The espresso martini is experiencing a renaissance as of late. The new classic is popping up in bars everywhere, and for good reason. They're simple, rich, and incredibly delicious.
This cocktail is perfect as a nightcap (especially if you make it decaf). I love serving them after dinner to guests at a party.
Espresso martinis are rich, strong, smooth, and perfect. Plus, they take about 4 ingredients, and come together incredibly quickly.
Why You're Going to Love this Recipe
- It's the perfect balance of rich and sweet between the espresso and the sweeter coffee liqueur.
- It's a great pick-me-up after a long day.
- Honestly, it's such a crowd-pleaser. Everyone loves it.
- It's so quick and easy! Especially if you make it with cold brew instead of espresso - that's a great shortcut.
- Having the girls over for brunch? THIS IS THE PERFECT COCKTAIL. Especially if you're tired of mimosas!
What is an Espresso Martini?
It's a delicious mix of espresso, vodka, and a little bit of liqueur like Kahlua or Bailey's. It's smooth, strong, and has a little bit of sweetness to it. It's the perfect end to a dinner party or a great way to start a night out.
History and Origins
The origins are not super clear-cut, but it was probably created in the 1980s. It's said that the bartender Dick Bradsell, who was working at a London bar called Fred's Club, was the one who created this cocktail.
The story goes that a model came into the bar asking for a drink that would "wake her up and f*ck her up," (lolllllllzzzzzz amazing) so he combined vodka, espresso and a touch of Kahlua. And thus, the Espresso Martini was born! It's become a classic drink in its own right, and it's a favorite among many people.
Frequently Asked Questions
The key to the frothiness of an espresso martini is the espresso itself. As long as you spend a solid 30-45 seconds shaking the cocktail over ice, it should come out with a nice layer of froth on top!
As the name implies, the espresso martini has a strong coffee flavor, but with a hint of sweetness. It's both bold and easy-drinking at the same time.
It certainly has the potential to. Many recipes have a full shot of espresso in them, so that will definitely keep you up. You can use decaf espresso though!
What Vodka Should I Use?
When making an espresso martini, you want to use good-quality vodka. Some of my favorites are Grey Goose, and Ketel One. They're all smooth and have a nice clean taste that won't overpower the espresso.
If you want to get a little fancy, you can try using a flavored vodka like vanilla or caramel. It'll add an extra layer of flavor to your drink. Just make sure you use a vodka that you enjoy drinking on its own, so you can really taste the difference in your espresso martini.
The ingredient list is pretty simple!
Espresso: The espresso is the star of the show in this cocktail; it gives it that strong coffee flavor and a little bit of bitterness that makes it unique. It's important to use fresh and well-brewed espresso, so the drink will have a nice balance of flavors. Note: you can also swap this for cold brew, but you won't get the same level of froth at the end.
Vodka: It's the alcohol base of the drink, and it provides the kick, but it also helps to balance the flavors. It's important to use a good quality vodka that you like drinking on its own, so you can really taste the difference in your espresso martini.
Coffee Liqueur: It's an optional ingredient but adds a nice sweetness to the drink. It helps to balance the bitterness of the espresso and gives the drink a nice creamy texture. It also brings a subtle vanilla or caramel flavor that complements the espresso perfectly.
Simple Syrup: this is completely optional, but if you're craving a bit more sweetness, this is the way to go. It can also be a great way to add some flavor to the drink (vanilla or caramel would be amazing).
Coffee Beans: These are just for garnish, but they bring a nice aroma to the drink and add a touch of elegance.
How to Make an Espresso Martini
Let's do this, step-by-step!
Fill a shaker with ice.
Add the vodka, espresso, and Kahlua or Bailey's (if using) to the shaker.
Shake well for about 15 seconds until chilled.
Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with a few coffee beans.
Enjoy your delicious Espresso Martini.
You can adjust the amount of ingredients to your liking; some people like more espresso or less liqueur. The important thing is to use fresh and cold ingredients, that way, and the drink will be chilled and smooth.
Batching and Making Ahead
- 1 bottle (750ml) of vodka
- 1 cup of freshly brewed espresso
- 1 cup of Kahlua or Bailey's (optional)
- 1 cup of simple syrup (optional)
- Coffee beans for garnish
- Make the espresso in advance and let it cool to room temperature.
- In a large pitcher or a cocktail dispenser, combine the vodka, cooled espresso, Kahlua or Bailey's, and simple syrup (if using).
- Stir well to combine the ingredients.
- Cover the pitcher or dispenser with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, pour the mixture into chilled martini glasses and garnish with coffee beans.
You can make the batch ahead of time; it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. This way, you can have your guests enjoy the drinks without having to worry about making them one by one.
Remember that you can adjust the ingredients for the batch to your liking; some people like more espresso or less liqueur. The important thing is to use fresh and cold ingredients and that the batch is chilled before you serve it.
Tips & Tricks
Use fresh and well-cursed espresso: The espresso is the star of the show, so make sure to use fresh and well-cursed espresso. It should be hot and strong, so the drink will have a nice balance of flavors. This is also key to getting that froth on top!
Use good quality vodka: Vodka is the alcohol base of the drink, so it's important to use a good quality vodka that you like drinking on its own. This will ensure that the vodka won't overpower the espresso.
Chill the ingredients: Before making the drink, make sure to chill the vodka, espresso, and liqueur (if using) in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will help to keep the drink cold and smooth.
Shake it well: Once you've added all the ingredients to the shaker, shake it well for about 15 seconds. This will help to blend the flavors and make sure the drink is chilled.
Serve it in a chilled glass: Before serving, make sure to chill the martini glass in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. This will help to keep the drink cold and give it that nice frosty look.
Garnish with coffee beans: Finally, don't forget to garnish the drink with a few coffee beans. It will add an nice aroma and a touch of elegance to the drink.
Experiment with flavors: Feel free to experiment with different flavors of liqueurs, like vanilla or caramel, to give your espresso martini a unique twist.
More Awesome Cocktails to Try:
- Cocktail shaker (you can also just use a mason jar!)
- 1 oz espresso freshly brewed
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz coffee liqueur Such as Kahlua (you can also use Bailey's)
- 1 oz simple syrup optional
- 3 coffee beans for garnish
- Brew your espresso, and allow to chill completely. Stick it in the freezer if you need this to happen quickly. See notes about using cold brew.
- Add the espresso, vodka, coffee liqueur and simple syrup (if using) to a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 30-45 seconds. This is how you'll get the great froth on top!
- Pour into a martini glass. Add your coffee beans on top of the foam. Enjoy!