espresso martini recipe

Espresso Martini Recipes

The Espresso Martini

The Espresso Martini is a modern classic in the world of cocktails, beloved for its rich, bold flavor and sophisticated presentation. This invigorating drink, a delightful blend of coffee and vodka, is perfect for coffee lovers looking for a little kick in their cocktail. The espresso martini drink has become a staple in cocktail bars and restaurants around the globe, known for its smooth texture, striking appearance, and the perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness.
recipe for an espresso martini


The espresso martini recipe was created in the 1980s by renowned British bartender Dick Bradsell. Legend has it that a young model entered Fred’s Club in London and asked Bradsell for a drink that would “wake me up, and then f*** me up.” With that unconventional request, Bradsell concocted a new drink using vodka, freshly brewed espresso, coffee liqueur, and a touch of sugar syrup. This creation quickly gained popularity and became known as the espresso martini.
Initially, this recipe for an espresso martini was not intended to be a martini in the traditional sense, as it lacked the classic ingredients of gin and vermouth.
However, it was served in a martini glass, leading to its name. Over the years, the espresso martini has evolved, with bartenders adding their own twists and variations, but the core ingredients remain the same. The drink’s enduring appeal lies in its unique combination of flavors and the perfect harmony between the robust espresso and the smooth vodka.

Espresso Martini Ingredients

Crafting the perfect espresso martini requires a precise selection of ingredients. Each component plays a crucial role in achieving the drink's signature flavor and texture. Here's what you'll need to make the classic espresso martini drink:

Ingredients of an Espresso Martini:

  • Freshly Brewed Espresso: 1 shot (about 30 ml). The heart of the espresso martini, freshly brewed espresso provides the robust coffee flavor essential to this drink. Using high-quality coffee beans is key to achieving a rich and aromatic base.
  • Vodka: 45 ml. A smooth, clean vodka works best for this cocktail, allowing the coffee flavors to shine without overpowering the drink.
  • Coffee Liqueur: 30 ml. Common choices include Kahlúa or Tia Maria, which add sweetness and depth to the cocktail, enhancing the coffee notes.
  • Simple Syrup: 15 ml. This ingredient balances the bitterness of the espresso and the alcohol, providing a touch of sweetness. Adjust the amount to taste, depending on your preference for sweetness.
  • Ice Cubes: As needed. Used to chill and dilute the drink slightly, ensuring a refreshing finish.
Optional garnish:
  • Coffee Beans: 3 whole beans. Traditionally used to garnish the drink, three coffee beans represent health, wealth, and happiness.
The espresso martini ingredients are carefully chosen to create a harmonious blend of flavors. Each sip offers a delightful combination of bitter, sweet, and smooth, making this cocktail a favorite among many.


Creating the perfect coffee martini is a straightforward process that requires a few simple steps. Follow these instructions to ensure a well-balanced and delicious cocktail:
  1. Prepare the Espresso:
    • Start by brewing a fresh shot of espresso using your preferred method. Whether using an espresso machine, a stovetop Moka pot, or an Aeropress, ensure the coffee is freshly brewed and hot. High-quality coffee beans will make a significant difference in the final taste.
  2. Chill the Glass:
    • Place your martini glass in the freezer for a few minutes to chill. This step helps keep the cocktail cold and adds a touch of elegance to your presentation.
  3. Combine the Ingredients:
    • Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add the freshly brewed espresso, vodka, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup to the shaker. Adjust the amount of simple syrup to taste, depending on how sweet you prefer your cocktail.
  4. Shake Vigorously:
    • Secure the lid on the shaker and shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds. This step is crucial for achieving the cocktail’s signature frothy top. The vigorous shaking helps to mix the ingredients thoroughly and incorporate air into the drink.
  5. Strain into the Glass:
    • Remove the martini glass from the freezer and strain the cocktail mixture into the glass using a fine mesh strainer. This step ensures a smooth drink without any ice shards.
  6. Garnish and Serve:
    • Garnish your espresso martini with three coffee beans placed on top of the frothy layer. This traditional garnish symbolizes health, wealth, and happiness. Serve immediately and enjoy!


