If you want a strong cocktail that also wakes you up, you’ve come to the right place. Not only is this drink cute and classy, but it packs a punch. Vodka and espresso give this drink a strong bite, while the sugar and coffee liqueur make it rich and satisfying.
The espresso martini is typically served as an after-dinner cocktail, but I start my nights with these all the time. I find that it is strong enough to sip slowly so I can enjoy the flavor and pace myself responsibly. I usually only order one or two of these, and I’m set for the night!
If I don’t order one of these when I’m out for drinks and appetizers, it’s probably because I already whipped one up at home to enjoy while I was getting ready for my night out. All the ingredients are super common, so they’re valuable to have in your at-home bar. You can use the coffee liqueur in a White Russian or Irish Coffee and the vodka in just about anything.
How To Make An Espresso Martini
- If you’re brewing your own espresso, brew and let it chill before moving on to the next steps. Put it in the fridge or freezer to speed up the process. While I’m doing this, I also place the glass in the freezer to keep everything crisp and cold.
- Fill the shaker with ice first, then add the vodka, simple syrup, espresso, and coffee liqueur.
- Shake it pretty hard to make certain you’re creating a nice thick layer of foam. 20 seconds is the minimum amount of time you should shake this.
- Strain into the glass, top with three coffee beans, and serve!
What You’ll Need
- Vodka: As always, high-quality vodka produces a better tasting cocktail. I personally like Tito’s and Kettle One. Some people even go for a chocolate vodka which makes for an excellent chocolate espresso martini.
- Coffee: Bartenders recommend freshly brewed espresso because it’s got a great flavor and is very foamy.
- Simple Syrup: A little bit of sweetness goes a long way. Though the coffee liqueur contains some sugar, adding a touch more makes this drink a little smoother.
- Coffee Liqueur: Most people use Kahlua. We also love the Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur if you want to try something new.
- Coffee Beans: These are an optional garnish (though some say garnishes are never optional). They also make for a fun crunch at the end of your drink.
- A shaker for mixing everything together
- A jigger for measuring your portions
- A strainer – most shakers come with a strainer
- Martini or coupe glasses for serving
Tips & Tricks
- Try substituting in chocolate vodka or creme de cacao to give the drink a chocolaty flavor. This works well if you want more of a dessert cocktail.
- If you don’t want to wait for the coffee to cool, stick it in the fridge or freezer to chill faster. Do this step ahead of time so no one is waiting around for the coffee to get cold.
- The key to getting a frothy, foamy cocktail is the shaking part. Shake it pretty hard for at least 20 seconds. If you’re bartending for two, pour each drink halfway, and then top them off alternating glasses. This way, both glasses get a fair amount of foam, which comes out last.
- Use actual freshly brewed espresso for the most authentic taste and foamy top layer.
- Want something smoother? Add 1 ounce of Baileys Irish Cream for a creamier, mellow taste. This changes the flavor profile of the drink but is an enjoyable alternative.
- Sprinkle your finished product with cocoa powder or cinnamon to give it a fancier appearance and fragrant smell. A little effort in the presentation goes a long way.
Why are there three coffee beans on an espresso martini?
Espresso martinis are typically served with three coffee beans on top of the foam, in the center of the glass. This stems from the traditional Italian way of serving a Sambuca Con La Mosca. Con la mosca means “with the fly” in Italian. The three beans symbolize health, wealth, and happiness! The floating coffee beans look a little bit like flies, which is funny, but the idea stuck and the drink is still served this way today.
What makes an espresso martini frothy?
To guarantee a frothy espresso martini, give it a hard shake to allow the ingredients to mix and ice to break up a bit. If your martinis are coming out flat, you can cheat and add a splash of aquafaba before shaking. Aquafaba is chickpea water, but it helps cocktails get frothy and does not affect the taste. It’s also vegan!
Can you use regular coffee in an espresso martini?
Can you? Yes, but make sure the coffee is very strong to enhance the flavor. The last thing you want is a watered-down martini. A cold brew concentrate works even better and doesn’t run the risk of watering down your cocktail.
Can you make a cocktail without a shaker?
Simply stirring your cocktail won’t mix the ingredients enough to blend the flavors. In a pinch, you can use any container with a strong seal to shake your cocktail. Consider using a mason jar, protein shaker, or even a to-go coffee mug with a very safe seal.
Other Drink Recipes
Whether you’re just getting the night started or winding down after dinner, an espresso martini is a perfect cocktail. It’s bold, flavorful, strong, and not to mention, it’s caffeinated. For coffee lovers, this is a must-try.