Best Espresso Martini

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Best Espresso Martini



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The Espresso Martini is a sophisticated and invigorating cocktail that has captivated the taste buds of coffee and cocktail enthusiasts around the globe. Born out of the cocktail innovation era of the late 20th century, it combines the rich, bold flavors of espresso with the smooth, complex notes of vodka and coffee liqueur. This article will delve into the best Espresso Martini recipe, its history, key ingredients, and some tips to elevate this classic drink to new heights.


The Espresso Martini was created in the 1980s by London bartender Dick Bradsell. According to lore, Bradsell concocted the drink in response to a customer’s request for a drink that would “wake her up and then f*** her up.” Bradsell’s solution was a cocktail that ingeniously combined espresso with vodka, giving birth to an instant classic. Originally named the Vodka Espresso, it has since been popularized as the Espresso Martini, reflecting its cocktail lineage and sophisticated profile.

The Best Espresso Martini Recipe

To craft the perfect Espresso Martini, you need the following ingredients:

2 ounces of premium vodka: Choose a smooth, high-quality vodka as the base of the cocktail.

1 ounce of espresso: Freshly brewed, strong espresso is key to the drink’s bold flavor.

1/2 ounce of coffee liqueur: A good quality coffee liqueur adds depth and sweetness.

1/4 to 1/2 ounce of simple syrup (optional): Adjust according to your sweetness preference.



Brew the espresso and let it cool slightly. Fresh is crucial for that invigorating coffee punch.

Fill a shaker with ice. Add the vodka, cooled espresso, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup if using.

Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. The key is to shake hard enough to create a good froth from the espresso.

Strain into a chilled martini glass. The drink should have a creamy foam on top.

Garnish with 3 coffee beans. Traditionally, three coffee beans are placed on top for health, happiness, and prosperity.

Key Ingredients and Variations

The choice of vodka and coffee liqueur can significantly affect the Espresso Martini’s taste.

For vodka, a neutral, clean taste is preferred to not overpower the espresso. When it comes to coffee liqueur, Kahlúa is a common choice, but there are many artisanal liqueurs that can add a unique twist.

Espresso is non-negotiable for an authentic Espresso Martini. The quality of the espresso can make or break the cocktail, so use the best freshly brewed espresso you can get. If you’re looking for a twist on the classic, consider infusing the vodka with vanilla or using a flavored coffee liqueur.

Tips for the Perfect Espresso Martini

Use cold espresso: To prevent dilution, ensure the espresso is cooled before adding it to the shaker.

Quality ingredients: The simplicity of the Espresso Martini means the quality of each ingredient shines through. Opt for high-quality vodka, coffee, and liqueur.

Proper shaking: A vigorous shake not only chills the drink but also emulsifies the coffee oils with the alcohol, creating the signature creamy top.

Garnish wisely: The traditional coffee bean garnish adds a visual appeal and a subtle aroma that complements the drink’s flavors.

The Espresso Martini stands out as a testament to cocktail innovation, perfectly marrying the worlds of coffee and spirits. Whether you’re looking for a sophisticated evening drink or a lively pick-me-up, the Espresso Martini delivers with its rich flavor profile and elegant presentation. By following the best recipe and tips outlined above, you can elevate this classic cocktail into a memorable experience that awakens the senses.

While the basic Espresso Martini recipe provides a solid foundation, the beauty of this cocktail lies in its versatility and the potential for personalization. Here are a few variations and tips to help you tailor the Espresso Martini to your taste or occasion, further exploring the depth of this beloved classic.

Espresso Martini Variations

Vanilla Espresso Martini

For a sweeter, more aromatic take, add a splash of vanilla syrup or use vanilla-infused vodka in place of regular vodka. The vanilla complements the coffee flavor beautifully, adding a warm and comforting twist.

Spiced Espresso Martini

Add a pinch of ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick to the shaker before mixing. This not only imparts a subtle warmth and spice but also adds a delightful aroma that enhances the overall experience.

Salted Caramel Espresso Martini

Mix in a bit of salted caramel syrup for a decadent version. The salt cuts through the sweetness and richness, balancing the flavors and adding complexity.

Irish Espresso Martini

Substitute half of the vodka with Irish cream liqueur for a creamier, smoother texture. This variation is particularly fitting for colder months, offering a comforting creaminess with every sip.

    Mastering the Foam

    Achieving the perfect foam top is a key aspect of the Espresso Martini’s allure. Here are some tips to ensure a rich, creamy foam every time:

    Double shake: First, shake the ingredients without ice to emulsify the espresso’s oils. Then, add ice and shake again to chill. This method can produce a thicker foam.

    Fresh espresso: Using freshly brewed espresso not only ensures optimal flavor but also a better foam, thanks to the natural oils and crema.

    Fine strain: When pouring, use a fine strainer to catch any ice chips or coffee grounds, ensuring a smooth texture and appearance.

    Presentation and Garnish

    While the classic garnish for an Espresso Martini is three coffee beans, there’s room for creativity:

    Chocolate shavings: For a sweet touch, garnish with dark chocolate shavings. This pairs especially well with vanilla or caramel variations.

    Orange twist: A small twist of orange peel can add a refreshing aroma, offering a nice contrast to the deep coffee flavors.

    Cocoa powder: A light dusting of cocoa powder over the foam can enhance the cocktail’s visual appeal and add a subtle chocolate note.

    The Espresso Martini is more than just a cocktail; it’s an experience that melds the energizing qualities of coffee with the soothing effects of alcohol, offering a sophisticated edge to any occasion. By understanding the essentials and embracing variations, you can transform this classic drink into a personalized masterpiece that delights the senses. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or venture into creative variations, the Espresso Martini remains a timeless favorite that celebrates the art of cocktail making.


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