Espresso Martini Recipe (2024)

By Lidey Heuck

Updated March 28, 2024

Espresso Martini Recipe (1)

Total Time
10 minutes
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Read community notes

The invention of the espresso martini — a co*cktail with a jolt that has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity — is credited to British bartender Dick Bradsell, who was known for creating inventive co*cktails at bars around London in the 1980s. It pairs mild vodka with freshly brewed espresso, coffee-flavored liqueur and a sweet splash of simple syrup. The espresso shot is the co*cktail’s main ingredient and has a big impact on the drink’s flavor, so use one you like. (You may want to add an additional ½ ounce of coffee liqueur if your espresso is particularly strong.)

Learn: How to Make co*cktails

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Yield:1 drink

  • Ice, for shaking
  • 2ounces vodka
  • 1ounce brewed espresso, at room temperature, or 1½ ounces cold brew concentrate (see Tip)
  • ½ounce coffee-flavored liqueur, such as Kahlúa, plus more to taste
  • ½ounce simple syrup
  • Whole coffee beans (optional), for garnish

Ingredient Substitution Guide


Make the recipe with us

  1. Step


    Fill a co*cktail shaker ⅔ full with ice. Add the vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur and simple syrup.

  2. Step


    Place the lid on the shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.

  3. Step


    Strain the co*cktail into a martini glass and garnish with a few coffee beans, if desired.


  • If you don’t have an espresso machine, use store-bought cold brew concentrate, which makes a smoother, less intense co*cktail, but doesn’t create the signature layer of foam that gilds the drink. An easy fix is to add a splash of whole milk or half-and-half to the shaker. While not a traditional component of an espresso martini, it foams up nicely when shaken and adds some creaminess to the co*cktail.



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Cooking Notes

How To Get That Good Froth

I make about 100 espresso martinis a week. Here is some advice: if you use kahlua as the liqueur you do NOT need simple (unless you like it very sweet). Use a LOT of ice and you can dump the fresh espresso hot on it. If you have a Boston shaker, you don't have to shake as hard. The space and the clattering of the ice makes it frothy. If you have the shaker with the built in strainer, shake it like you freaking MEAN it, strain most into a glass, and REALLY shake the remainder for a great foam.


Ditch the vodka and deepen the flavors of your espresso martini with Cognac:2oz Remy cognac1oz espresso 0.5oz coffee liqueur Splash of creamer (optional)


Instead of the kahlua, use St George Coffee Liqueur. Deliciously superior to kahlua! (St George Distillery, known best for their gins and eau de vies, is from Alameda, CA but can be found in liquor stores nation wide.)


The only thing that makes this a martini is the glass it's in. Put the whole thing into a tumbler or mug and it's a sweet jolt of fun. But when you put a martini into anything else, it's a martini in a different glass. *Sniff.


If it hasn't been mentioned already I can't recommend enough ditching the Kahlua or run of the mill "coffee liquor" for Mr. Black. Mr. Black is a cold brew liquor and whether you use vodka or rye or the recommendation of cognac, Mr. Black makes it better I promise! I don't work for Mr. Black I just love the stuff it's even awesome as a little pre-game drink on the rocks.


Try adding about a half ounce of half and half or heavy cream to the shaker to give it a creamy consistency


Noche Negra1 1/2 oz tequila1 oz espresso cold brew, from powder, 3 tablespoon espresso powder per 10 ounces hot water (recommended Ferarra or Nescafe espresso powders)1/2 oz Agavero Tequila Liqueur, (can substitute Cantera Negra Café Coffee Liqueur or Mr Black coffee liqueur)1 dropper chocolate bitters, (recommended: Pitch Dark Cacao Bitters)Due to the cold-brew, no foam. But still delicious.


I do equal parts vodka, Kahlua, and very strong french-pressed coffee (1 part grounds to 4 parts water, which gets you back just over half of the water as coffee).I mix and chill, covered, in the freezer before putting in the shaker and really shaking it, and it results in a delicious martini with about a half centimeter of foam on top.


Even better with some Baileys Irish Cream

Bill from Denver

Skip the simple syrup and add 1/2 oz. of Irish Cream in lieu. No sweeter and even more delicious!

Antoinette Mongelli

This is such a fan favorite and this is how I make it: Espresso MartiniFestive and not too, too sweet. This can also be prepared in advance for any gathering.2 oz vodka1/2 oz coffee liqueur (Galliano Ristretto Caffè Espresso Liqueur)1/2 oz chocolate liqueur (Meletti Cioccolato)2-3 dashes of Aztec Chocolate Bitters2 dashes of Orange BittersGarnish: coffee beans or a tiny scoop of chocolate gelatoAdd all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and shake until well-chilled.


Agree the simple syrup is not needed but a nice touch if you double the espresso like we do! Cuts the bitterness.


Vanilla vodka, some amaro, a couple dashes of chocolate bitters are a few things you could use to bring it up a notch or two, but in any case you should sprinkle a small pinch of flaky sea salt atop the foam. You will not be disappointed...


Using vanilla vodka makes this really delicious, and I agree with the person who said to skip the simple syrup. It's sweet enough without it.

Cole M

try vanilla vodka instead

Susan Malcik

This recalls a spectacular warm coffee-brandy drink made table side for me in 1976 which has been on my mind a lot lately.As I remember, large brandy snifters were dipped in brandy or cognac and rimmed in sugar. They was lit and the sugar melted. Coffee and brandy were poured into the snifters, probably with sugar added and then topped with cream. Perhaps orange or lemon peels were involved.


Ditch the vodka and deepen the flavors of your espresso martini with Cognac:2oz Remy cognac1oz espresso 0.5oz coffee liqueur Splash of creamer (optional)

Antoinette Mongelli

This is a great holiday drink, but I make it differently using Galliano Ristretto and Meletti Cioccolato. 2 oz vodka1/2 oz coffee liqueur (Galliano Ristretto Caffè Espresso Liqueur)1/2 oz chocolate liqueur (Meletti Cioccolato)2 dashes of Aztec Chocolate Bitters2 dashes Orange BittersGarnish: coffee beansAdd ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled co*cktail glass. Garnish with coffee beans or a tiny scoop of chocolate gelato.


Instead of Kahlua, we have used Godiva white chocolate liqueur. If Godiva brand is unavailable where you live, Mozart is another brand that is just as good. We don't use the simple syrup, and the liqueur provides froth when shaken.


I really liked the Godiva white chocolate liquor but after googling it, I find they no longer make it. Have you been able to buy it lately?

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Espresso Martini Recipe (2024)


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