Preparing an espresso martini is all about getting the details right. From the quality of the coffee to the precision of the shaking, each step contributes to the final experience. Here’s a deeper dive into the preparation process:
  1. Choosing the Coffee:
    • The type of coffee beans you use can significantly impact the flavor of your espresso martini drink. Opt for high-quality, freshly ground beans with a rich, full-bodied flavor. A medium to dark roast works best for this cocktail, providing the depth and intensity needed to complement the vodka and coffee liqueur.
  2. Making the Simple Syrup:
    • Simple syrup is easy to make at home. Combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves completely. Let it cool before using. This syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
  3. Chilling the Ingredients:
    • Ensure all the ingredients, especially the vodka and coffee liqueur, are well-chilled before making the cocktail. This helps maintain the drink’s temperature and prevents excessive dilution from the ice.
  4. Shaking Technique:
    • When shaking the cocktail, use firm, vigorous movements to incorporate air and create the frothy top. The froth is a key characteristic of a well-made espresso martini and adds to the drink's visual appeal.
  5. Garnishing:
    • The final touch is the garnish. Placing three coffee beans on top of the froth not only adds to the aesthetic but also pays homage to the cocktail’s heritage. It’s a simple yet elegant detail that enhances the overall experience.
espresso martini drink

Cocktail Mixing Ingredients

Mixing the perfect espresso martini requires attention to detail and a good understanding of the ingredients. Here’s an in-depth look at the components and their roles in this cocktail:


  • Role: Vodka serves as the base spirit in the espresso martini drink, providing a neutral and smooth alcohol backbone that allows the coffee flavors to shine.
  • Selection Tips: Choose a high-quality vodka with a clean, crisp taste. Premium vodkas often have a smoother finish and less burn, which complements the espresso's bold flavors.

Freshly Brewed Espresso

  • Role: The espresso is the star of the espresso martini. It imparts a rich, robust coffee flavor that defines the drink.
  • Selection Tips: Use freshly brewed espresso made from high-quality coffee beans. A dark roast with chocolate and caramel notes works particularly well, enhancing the cocktail’s depth and complexity.

Coffee Liqueur

  • Role: Coffee liqueur adds sweetness and depth to the espresso martini. It enhances the coffee flavor and provides a syrupy texture that balances the vodka's sharpness.
  • Selection Tips: Popular choices include Kahlúa and Tia Maria, both of which offer a rich, sweet coffee taste. Experiment with different brands to find the one that suits your palate best.

Simple Syrup

  • Role: Simple syrup sweetens the cocktail and balances the bitterness of the espresso and the alcohol's intensity.
  • Selection Tips: Make your own simple syrup at home by dissolving equal parts sugar and water. This allows you to control the sweetness and ensure a fresh, clean taste.

Ice Cubes

  • Role: Ice cubes are essential for chilling and slightly diluting the cocktail, ensuring a refreshing and balanced drink.
  • Selection Tips: Use large, clear ice cubes to minimize dilution while effectively chilling the drink. Smaller or crushed ice can over-dilute the cocktail, impacting its flavor.

Optional Garnish: Coffee Beans

  • Role: Garnishing with three coffee beans is a traditional touch that adds visual appeal and a subtle aroma.
  • Selection Tips: Use whole, unblemished coffee beans for the best presentation. The garnish is more about aesthetics and tradition than altering the drink's flavor.
By understanding the roles and selection tips for each ingredient, you can craft an espresso martini that is perfectly balanced and full of rich, complementary flavors. The careful combination of these components results in a cocktail that is both sophisticated and invigorating.

