The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (2024)

The espresso martini is a classic co*cktail that’s been around since the mid-1980s and is still popular today.

It was invented by legendary London bartender Dick Bradsell, who named it the “Vodka Espresso.”

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Quest for the Best Espresso Martini

The basic espresso martini recipe is made with vodka, espresso, and a coffee liqueur, mixed with ice, and strained into a martini glass. It is a smooth and creamy drink with a kick of caffeine and a hint of sweetness.

But just as James Bond likes his martini shaken and not stirred, you might like espresso martini stronger, with more caffeine, or sweetened with chocolate. So, the perfect recipe is different for everyone. No worries, though, as we’ve got you covered with five of the best ways to make espresso martinis and a few little surprises – like homemade Kahlua!

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Our Picks for the 5 Best Espresso Martini Recipes

  • Traditional, but with bitters
  • Elevated with espresso-infused vodka
  • No espresso machine required
  • A chocolatey twist
  • No vodka
  • Homemade Kahlua
  • Espresso vodka
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The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (4)

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Just a touch of bitter

The first recipe is pretty straightforward but with a different flavor profile, thanks to a dash of angostura bitters.

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Espresso Martini – with bitters

Spillin’ the Beans

A relatively traditional take on the espresso martini with bitters that offset some of the sweetness

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Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Cook Time 5 minutes mins

Total Time 5 minutes mins

Cuisine Beverages

Servings 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces espresso (freshly brewed)
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • 1/8 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon confectioners sugar (optional)

Instructions

  • Combine the espresso, vodka, Kahlua, simple syrup, and angostura bitters in a co*cktail shaker

  • Add ice, and shake for 30 seconds or so

  • Pour the mixture into a martini glass (or 2!)

  • Combine the heavy cream and sugar in a cup and use a milk frother to add some thickness (but not as thick as whipped cream)

  • Dollop the thickened cream on top and add a few espresso beans for the perfect presentation

Notes

  • To make simple syrup, boil equal parts of sugar and water together for a few minutes
  • If you’re using homemade Kahlua, you might omit the simple syrup as it tends to be sweeter than typical Kahlua

Keyword coffee drinks, espresso, espresso martini

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3 Ways to Make Espresso

  • Nespresso
  • Moka pot
  • AeroPress
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The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (11)
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A double shot with espresso-infused vodka and crema

You can buy a bottle of espresso-infused vodka. But if you’ve got an extra 24 hours before co*cktail time, you can make your own. We’ve got a super-simple recipe at the bottom of this post.

The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (13)

Espresso Martini – with espresso-infused vodka and crema

Spillin’ the Beans

An espresso martini with an extra caffeine kick from espresso-infused vodka

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Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Cook Time 5 minutes mins

Cuisine Beverages

Servings 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1.5 ounces espresso-infused vodka
  • 1 ounce freshly brewed espresso
  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a co*cktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes – if you don't have a co*cktail shaker, you can use a mason jar or other jar with a tight lid

  • Shake well 20 to 30 seconds

  • Pour into a martini glass and add an extra dash of simple syrup if you like a sweeter drink

  • To create a thick crema on top, you can use a cold brew coffee concentrate, an aerolatte device, or a milk frother to gentle foam the top layer of the beverage before pouring into the glass.

Notes

If you’re using cold brew concentrate, place a few drops of it on one side of the glass than slowly fill the glass with the martini.

Keyword coffee co*cktails, coffee drinks, espresso, espresso martini

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Espresso Martini with no brewing required

Instead of pulling shots of hot espresso, you can use espresso powder or premade cold brew for this recipe.

The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (18)

Espresso Martini – with instant espresso powder

Spillin’ the Beans

An espresso martini made with instant espresso powder instead of a shot of espresso

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Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Cook Time 5 minutes mins

Cuisine Beverages

Servings 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (or 1 ounce of premade cold brew)
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup

Instructions

  • Fill a co*cktail shaker halfway with ice cubes

  • Add all four ingredients (use more simple syrup if you like a sweeter co*cktail)

  • Shake for 15-30 seconds

  • Place a strainer over a chilled martini glass and pour the liquid through the strainer

  • Garnish with a few coffee beans

Notes

Note: If you don’t like the idea of using espresso powder but want an alternative to brewed espresso, you can use premade cold-brewed coffee

Keyword coffee co*cktails, coffee drinks, espresso, espresso martini

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The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (20)

Adding chocolatey goodness

The 3 c’s – coffee, chocolate, and cream make this recipe a real winner. If you drink mochas, you’ll love this one.

