Espresso Martini

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PREP TIME 10 min

Cocktail Type


Great for

Dinner Party



Front view of three decadent Espresso Martini cocktails served with sweet and savory snacks

There’s nothing like a coffee cocktail for a shot of energy and the crowd-pleasing Espresso Martini is best served as a digestif or after-dinner drink due to its rich caffeine content. Our divinely simple recipe makes it easy to adapt to your guests’ tastes, such as adding sweeter liqueurs like coconut or salted caramel for a more indulgent treat.



For the ultimate foamy top, make sure you shake your cocktail very vigorously!


Only use a freshly brewed espresso with all the crema, nothing else will do


Don’t let your cocktail sit for too long, the foam will start dissolving.



1 Person

60 Ml

2 Oz

2 Parts

15 Ml

0.5 Oz

0.5 Parts

Coffee liqueur
30 Ml

1 Oz

1 Parts

Espresso, freshly brewed (or cold brew concentrate)
15 Ml

0.5 Oz

0.5 Parts

Simple syrup
To garnish, 3 coffee beans


Poster Preview Image

Add all of the liquid ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice


Shake vigorously until chilled (this is crucial to give the cocktail it’s iconic foamy top)


Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass


Garnish with whole coffee beans, if you want, and enjoy!

What is the history of the Espresso Martini?

Legend has it that British bartender Dick Bradsell invented this coffee-based classic at Fred’s Club in London. One day, a top model walked into his bar and asked for something strong for a quick wake-up. Bradsell mixed vodka, coffee liqueur, and a shot of fresh espresso, creating the perfect after-dinner drink that’s still one of our favourite types of Martinis today.

Making an Espresso Martini foamy

The foam is arguably the most enjoyable part of this kicky drink. To get the perfect foam, make sure you shake your cocktail vigorously for at least 20 seconds, as the natural oils in the coffee must combine with the air bubbles in order to create the foam.

Another tip is to use freshly brewed espresso, including the crema (foam that comes out of the espresso machine). The quantity of coffee liqueur is also a key factor in creating an impressive foam. If, after shaking, your drink is still looking quite flat, try adding more liqueur before shaking again and it should do the trick. Finally, don’t let your shaken cocktail sit for too long or the foam will start dissolving.

How do you make an Espresso Martini better?

The simplicity of the Espresso Martini lends itself to many tasty variations, so you can adjust it to your liking. If want a more luxurious dessert cocktail that’s sweeter and creamier, combine a Chocolate Martini with an Espresso Martini to create a Mocha Martini. For extra indulgence, choose a vanilla-flavoured vodka.

You can also swap the vodka for bourbon, if you’re more of a whisky lover, or you can use tequila for an unexpected twist. Adding a dash of nut liqueur, like Frangelico, will enrich your drink with a flavourful aftertaste.

Can I make an Espresso Martini without an espresso machine?

Yes, the good news is that you can make an Espresso Martini without an espresso machine. Cold brew concentrate is one option to create the strong coffee base needed for the cocktail. Alternatively, you can use instant coffee.

To make the drink, combine 60ml SKYY Vodka, 15ml coffee liqueur, 15ml simple syrup, and 30ml cold brew concentrate or strongly mixed instant coffee. Shake the mixture with ice and strain it into a chilled Martini glass. Cold brew concentrate provides a smooth and rich flavour, while instant coffee is great for convenience, especially if you are camping or entertaining away from home. Adjust the coffee amount to suit your taste.

How to make Freezer Door Espresso Martinis

If you are having a rather large crowd over, you could also opt to make Freezer Door Espresso Martinis.

If the term is brand new to you, a freezer door cocktail is an all-in-one pre-mixed drink that is layered right in the liquor bottle. The great thing about this method of batching cocktails is that it can be whipped up ahead of time and left in the freezer until your guests arrive. You should be able to pour six to eight servings of your favourite cocktail from one bottle, which makes it ideal for party cocktails.