Ways To Serve Espresso Martini

The espresso martini is a versatile cocktail that can be served in various ways to suit different occasions and personal preferences. Here are some creative and traditional methods to present and enjoy this delightful drink:

Classic Presentation

  • Martini Glass: The most common and elegant way to serve an espresso martini is in a chilled martini glass. The sleek design of the glass enhances the visual appeal of the cocktail, showcasing its rich color and frothy top.
  • Garnish: As a nod to tradition, garnish the drink with three coffee beans arranged on the froth. This simple yet sophisticated touch adds to the cocktail’s allure.

Dessert Pairing

  • Espresso Martini Affogato: Combine the indulgence of an espresso martini with the creamy delight of an affogato. Serve a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a dessert glass and pour the espresso martini over it. This dessert version is perfect for dinner parties or special occasions.
  • Chocolate Rim: Rim the edge of the martini glass with chocolate syrup or finely grated chocolate. This enhances the drink’s flavor and adds a touch of decadence.

Innovative Twists

  • Espresso Martini Float: Add a splash of cream or a dollop of whipped cream on top of the cocktail. This creates a layered effect and a creamy texture that contrasts with the robust coffee flavors.
  • Spiced Espresso Martini: Infuse the cocktail with warm spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. Shake a pinch of your chosen spice with the ingredients to add a new dimension to the drink.

Seasonal Variations

  • Winter Warmer: Serve the espresso martini warm by heating the espresso and mixing it with the other ingredients. This cozy version is perfect for cold winter nights.
  • Iced Espresso Martini: For a refreshing summer treat, blend the ingredients with ice to create a frozen espresso martini. Serve in a chilled glass with a straw for a cool and invigorating drink.

Party-Ready Options

  • Batch Preparation: For larger gatherings, prepare a batch of espresso martinis in advance. Mix the ingredients (excluding the ice) in a large pitcher and store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, shake individual portions with ice and strain into chilled glasses.
  • Espresso Martini Shots: Serve mini versions of the cocktail in shot glasses for a fun and interactive party option. These can be a great addition to cocktail parties or special celebrations.

Pairing with Foods

  • Sweet Treats: Pair your espresso martini with desserts like tiramisu, chocolate truffles, or biscotti. The coffee flavors complement these sweet treats beautifully.
  • Savory Bites: Balance the drink’s sweetness with savory appetizers like cheese platters, charcuterie, or salted nuts. The contrasting flavors enhance the overall tasting experience.
By exploring these various serving methods, you can elevate the espresso martini and tailor it to different events and preferences. Whether enjoyed in its classic form or with a creative twist, the espresso martini is sure to impress and delight.
coffee martini


Creating the perfect espresso martini involves more than just following a recipe; it's about understanding the nuances and finer details that can elevate the drink to new heights. Here are some additional notes to help you master this iconic cocktail:

Espresso Quality

  • Freshness is Key: Always use freshly brewed espresso for the best flavor. Stale or reheated coffee will significantly impact the quality of your espresso martini drink.
  • Grind Size: The grind size of your coffee beans should match your brewing method. A finer grind is ideal for espresso machines, while a slightly coarser grind works for stovetop Moka pots.

Shaking Technique

  • Proper Shaking: Shake the cocktail vigorously for at least 15-20 seconds. This not only chills the drink but also helps to create the characteristic frothy top that is essential for an espresso martini.
  • Ice Quality: Use fresh, clean ice cubes. Ice that has been sitting in the freezer for too long can absorb odors, which can affect the taste of your cocktail.

Adjusting Sweetness

  • Simple Syrup Adjustments: The amount of simple syrup can be adjusted based on personal preference. Start with the recommended 15 ml and add more if you prefer a sweeter cocktail.
  • Alternative Sweeteners: Experiment with other sweeteners like agave syrup or honey for a different flavor profile. Ensure they are fully dissolved in the mixture to avoid any graininess.

Presentation Tips

  • Chilled Glassware: Serving the espresso martini in a chilled glass helps maintain its temperature and enhances the drinking experience.
  • Garnish Options: While three coffee beans are traditional, you can also experiment with other garnishes like a twist of citrus peel, a sprinkle of cocoa powder, or even a dash of cinnamon.

