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An espresso martini cocktail.

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Espresso martini cocktail

The espresso martini is a beloved cocktail that can provide a much-needed pick-me-up after dinner or on a night out. With its bold coffee flavours and the smoothness of vodka, this cocktail will give you a kick with its boozy powers. Since its debut in the 1980s, the espresso martini has been a go-to drink for those looking to extend their nights or for an extra burst of energy. Whether you're a coffee lover or a cocktail aficionado, the espresso martini is sure to satisfy you. The cocktail typically consists of four main ingredients: vodka, coffee liqueur (usually Kahlúa), freshly brewed espresso (or cold brew concentrate), and simple syrup, all of which come together to create a harmonious and flavourful drink that is as delicious as it is invigorating.

23 February, 2023
Average: 2.8 (4 votes)

serves for



2oz (60ml)
Coffee liqueur
1/2oz (15ml) usually Kahlúa
Espresso coffee
1oz (30ml) freshly brewed espresso or cold brew concentrate
Simple syrup
1/2oz (15ml)

Step 01

Brew a shot of espresso or make cold brew concentrate.

Step 02

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

Step 03

Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds to ensure the drink is well-mixed and chilled.

Step 04

Strain the cocktail into a chilled martini glass.

Step 05

Optionally, garnish the drink with a few coffee beans or a dusting of cocoa powder.

Serve and enjoy your delicious espresso martini.

Tips for making the perfect espresso martini cocktail

Here are some tips for making the perfect espresso martini: 

  • Use freshly brewed espresso or cold brew concentrate for the best flavour. Avoid using instant coffee or pre-made espresso shots, as they may not have the same depth of flavour.
  • Shake the cocktail vigorously for at least 10-15 seconds to ensure that all the ingredients are well-mixed and the drink is properly chilled.
  • Use a chilled martini glass to keep the cocktail cold and enhance its presentation.
  • If you're using freshly brewed espresso, let it cool down to room temperature before adding it to the cocktail shaker. This will prevent the ice from melting too quickly and diluting the drink.
  • Adjust the amount of simple syrup to your taste preferences. Some prefer a sweeter drink, while others prefer a more balanced flavour.
  • Add a garnish, such as a few coffee beans or a dusting of cocoa powder, to enhance the drink's appearance and aroma.
  • Feel free to experiment with different cocktail variations by using different types of coffee liqueur or adding a splash of cream.

History of the espresso martini

The espresso martini is a legendary cocktail that has captured the hearts of coffee lovers and cocktail aficionados. Its story is shrouded in mystery and rumours, but most agree that British bartender and cocktail guru Dick Bradsell created the drink sometime 1980s at Fred's Club in London. 

As the story goes, a young, now world-famous model approached the bar and asked Bradsell for a drink to revitalise her. She was looking for something new and different to give her a refreshing and invigorating boost.

While the veracity of the story is up for debate, it's clear that Bradsell's combination of vodka, freshly brewed espresso, coffee liqueur, and sugar shook the cocktail world. Originally called the vodka espresso, it later became known as the pharmaceutical stimulant before ultimately being named the espresso martini. Since then, the drink has gained worldwide fame and remains popular for those seeking a boozy and caffeinated pick-me-up. Bradsell's creation has influenced and inspired countless other bartenders worldwide, and the espresso martini has even earned its own festival in London.

How to serve it

The espresso martini is typically served in a martini glass, which should be chilled beforehand in a freezer or with ice water to keep the drink cool. It’s recommended to strain the drink through a fine mesh strainer before pouring it into the glass to ensure a smooth texture. The drink is traditionally served without ice, and this helps to preserve the frothy layer that forms on top of the cocktail, which is a key aspect of its presentation. This straining process also helps remove any ice chips or other impurities that may have accumulated during the shaking process.

While a garnish is unnecessary, some people enjoy adding a few coffee beans or a lemon twist to the top of the foam layer for added visual appeal. The aroma of the coffee beans can also enhance the experience of the drink.

It's important to serve the espresso martini immediately after preparation so that it stays chilled and the foam layer remains intact. The foam layer will naturally start to dissipate after a few minutes, so it's best to enjoy the drink while it's fresh.


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