Our Espresso Martini Recipe Will Never Go Out Of Style (2024)

The Aperol spritz and the negroni are undoubtedly stealing the co*cktail spotlight right now, but to me, the espresso martini will never go out of style. Popular with coffee lovers and tired pre-gamers alike, this classic co*cktail was born in the 1980s but saw a resurgence in popularity in the last few years. It’s no surprise why this martini is having a moment: because it's a co*cktail and an espresso, it's a great way to get a little buzzed while also getting a bit perked up. I order them so often, I decided it was time to perfect the classic espresso martini right at home. After testing (and testing), I discovered the perfect ratio of coffee to booze to simple syrup—make my classic recipe if happy hour at home is calling your name.

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Prep Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
10 mins


  • 1 1/2 oz.


  • 1 oz.

    coffee liqueur, such as Kahlúa or Mr. Black

  • 1 oz.

    or 1 shotespresso or cold brew concentrate

  • 1/2 oz.

    simple syrup

  • Espresso powder or cocoa powder and coffee beans, for serving


    1. Step1In a co*cktail shaker, combine vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso, and simple syrup. Cover and vigorously shake until outside of shaker is very frosty and foam forms, about 15 seconds.
    2. Step2Double strain into a coupe glass. Cover half of top of glass with a paper towel. Dust the exposed half with espresso or cocoa powder. Garnish plain side with coffee beans.

How To Make An Espresso Martini


Vodka: I add 1 ½ oz. of vodka for the perfect ratio of booze to coffee. Vodka is the signature alcohol for a classic espresso martini—use another, and it just won’t be the same. While you don't have to reach for top shelf, I suggest using a brand you enjoy drinking.
Coffee liqueur: I prefer to use Kahlúa in this co*cktail (and in many coffee co*cktails). It’s easy to find, and adds the perfect rich coffee and vanilla flavor to this martini. That being said, you can use any coffee liqueur you please.
Espresso: While I recommend a freshly pulled shot of espresso for the best-ever espresso martini, you can also use cold brew coffee concentrate if you don’t have an espresso machine (or don’t want to visit your local coffee shop). This is the central flavor of the drink after all, so I strongly suggest investing in coffee that you love the flavor of.
Simple syrup: Simple syrup balances out the strong coffee flavors, and gives this co*cktail a sweeter touch. If you prefer a more bitter flavor, you can decrease the amount of simple syrup. While you can buy it, why would you when it’s so easy to make homemade simple syrup?
Espresso powder: I use espresso powder for the garnish to amplify the coffee vibes, but you can also use cocoa powder if you prefer, or skip it entirely.
Coffee beans: If you’ve ordered an espresso martini out, you know that coffee beans are a signature garnish for this martini. Use any coffee beans you have on hand. If you’re looking for coffee inspo, checkout Delish’s favorite coffee beans.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Your first step in creating the iconic espresso martini is to add your vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso, and simple syrup to your co*cktail shaker. When it comes to the espresso, make sure you give yourself enough time to let it chill before adding it to your shaker. You can place it in the fridge or the freezer if you need a quick chill—this will prevent your hot espresso from immediately melting the ice in your shaker.

Our Espresso Martini Recipe Will Never Go Out Of Style (4)

After combining your ingredients in your shaker, cover and give it a vigorous shake. I recommend shaking for at least 15 seconds, or until the outside of the shaker is very frosty and foam forms. Hint hint: This is key for a perfectly frothy espresso martini.

Once your martini is perfectly combined and foamy, strain it into a coupe glass of your choice. If you have a small kitchen strainer, I’d recommend double-straining your martini. New to this? All you need to do is use your co*cktail strainer, and pour it over the strainer into your glass. I like to do this to create an ultra-smooth drink, but it’s not a requirement for a great espresso martini.

Our Espresso Martini Recipe Will Never Go Out Of Style (6)

Now, here comes my favorite part of serving any co*cktail: creating the garnish. First, cover half of the top of the glass with a paper towel or a piece of paper. Then, dust the exposed half with espresso or cocoa powder, and garnish with coffee beans (as many as your heart desires, or 3 for good luck). To dust with the powder, add to a sieve or strainer, and gently shake over your drink.

Our Espresso Martini Recipe Will Never Go Out Of Style (8)

Note: The full list of ingredients and directions can be found in the recipe above.

Recipe Tips

How to make a frothy espresso martini: My favorite tip for a frothy espresso martini? Use a fresh shot of espresso, and shake it along with your other ingredients in a shaker vigorously for long enough to chill it all and create a foam. Once shaken, you’re going to want to double-strain it into your glass, and voila! A chilled, frothy espresso martini is at your fingertips.
What kind of coffee to use: If you can't get a fresh shot of espresso, no need to fear! Though a freshly pulled shot really pulls this drink together, I’ve found that you can get similar results with 1 oz. cold brew coffee concentrate. Looking to make your own cold brew? Check out Delish’s favorite coffee beans for cold brew. No espresso machine but craving that signature taste? Visit your local coffee shop and pick up a couple of shots.
The best alcohol for an espresso martini: Along with your coffee component and simple syrup, you need a coffee liqueur and vodka to complete your martini. I recommend Kahlúa—a recurring character in many of Delish’s coffee co*cktails—but you can use any coffee liqueur you prefer, like Mr. Black. Choose your favorite vodka, or consult Delish’s tried-and-tested list of our favorite vodka brands.
What do three coffee beans mean? In addition to the espresso powder (or cocoa powder) topping, I added the signature garnish to an espresso martini: coffee beans. You can add as many as you like, but three coffee beans represent health, wealth, and happiness, so if you’re looking for some well wishes, 3 will be your lucky number.
Variations: While this classic recipe deserves all the hype, you can experiment to make this espresso martini work for you. Don’t like sugar in your coffee? Go ahead and remove that simple syrup! More of a cream and sugar type of person? Add in 1/2 oz. Baileys to make it creamy.