Flavor Enhancements

  • Vanilla Vodka: For a twist on the classic recipe, try using vanilla-flavored vodka. It adds a subtle sweetness and depth to the cocktail.
  • Additional Liqueurs: Consider adding a splash of other liqueurs like hazelnut (Frangelico) or Irish cream (Baileys) to introduce new flavor dimensions.

Serving Suggestions

  • Temperature Control: Serve the cocktail immediately after shaking to ensure it is perfectly chilled and frothy. Delays can cause the froth to settle and the drink to warm up.
  • Seasonal Variations: Adapt the cocktail to the season by adding seasonal flavors. For example, a touch of pumpkin spice for autumn or a hint of mint for the winter holidays.
By paying attention to these notes and tips, you can refine your recipe for an espresso martini and impress your guests with a perfectly crafted cocktail every time. The espresso martini is a drink that thrives on balance and precision, so take the time to perfect your technique and ingredients.

Espresso Martini Nutrition Information

Understanding the nutritional content of your espresso martini drink can help you make informed choices about enjoying this delicious cocktail. Here’s a breakdown of the typical nutrition information for a standard serving of an espresso martini:

Standard Serving Size

  • Volume: 1 serving (approximately 150 ml)

Nutritional Breakdown

  • Calories: 210-230 kcal
    • The calorie content can vary depending on the specific ingredients used, particularly the type and amount of simple syrup or coffee liqueur.
  • Alcohol Content: Approximately 20-25% ABV (Alcohol By Volume)
    • The alcohol content is influenced by the type and amount of vodka and coffee liqueur used in the recipe.
  • Carbohydrates: 12-16 grams
    • Most of the carbohydrates come from the simple syrup and the coffee liqueur. Adjusting the amount of simple syrup can change the carbohydrate content.
  • Sugars: 11-15 grams
    • This is a subset of the total carbohydrates and is primarily derived from the simple syrup and any sweeteners in the coffee liqueur.
  • Fat: 0 grams
    • The espresso martini is typically fat-free unless additional ingredients like cream or flavored liqueurs are added.
  • Protein: 0 grams
    • There is usually no protein content in a standard espresso martini.
  • Caffeine: Approximately 60-80 mg
    • The caffeine content comes from the freshly brewed espresso. This amount can vary based on the type and amount of coffee used.

Ingredient-Specific Information

  • Vodka: Provides the alcoholic base without adding any significant calories from fat or sugar.
  • Coffee Liqueur: Adds both alcohol and sugar content to the cocktail, contributing to the overall calorie count.
  • Simple Syrup: Adds sweetness and calories from sugar. The amount used can be adjusted to control the sweetness and calorie content of the drink.
  • Espresso: Contributes caffeine and a small number of calories, primarily from the natural sugars in the coffee beans.

Health Considerations

  • Moderation: Due to its alcohol and sugar content, it's best to enjoy espresso martinis in moderation. Excessive consumption can lead to increased calorie intake and potential negative health effects.
  • Caffeine Sensitivity: Individuals sensitive to caffeine should be mindful of the espresso content. The caffeine in the drink can have stimulating effects and may interfere with sleep if consumed later in the evening.
  • Caloric Balance: When enjoying an espresso martini as part of a balanced diet, consider the cocktail's calorie content within your overall daily intake. Pairing it with lower-calorie food options can help maintain nutritional balance.
The Espresso Martini is a modern classic that seamlessly blends the bold flavors of coffee with the smoothness of vodka, creating a sophisticated and invigorating cocktail. Whether you're looking to impress guests at a dinner party or simply enjoy a refined evening drink, the Espresso Martini offers a perfect balance of bitter, sweet, and smooth notes. By carefully selecting high-quality ingredients and mastering the shaking technique, you can craft an Espresso Martini that is both visually appealing and delightfully flavorful. Enjoy this exquisite cocktail as a luxurious treat, and experience the perfect harmony of coffee and spirits in every sip.
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