Similar to the scientific precision involved in baking, achieving the perfect chilled state for mixed drinks in the freezer requires a thoughtful approach. It’s crucial to find the delicate equilibrium between preventing freezing and maintaining a refreshing chill, so when you make a batch of freezer-door Espresso Martini, instant espresso powder is the way to go.

Here’s our easy recipe:

  • Pour off 300ml of a bottle of SKYY Vodka
  • Add 3.5 tablespoons of instant espresso powder
  • Add 270ml coffee liqueur
  • Add 30ml water
  • Cap it, give it a good shake, and store it in the freezer
  • Pour over fresh ice and serve when you are ready

Read next: 9 Freezer Door Cocktails for Easy Hosting

How to make simple syrup at home

Making simple syrup at home is actually ludicrously easy. In a saucepan, combine equal parts granulated sugar and water. For example, you can start with 1 cup of each. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously until the sugar completely dissolves. This usually takes about 3-5 minutes.

Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature. Transfer the syrup to a clean glass jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Ta-da!

What is the meaning behind the coffee beans on top?

The tradition of placing three coffee beans on top of an Espresso Martini has various explanations and interpretations. Here are a few of the commonly mentioned meanings:

The Holy Trinity. One interpretation relates the three coffee beans to the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity, representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This interpretation is often associated with Italian culture.

Good luck. In some cultures, it is believed that three coffee beans symbolise good luck, fortune, and prosperity. Placing them on top of the cocktail may be seen as a gesture to bring positive energy and blessings to the drinker.

Bartender’s signature. The practice of garnishing an Espresso Martini with three coffee beans can also be a visual cue to indicate that the cocktail has been made with care and attention by a skilled bartender. It adds a touch of elegance and serves as a signature of the craft.

While these explanations are commonly associated with the tradition, it’s important to note that the presence of coffee beans on an Espresso Martini is primarily decorative. It can add a visually appealing touch to the drink but does not significantly impact the taste or overall experience.

What food can I pair with an Espresso Martini?

When it comes to pairing food with a rich cocktail like this, you’ll want to consider flavours that complement or contrast the robust flavours of the cocktail. Here are a few food options that can work well:

Chocolate desserts. The combination of chocolate and coffee is a classic match. Pair your drink with chocolate truffles, chocolate cake, or chocolate-covered strawberries for a decadent experience.

Cheese & charcuterie. A charcuterie board with a selection of cured meats, cheeses like gouda, cheddar, or brie, along with some crackers or baguette slices, can provide a nice balance to the cocktail’s flavours.

Nuts. Roasted nuts like almonds, pecans, or cashews can provide a crunchy texture and complement the cocktail’s rich flavours. Consider serving a bowl of mixed nuts alongside your drink.

Savoury canapés The cocktail’s bold flavours can balance well with savoury bites. For a contrast in flavours, pair the coffee-hued drink with savoury canapés like bacon-wrapped dates, mini beef sliders, or spicy chicken skewers.

Coffee-infused desserts. Consider desserts that incorporate coffee flavors like tiramisu, coffee-flavored macarons, or coffee-infused ice cream. These treats can complement the coffee notes in the cocktail.

Remember, personal taste and preferences play a significant role in food pairing, so feel free to experiment and find combinations that you enjoy. Ultimately, the goal is to find a balance between the flavours of the food and the cocktail, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Read next: How to Slay Cocktail and Canapé Pairings Like a Pro

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Despite the prominence of the espresso component in its name, the Espresso Martini is an alcoholic drink. The main spirit is vodka or flavored vodka according to taste (for example, vanilla vodka), alongside coffee liqueur.

The secret to a perfect Espresso Martini foam is to shake, shake, and shake your mix for at least 20 seconds. The ice needs to nearly freeze all the liquids in the shaker. A second important step is not to let your drink sit around. Pour it into chilled glasses as soon as it’s been shaken to preserve all the richness of the foam.