Espresso Martini Recipe (2024)

by Erin

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Thisoriginal Espresso Martinirecipe is a delicious pre- or post-dinner pick me up for coffee lovers. An easy co*cktail recipe, made with just 4-ingredients and shaken until deliciously frothy with a beautiful foam top and a little creaminess.

Espresso Martini Recipe (1)

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Where Did the Original Espresso Martini Come From?

Ingredients Needed

How to Make an Espresso Martini without Espresso

Kahlua Substitutes

How to Make It

What Food Goes with an Espresso Martini

Sweet Options

Savory Options

More co*cktail Recipes

Original Espresso Martini Recipe





I don’t know about you, but I’ve been experimenting with more and more co*cktail recipes at home lately. You may have caught some of them on myInstagram stories. From my favoriteAviation co*cktail, to the deliciously sweetBee’s Knees, to fun, bubbly co*cktails like theFrench 75 or Aperol Spritz, when the clock hits 5pm, I’m whipping out that co*cktail shaker.

Fun Fact: I used to be a bartender.

But at the dive bar I worked at in Eugene, Oregon, it was more about pouring beers than mixing up fancy co*cktails.

I had my crew of regulars – a group of about 5 or so men in their 60’s who would stand at the end of the bar after a day of work.

I was taught early on that these guys expected their beers without me even asking what they wanted. When they walked in – I would pour and deliver. Each had their preferred brand (Coors Light, Bud, Miller) and each wanted a different amount of “head” (or foam) on their beer.

  • Bobby liked his Bud Light with about a ½” head on it.
  • Guy liked his Coors Light with nothing more than a ¼” head – He wanted his money’s worth!
  • Etc.

How times have changed.

Now I’m at home, making fancy co*cktails in my kitchen. But the best part is, I’ve been able to explore so many classic drink recipes. And I’ve definitely discovered some new favorites.

Today I’m sharing with you this amazingclassic Espresso Martini recipeand giving you tips on how to get the perfect “head” on your co*cktail – aka that light layer of foam on top of your glass that contrasts beautifully with the dark coffee co*cktail and those three espresso beans sprinkled on top.

Espresso Martini Recipe (2)

Here’s another fun fact for you:

There’s a reason that Espresso Martinis are served withthreecoffee beans on top. The beans are meant to represent: health, wealth and happiness. So cheers friends – to all those things! And hopefully getting out of the house one of these days soon and sharing some of these Espresso Martinis with friends, in person.

Where Did the Original Espresso Martini Come From?

The Espresso Martini is believed to have originated in the late 1980s in London, England. According to popular legend, it was created by bartender Dick Bradsell who was working at the Soho Brasserie at the time.

The story goes that a famous model came into the bar and asked for a drink that would “wake me up and then f*** me up.” Bradsell mixed vodka, coffee liqueur, freshly brewed espresso, and simple syrup together and served it in a martini glass. The model loved the drink, and soon it became a hit with customers at the bar.

The Espresso Martini quickly gained popularity in London and spread to other cities around the world. Today, it is a classic co*cktail that is enjoyed by many coffee and co*cktail lovers alike.

Ingredients Needed

  • Vodka
  • Simple Syrup (sugar syrup)
  • Coffee Liqueur – Use that bottle to make these yummy kahlua co*cktails too!
  • EspressoCoffee – Don’t have espresso? See my suggestions below for how to make one with coffee instead.

How to Make an Espresso Martini without Espresso

  • If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can substitute strong coffee in this recipe. Brew it at 2x its normal strength in your coffee machine. This works with cold brew or fresh brewed coffee.You can also substitute cold brew concentrate.

Kahlua Substitutes

  • If you don’t have Kahlua on hand, you can also use any coffee liquor, like Tia Maria or Sheridan’s coffee liqueur. You can also substitute it with crème de cacao, a chocolate flavored liqueur.
Espresso Martini Recipe (3)

How to Make It

  1. Add vodka,simple syrup, coffee liqueur and a shot of espresso to an ice-filled co*cktail shaker.
  2. Shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled martini glass, spooning extra foam from the co*cktail shaker on top.
  4. Garnish with 3 coffee beans.

How to Get the Perfect Frothy Top

  • To ensure you get frothy top on your espresso martini, be sure touse fresh espresso. Alsouse plenty of icein your co*cktail shaker andshake vigorouslyfor at least 20 seconds.
  • After pouring your co*cktail, spoon any foam that remains in the shaker on top of your martini glasses.
Espresso Martini Recipe (4)

Feel free to play around with this original Espresso Martini recipe to suit your tastes. Want a creamier martini? Use Bailey’s Irish Cream in place of the coffee liqueur. Don’t like your co*cktail so sweet? Reduce the amount ofsimple syrup, or leave it out entirely. Want to add extra flavor? Try swapping in vanilla vodka or hazelnut flavored vodka. Enjoy!

What Food Goes with an Espresso Martini

Sweet Options

  • Chocolate Dessert Board
  • Mocha Coffee Mousse
  • Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Savory Options

  • Mushroom Pate
  • Baked Goat Cheese Dip
  • Prosciutto Wrapped Avocado Appetizers
Espresso Martini Recipe (5)

More co*cktail Recipes

  • Harvest Moon Applejack co*cktail
  • Cosmopolitan co*cktail
  • Italian Margarita Recipe with Amaretto
  • Grapefruit Aperol Sparkling co*cktails
  • Gin and Tonic Recipe // 3 Ways to Customize
  • Grilled Pineapple Margarita with Jalapeno

More → 17+ BEST Kahlua Drinks.

Did you try this espresso martini recipe with simple syrup?

If you loved this dark espresso martini I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me onInstagramusing the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me onInstagram,TikTok,PinterestandFacebook.

Espresso Martini Recipe (6)

Original Espresso Martini Recipe

This Espresso Martini is a delicious pre- or post-dinner pick me up co*cktail. An easy co*cktail recipe, made with just 4-ingredients and shaken until deliciously frothy.

5 from 11 votes

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Prep Time: 5 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes minutes

Servings: 1 co*cktail

Created by Platings and Pairings


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce freshly brewed espresso
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce coffee liqueur (Kahlua, Tia Maria, or similar)
  • 3 coffee beans (to garnish)


  • Add ingredients into a co*cktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds.

  • Strain into a martini glass, spooning extra foam from the co*cktail shaker on top.

  • Garnish with coffee beans.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Espresso Martini Recipe (7)Espresso Martini Recipe (8)

co*cktail Shaker


Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 14mg | Sugar: 17g | Iron: 1mg

Check out the web story here.

This post was originally published in 2020. It was updated in 2023 to add new content. The original espresso martini recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

Espresso Martini Recipe (2024)
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