Our Espresso Martini Recipe Will Never Go Out Of Style (10)

Made This?

Let us know how it went in the comments below!

    Our Espresso Martini Recipe Will Never Go Out Of Style (2024)


    Why do bartenders not like making espresso martinis? ›

    But if you're a mixologist at work, it's a nightmare. In fact, bartenders notably dislike making these co*cktails because of the prep time, complications, and cleanup of the espresso step alone.

    Are espresso martinis still popular? ›

    Heading into 2024, the co*cktail is still on-trend: it grew by 50% during the 12-month period ending September 30, 2023, right at the heels of the Old Fashioned, according to Union's OnPrem Insights which gathers data from over 1,000 high volume accounts using the POS platforms at bars and restaurants.

    Why is everyone ordering espresso martinis? ›

    Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverage

    A selling point for most people is the fact that espresso martinis contain a large amount of caffeine. It helps give them an extra boost, especially during social events. You'll be able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage with the added bonus of new energy.

    Why do people like espresso martinis so much? ›

    The sweet ingredients tame both the brashness of the vodka and bitterness of the coffee. Vigorous agitation of the espresso and its oils creates an invitingly frothy, crema-like head atop the drink. The coffee liqueur renders the drink inky black and brooding in color—it's a co*cktail that catches your eye.

    What kind of person drinks espresso martini? ›

    Espresso Martini

    Coffee, alcohol and sugar - the ultimate combination made for those who live to “work hard, play harder”. If that's you, you're a type A personality who is enviably outgoing, extremely ambitious and rigidly organised. You give 100% to everything you do, both professionally and socially.

    What's the hardest drink for a bartender to make? ›

    Probably the most difficult co*cktail recipe to make and every bartender hates it - the RAMOS GIN FIZZ 🍸 60ml / 2oz Gin 15ml / 0.5oz Lemon Juice 15ml / 0.5oz Lime Juice 30ml / 1oz Heavy Cream 1 Dash Orange Blossom Water One Fresh Egg White Soda Water To Top - Shake all ingredients except soda water hard with one large ...

    What's the point of an espresso martini? ›

    Created with only three, sometimes four, magical ingredients – espresso, Kahlua, vodka and maybe a little simple syrup – the potion serves as a delicious pick-me-up for diehards needing a caffeine jolt to keep the late-night party going. Or, some say, it's a liquor-infused elixir to liven up any breakfast event.

    Is an espresso martini an upper or downer? ›

    Espresso martinis were supposedly created by a London bartender for a model who asked for a drink that would “wake her up, then mess her up” — only she didn't use the word “mess.” Similar to vodka Red Bulls, espresso martinis mix the “upper” of caffeine and the “downer” of alcohol.

    What do the three beans in an espresso martini mean? ›

    While there are many variations on the espresso martini co*cktail, you could say there's one standard garnish: three espresso beans floating on top. Tradition holds that these three beans represent health, wealth and happiness.

    Is espresso martini better with vodka or tequila? ›

    The liquor base for an espresso martini co*cktail is vodka. We recommend choosing a premium unflavored vodka made with the finest ingredients to help the drink truly shine. The drink also incorporates a coffee liqueur.

    Are you supposed to eat the coffee beans in an espresso martini? ›

    This is the co*cktail's trademark and are said to represent health, wealth and happiness and come from the traditional serving of Sambuca in Italy, where the beans are called con la mosca, which means “with the fly”. You can chew and eat the coffee beans in both co*cktails but it is a personal choice!

    Why do espresso martinis hurt my stomach? ›

    Your Stomach Is Sensitive To Coffee's Acids

    Our digestive systems run on acids. They're the fuel of the machine that breaks down what we consume. We've got to have them! However, too much gastric acid can be a problem, causing some not-so-fun symptoms.

    What drink do bartenders hate making the most? ›

    Ramos Gin Fizz

    Perhaps the most-loathed co*cktail by bartenders, a Ramos Gin Fizz not only requires a lot of ingredients (gin, lemon, lime, cream, egg white, orange blossom water, sugar, and soda), but it takes a lot of time and elbow grease to make.

    How to make an Espresso Martini like a bartender? ›

    1. Add vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso and simple syrup to a shaker filled with ice and shake until well-chilled.
    2. Strain into a chilled co*cktail glass.
    3. Garnish with 3 coffee beans.
    Nov 13, 2023

    Why do espresso martinis make me nauseous? ›

    One is that coffee is a diuretic, which can cause dehydration and make you feel nauseous. Another reason is that coffee is acidic, which can upset your digestive system and make you feel sick. Finally, if you drink too much caffeine, it can make you feel nauseated and cause other health problems.

    What's up with espresso martinis? ›

    Have you ever wondered why there are always three coffee beans garnishing your espresso martini? This is the co*cktail's trademark and are said to represent health, wealth and happiness and come from the traditional serving of Sambuca in Italy, where the beans are called con la mosca, which means “with the fly”.

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