresso martini certainly fits the bill, and its simplicity allows you to replicate it at home.

Since its debut, there have been many variations on the espresso martini. This particular recipe adds crème de cacao to the mix. The sweet chocolate liqueur gives the spiked coffee cocktail a mocha-like taste that makes it even more irresistible. Skip the ingredient if you like and make it without, swap for a splash of simple syrup, or explore other substitutions to find your ideal espresso martini.

This delicious and caffeinated vodka martini is a great after-dinner drink. It's also a perfect happy hour cocktail when you need a little pick-me-up. For an extra special dessert course, serve with a light, complimentary dessert like tiramisu.

"An easy-drinking 'pick-me-up.' The balance of this cocktail is a benchmark in mixology. Coffee is a bold flavor, and it can easily overpower a cocktail. This recipe is a top-notch example of this under-valued cocktail." —Sean Johnson

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka

  • 3/4 ounce coffee liqueur

  • 1/4 ounce crème de cacao liqueur, optional

  • 1 ounce chilled espresso

  • 3 coffee beans, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making an espresso martini
    The Spruce 
  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour the vodka, coffee liqueur, crème de cacao, and espresso. Shake very well to achieve the characteristic frothy texture on top.

    Cocktail shaker
    The Spruce
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with coffee beans. Serve and enjoy.

    Espresso martini strained into a cocktail glass
    The Spruce 

Tips

  • As with any vodka martini, the vodka you choose will determine the overall quality of the drink. However, the coffee and chocolate are decadent flavors, and there are some fantastic budget-friendly vodkas available that work well in this drink.
  • The espresso is the most important ingredient. If you have an espresso machine, pull a few shots and put them in the freezer for a quick chill. It's important to add cold espresso to the shaker or your ice will melt too quickly.
  • Coffee is not recommended for making an espresso martini since it is lighter and flavor and less potent, making the drink watery.

Recipe Variations

  • No espresso machine? Brew coffee in a stovetop espresso pot or use a ready-to-drink espresso or cold-brew coffee concentrate.
  • Many espresso martini recipes use as much as one ounce of simple syrup instead of chocolate liqueur. Some coffee liqueurs can be too sweet for this substitution and really don't need any additional sweetener. Eliminate the chocolate liqueur or start with 1/4 ounce of syrup to maintain a balanced drink.
  • Kick your espresso martini up another notch and use an espresso-flavored vodka.
  • Skip the crème de cacao and start with chocolate vodka, adding 1/4 ounce more to make up for the liqueur. Vanilla vodka works as well.
  • Light and vanilla rums are good vodka substitutes in the espresso martini.
  • Give the martini a latte-like feel with a 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of Irish cream, another cream liqueur, or half and half. Dairy milk substitutes—particularly vanilla almond milk—work well, too.

How Strong Is the Espresso Martini?

Between the caffeine and alcohol, the espresso martini is not a gentle cocktail. Average for martinis, the alcohol content falls in the 23 percent ABV (46 proof) range.

Which Coffee Liqueur Is Best for an Espresso Martini?

Kahlúa is typically the go-to coffee liqueur for the espresso martini, but there are other options. Tia Maria is a well-known and popular alternative that's not as sweet. You can also try the coffee liqueurs from brands like Firelit, Leopold Bros., New Deal, or St. George Spirits. If you're feeling crafty, make your own coffee liqueur.

How Do You Make the Espresso Martini Frothy?

The frothy top is one of the best parts of an espresso martini. It gives it that coffee shop feel, just like a shot of espresso. To ensure it appears on your martini, use freshly brewed (but chilled) espresso, shake the cocktail very well, and strain it into the glass quickly.