What is Espresso Martini Cocktail and How to Make it

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Johny Morrisson

The Espresso Martini is a classic coffee based cocktail that seamlessly merges the intensity of espresso with the smoothness of vodka and the subtle sweetness of the coffee liqueur like Kahlua.

In terms of alcohol, the traditional recipe typically includes approximately two ounces of vodka (40% alcohol) and half an ounce of Kahlúa (20% alcohol).

The alcohol content in an espresso martini is similar to that of a generous serving of wine and is generally lower than in other Martini cocktails

Espresso Martini

In this article, I’ll share the secrets of crafting this tantalizing beverage, providing you with tips and a step-by-step recipe to create your own signature Espresso Martini. So, let’s embrace the art of mixology and indulge in the flavors that bring together the worlds of coffee and cocktails.

How to make Espresso Martini

Here’s how you can make Espresso Martini at home

The Ingredients for Espresso Martini

To prepare the perfect Espresso Martini, you will need a handful of simple yet essential components. Here’s a list of the main ingredients in an Espresso Martini:

1. Espresso Coffee

Freshly brewed espresso forms the foundation of this cocktail. Traditionally Espresso Martini is prepared with a single shot (1 oz) Espresso.

Medium to dark roast beans are commonly used for Espresso Martinis. These roasts tend to have richer, bolder flavors that pair well with the intensity of the cocktail.

Espresso coffee

2. Vodka

A smooth, premium vodka is a key component of Espresso Martini. It adds a subtle strength that complements the richness of the coffee.

Some popular vodka brands that are commonly used in Espresso Martinis include Absolut, Grey Goose, Ketel One, Stolichnaya (Stoli), and Belvedere.


3. Coffee Liqueur

Coffee liqueurs, such as Kahlúa or Tia Maria, are typically used in Espresso Martini which adds a touch of sweetness and improves the coffee flavors.

The Coffee Liqueurs are made with a blend of rum, coffee beans, and vanilla which gives smooth and sweet flavors to the Martini drink.

Kahlua Coffee Liqueur

4. Simple Syrup

Simple Syrup helps to balance the bitterness of the coffee and adds a touch of sweetness.

You can buy simple syrup from grocery stores or make it at home by dissolving equal parts of sugar and water over low heat until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Prepare Espresso: Start by brewing a shot of espresso using freshly ground coffee beans. Use 7-9 grams of coffee grounds for a 1 oz shot of Espresso. Allow the espresso to cool to room temperature. You can put Espresso in a refrigerator for 20 seconds for quick cooling.

2. Gather ingredients: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, cooled Espresso shot (30 mL), Vodka (60 mL), coffee liqueur (30 mL), and simple syrup (15 mL).

3. Shake the mixture: Securely close the shaker and shake vigorously for about 15-30 seconds. This will blend the flavors and create a frothy texture.

4. Add to Cocktail glass: Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass, to remove any ice chips or grounds.

5. Garnish: For an added touch of elegance, garnish with a few coffee beans or a dusting of cocoa powder.

Check out a list of 30 different types of Espresso drinks

Some Tips to Make a Better Espresso Martini

Here are some expert tips to enhance your Espresso Martini experience

1. Use Creme De Cacao

Try using Creme de Cacao in an Espresso Martini instead of simple syrup to add a chocolatey twist.

As a Chocolate lover, I always prefer Creme de Cacao as it adds sweetness and a pronounced chocolate note to the Espresso Martini.

2. Adjust the Ratios to your taste

Find the perfect balance for your palate by adjusting the proportions of vodka, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup. Increase or decrease the sweetness or strength of the drink based on your personal preferences.

While the traditional recipe calls for a single shot of Espresso (1 oz), I like to prepare it with a double shot of Espresso (2 oz).

3. Allow the Espresso to Cool

Prepare your espresso ahead of time and allow it to cool naturally. If you want to cool it quickly pour it into a wide bowl for 5-10 minutes and then place it in the freezer for a few minutes.

Using Hot Espresso shots is never recommended for the Recipe as:

  • It can cause the ice to melt rapidly and dilute the drink.
  • It would raise the temperature of the drink and will not provide the desired cooling effect expected from Cocktails.

