Classic Espresso Martini Recipe

by Mama Loves A Drink

Ok we won’t start with an argument about is it REALLY a martini but there are plenty of variations and ways to enjoy this pick me up that mixes two of our favourite drinks – COFFEE & VODKA!!

So what’s really involved in an Expresso Martini?

A cold, coffee flavoured cocktail credited to bartender Dick Bradsell – apparently requested by a prestigious female client who asked for something to “wake her up and f*&% her up”. It’s a real party starter based on coffee and vodka, shaken and drunk straight up in a martini cocktail glass.

You may also hear this cocktail perhaps more correctly called a Vodka Espresso.

The key to a successful Espresso Martini (other than perhaps keeping your guests awake!) is the perfect balance or spirits and a lovely creamy froth on top. There are, of course, like all our cocktail suggestions variations in quantities you can try to suit your pallet and appearance.

It can be equally great as an introduction to the evening – a pick me up before the party starts – as it is nightcap.

They are incredibly moreish, but also strong, so not one you can nurse all evening but definitely one of our dinner party favourites.

So however you like it, or whatever legend you believe, here’s our absolute classic recipe for Espresso Martini, then let’s take a deeper look at variations and how to improve your concoction, certain to sprite up a party!

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Espresso Martini

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Tools you will need to make an Espresso Martini

Find all our favourite tools for your home cocktail bar here.

Yield: 1 serve

Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini cocktail making ingredients

Classic cocktail or a modern concoction? Certainly one you can have plenty of fun with and easy to adapt for different quantities and taste. 1 part should be a standard 25ml but this is easily adaptable.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part Kahlua (coffee liqueur)
  • 1 part espresso coffee
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • A few coffee beans for garnish (optional)


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  2. Brew espresso shot
  3. Add espresso shot, vodka and coffee liqueur
  4. Shake cocktail shaker well
  5. Drain and pour into martini glass
  6. Garnish with coffee beans

Espresso Martini Recipe Variations

There is so much fun you can have adapting this recipe to your personal tastes.

Decaf Martini

This is the most obvious variation especially when you are having your Espresso Martini as a nightcap. We have not found any difference in taste or texture in using decaf pods.

Tia Maria

Tia Maria is also a coffee liqueur, you may split potions between Kahlua and Tia Maria, but you may want to balance the use of both with more vodka.

Sweeten it up? Add Sugar Syrup

Super simple to make with one part golden caster sugar and one part boiling water. Those with a sweet tooth or who would normally add sugar to their coffee will like this adaption. You may need to adjust other quantities accordinly depending on the size of your glass.

Mocha martini?

Ooooh yes definitely one for your sweet tooth or non-coffee lover. Substitute the coffee liquer for a dark chocolate liquer. As another variant, you can then top with a marshmallow instead, and even rub chocolate saving around the rim

Problems in making your Espresso Martini

The most common complaint is there’s not enough froth. A perfectly layered espresso martini will be finished off by a velvety layer of froth about 1/4 of an inch. the lack of froth upon straining probably means you have not shaken enough. We are not looking for a vigorous shake but it definitely needs a little elbow work. If your first batch lacks the froth, try shaking for 30 seconds longer next time

So why the controversy on calling it a martini?

The classics would call for a martini being made from gin. We’ve tried it with gin and hmm, no this isn’t one that you can adapt, the botantical goodness of gin simply doesn’t work with the bitterness of coffee.

The shape of the glass too may be variable. A classic martini should be served in a V-shape glass but even we’ve been guilty of using a wine or coupe glass, anything on hand really!

Do you have a favourite Espresso Martini recipe or adaption? Let us know in the comments below!

Mama Loves A Drink advocates quality over quantity. Always drink responsibly!

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