The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (22)

Espresso Martini – with chocolate and whipped cream

Spillin’ the Beans

A chocolatey version of the coffee co*cktail using chocolate liqueur and additional garnishes

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Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 8 minutes mins

Cuisine Beverages

Ingredients

  • 2 shots freshly brewed espresso
  • 1 ounce chocolate liqueur
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or simple syrup (divided)
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1/8 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • Make the whipped cream first by combining 1 teaspoon of the sugar and the heavy cream

  • Use a handheld mixer, whisk, or milk frother to whip the cream, and set aside.

  • Combine the espresso, vodka, chocolate liqueur, and sugar or simple syrup in a co*cktail shaker with ice

  • Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds

  • Divide the mixture between 2 martini glasses (pouring through a strainer to keep the ice out of the glass)

  • Add a dollop of your homemade whipped cream and some chocolate shavings to garnish

Notes

You can take this drink to the next level by dipping your martini glass into melted dark chocolate and then sprinkling with a little cocoa powder before adding the beverage.

Keyword coffee co*cktails, coffee drinks, espresso, espresso martini

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The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (24)
The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (25)

No vodka? No problem!

Of the five best espresso martini recipes, this is the most unusual. It replaces vodka with dark rum and amaretto liqueur for an entire different taste sensation!

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Espresso Martini – no vodka

Spillin’ the Beans

Instead of a traditional espresso martini with vodka, this recipe uses dark rum and amaretto liqueur

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Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Cook Time 5 minutes mins

Cuisine Beverages

Servings 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces freshly brewed espresso
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • 1/2 ounce Kahlua (or other coffee liqueur)
  • 1/4 ounce amaretto liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar or simple syrup (optional)

Instructions

  • Brew your double shot of fresh espresso (or other strongly brewed coffee) and add to a shaker

  • Fill the shake halfway up with ice cubes

  • Add the dark rum, Kahlua, and amaretto to the shaker

  • Shake well – 20 to 30 seconds

  • Strain the mixture into a martini glass

  • Spoon the heavy cream on top and swirl into the beverage

  • For a slightly sweeter drink, add simple syrup or sugar on top – or use a sugar-rimmed glass

Keyword coffee co*cktails, coffee drinks, espresso, espresso martini

The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (27)

Up Your co*cktail Game

Not only do we have five of the best recipes for espresso martinis, but you can elevate your mixology skills with homemade espresso-infused vodka and homemade Kahlua.

The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (28)

Homemade Kahlua

Spillin’ the Beans

A recipe from 1993 that's still timeless using vodka and espresso powder for homemade Kahlua

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon Hershey's chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 cup instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 2 cups vodka

Instructions

  • Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil

  • Then, add vanilla, Hershey's syrup, and coffee granules

  • Simmer on low for a few minutes

  • Let the mixture cool

  • Add the vodka, stir, and pour into a serving container (a mason jar is ideal)

Notes

This recipe is easy to tweak to taste. Some recipes use far less sugar and water, so you could reduce them to 2 or 3 cups for a less sweet version.

The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (29)
The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (30)

Espresso-infused vodka

Spillin’ the Beans

In just 24 hours, you can have a delicious espresso-infused vodka that elevates coffee co*cktails, like the espresso martini

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Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Cook Time 1 day d

Cuisine Beverages

Equipment

  • 1 large mason jar or similar container with a lid

Ingredients

  • high-proof vodka (125 to 190 proof)
  • freshly brewed espresso

Instructions

  • Fill your mason jar about 3/4 of the way up with vodka

  • Add two to four ounces of freshly brewed espresso, depending on how strong you prefer

  • Cover the jar and store in a dark, cool location for 24 hours or more to give the espresso time to infuse the vodka

  • If any espresso grounds remain, strain the liquid

  • Optional: you can further enhance the flavor by adding cocoa powder or flavored syrups like vanilla for added complexity

  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two months (but it won't last hat long!)

Keyword coffee co*cktails, espresso, espresso martini

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The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (32)
The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (33)

Elevating the Espresso Martini

To switch things up with your espresso martinis, you can choose different types of alcohols. For example, use whiskey or rum instead of vodka, as we provided in one of our best espresso martini recipes. For extra fun, try experimenting with different liqueurs such as Baileys Irish Cream or Amaretto Disaronno, which both pair nicely with espresso flavors. Just remember to adjust your measurements accordingly since these liqueurs are much stronger than vodka.

Another way to change the flavor profile is to add different mixers such as cream or almond milk. To add some extra sweetness, you could also use flavored syrups like hazelnut or cinnamon instead of simple syrup or Kahlua. They’ll create interesting flavor combinations, but won’t be for everyone.

Lastly, don’t forget that finishing touches like a sprinkle of cocoa powder, coffee beans, chocolate curls, cinnamon sticks, or dark chocolate swirls. Espresso martinis will let your inner barista, mixologist, and designer shine!

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The Perfect Espresso Martini - 5 Recipes to Make (2024)
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