4. Garnish the Drink

Here are a few ideas to Garnish Espresso Martini

  • Traditionally, Espresso Martinis are garnished with three coffee beans placed on top of the foam.
  • You can Sprinkle a pinch of cocoa powder or chocolate shavings on top of the foam to add a decorative element and rich chocolaty aroma to the drink.
  • You can add a twist of citrus lemon peel, as a garnish. This provides a citrusy fragrance that can complement the flavors of the drink.
Garnish Espresso Martini

5. Make the Perfect Foam

Foam adds an aesthetically pleasing element and contributes to the overall texture and mouthfeel of the cocktail. Here’s a tip to make the perfect foam:

First, Shake all cocktail ingredients vigorously for 15 to 20 seconds without adding ice. Then, add ice to the shaker and shake again to chill. This will incorporate air into the mixture and create a rich foam.

Foamy Espresso Martini

History of Espresso Martini

In the world of cocktails, the Espresso Martini has a relatively brief history, tracing back to the early 1980s when London bartender Dick Bradsel is credited with its invention.

As the legend goes, Dick was at the Soho Brasserie when a famous model strolled into the bar and requested a drink that would “wake her up.” To impress the Model, Dick created this unique cocktail by combining coffee and vodka flavors. 

The original recipe included vodka, simple sugar syrup, two types of coffee liqueur, and freshly brewed espresso, resulting in a drink that offered both a caffeine boost and a delightful alcoholic kick.

To encapsulate the essence of this revitalizing creation, Dick chose to name it the Espresso Martini, paying homage to the classic martini glass in which it was served. Later, during his tenure at the Pharmacy Bar in Notting Hill, Dick decided to rebrand the cocktail as the Pharmaceutical Stimulant in 1998. 

Espresso Martini Drink

Check out Espresso Corretto another Alcoholic Espresso drink

How does Espresso Martini Taste?

An Espresso Martini has a rich and intoxicating flavor profile. The intense espresso provides a strong coffee taste, while the vodka adds a subtle warmth. The coffee liqueur adds sweetness and a hint of bitterness, resulting in a well-balanced and smooth experience. 

You can personalize your drink by exploring different coffee liqueurs and flavored vodkas, adding complexity and richness. For those with a sweet tooth, chocolate liqueur or caramel syrup can elevate the indulgence, while chili-infused vodka can bring a tantalizing heat. 

Final Thoughts

The Espresso Martini is a remarkable fusion of two beloved worlds: coffee and alcohol. Its origins, rooted in the creativity of a skilled bartender, have paved the way for a timeless classic. 

With the tips, recipes, and knowledge you’ve gained, you have all the tools to create a remarkable cocktail that will leave a lasting impression on your palate and your guests. 

Check out other Delicious Espresso Drinks:


Are espresso martinis healthy?

Espresso martinis, like any alcoholic beverage, should be consumed in moderation.
The coffee component of the drink may contain some antioxidants and caffeine, but it isn’t a very healthy drink and shouldn’t be consumed on a regular basis.

Do espresso martinis get you drunk?

You can become a little intoxicated by Espresso Martinis, just as you can with any other alcoholic cocktails.
The combination of vodka and espresso provides a potent mix and the level of intoxication experienced depends on several factors, including the individual’s tolerance to alcohol.

how much alcohol is in espresso martini?

A standard recipe for an Espresso Martini usually includes around 2 ounces (45-60 ml) of vodka and 1 ounce of (30 mL) Coffee liqueur.
A typical vodka has 40% alcohol by volume, while a coffee liqueur has 15-25% alcohol by volume.

Do Espresso Martinis have a lot of caffeine?

Yes, espresso martinis can contain a lot of caffeine since they are made with espresso shots. A single shot of espresso has about 60-72 mg of caffeine. A double-shot espresso martini would have around 120-133 mg of caffeine. The coffee liqueur also contributes additional caffeine.

Espresso Martini Recipe

Here's a original recipe for Espresso Martini
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Author: Johny Morrisson


  • Espresso machine
  • Cocktail Shaker


  • 1 oz Single Espresso Shot
  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Coffee Liqueur (Kahula)
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • Ice Cubes


  • Begin by brewing a shot of espresso using freshly ground coffee beans. Allow the espresso to cool to room temperature.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, cooled Espresso shot (30 mL), Vodka (60 mL), coffee liqueur (30 mL), and simple syrup (15 mL).
  • Shake the mixture vigorously for about 15-30 seconds. This will blend the flavors and create a frothy texture.
  • Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a few coffee beans or a dusting of cocoa powder.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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