Espresso Martini: How to Make a Great Cocktail

The Espresso Martini. It’s a beverage that impeccably marries two of life’s great pleasures: coffee and alcohol. Historically speaking, it’s the elixir that promises to kickstart your evening with a jolt or provide the ultimate nightcap to your evening.

London’s bustling nightlife surprisingly contributes to the creation of this beverage. In the 1980s, a famous model visited a bar in London. She was searching for something to make her feel more awake and intoxicated. Consequently, the result was the Espresso Martini.

The Basics

Now, before diving into the recipe, let’s clarify what an Espresso Martini is. Firstly, it isn’t a traditional martini, which is usually gin-based. Instead, the Espresso Martini combines vodka with freshly brewed espresso, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup. Additionally, while the name suggests sophistication, the preparation is refreshingly straightforward.

We have here two recipes for espresso martini. One uses Kahlua coffee liqueur and another one that uses Mr Black coffee liqueur. Kahlua liqueur offers a bit more sweet taste and Mr Black brings out stronger coffee taste for the espresso martini. You can try both and compare which you like more.

Kahlúa Espresso Martini

Eager to try it out? Here’s the classic recipe for the perfect Espresso Martini using Kahlúa:


  • 50ml Vodka
  • 30ml Fresh Espresso
  • 20ml Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur
  • 10ml Simple Syrup (or to taste)
  • Coffee beans, for garnish


  1. The Preparation: First and foremost, brew your espresso and let it cool slightly. Having a fresh shot will make all the difference.
  2. The Shake: Pour the vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup into a shaker filled with ice. Subsequently, shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. This action not only mixes the ingredients but also chills the liquid, which is vital for the end result.
  3. The Pour: Next, strain the liquid into a chilled martini glass. This step ensures that it leaves behind any ice shards or coffee grounds.
  4. The Finishing Touch: Lastly, float three coffee beans on top for garnish. Not only do they add an aesthetic touch, but they also give a delightful aromatic introduction to the drink.

Mr Black Espresso Martini

Here is a espresso martini recipe with no kahlua. This espresso martini recipe with mr black offers a more robust taste.


  • 50ml Vodka
  • 30ml Freshly Brewed Espresso
  • 20ml Mr Black Coffee Liqueur
  • 5-10ml Simple Syrup (optional, if you like it a tad sweeter)
  • Coffee beans (for garnish)


  1. The Shake: In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the vodka, espresso, Mr Black Coffee Liqueur, and simple syrup if desired. Shake robustly for 15-20 seconds.
  2. The Pour: Strain into a chilled martini glass.
  3. The Garnish: Finish with three coffee beans on top.

The Mr Black Espresso Martini has a strong coffee taste and is slightly more bitter than the Kahlúa version.

Each version of the Espresso Martini brings its own charm to the table. The choice between the two often boils down to personal preference. Choose between sweet Kahlúa or strong Mr Black for a delightful cocktail experience with creamy or coffee flavors. Enjoy!

The Variations and Twists

In the world of mixology, evolution is inevitable. Consequently, there have been numerous spins on the classic Espresso Martini.

For example, some bartenders enjoy adding a splash of Baileys Irish Cream for a richer texture and flavor. Additionally, for those with a penchant for nutty flavors, amaretto can be a game-changer. As with all recipes, feel free to experiment and tailor to your taste.

A Pumpkin Espresso Martini is a delightful twist on the classic. Here’s a recipe that combines the seasonal allure of pumpkin with the kick of espresso:

Pumpkin Espresso Martini


  • 50ml Vodka
  • 30ml Freshly Brewed Espresso
  • 20ml Pumpkin Spice Syrup (store-bought or homemade*)
  • 15ml Coffee Liqueur (either Kahlúa or Mr Black works great here)
  • Whipped cream (optional, for garnish)
  • A sprinkle of pumpkin spice or cinnamon (for garnish)


  1. The Shake: In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the vodka, freshly brewed espresso, pumpkin spice syrup, and coffee liqueur. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds.
  2. The Pour: Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.
  3. The Garnish: If desired, top with a small dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle some pumpkin spice or cinnamon on top.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves

To make the syrup:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir until you dissolve the sugar and combine the mixture well.
  2. Remove from heat and let it cool.
  3. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

The Pumpkin Espresso Martini brings forth a comforting blend of flavors, making it perfect for autumn evenings or festive gatherings. The pumpkin’s earthy sweetness combined with the rich depth of espresso creates a drink that’s both familiar and adventurous. Enjoy!

Serving the Cocktail

The setting in which you serve this cocktail is nearly as important as its preparation. Firstly, always ensure your glassware is clean and, ideally, chilled. A cold glass helps the drink maintain its temperature longer.

Additionally, pairing the Espresso Martini with light appetizers or desserts enhances the overall experience. A plate of biscotti or tiramisu, for instance, compliments the coffee notes beautifully.

The Experience

Ultimately, the Espresso Martini is more than just a drink; it’s an experience. When sipped, it initially presents a rich coffee flavor followed by the warmth and bite of vodka. Moreover, the simple syrup provides a touch of sweetness, counteracting the potential bitterness of the espresso. Consequently, every sip becomes a delightful dance of flavors on the palate.

In conclusion, the Espresso Martini stands as a testament to the magic that can happen when two worlds collide. If you love coffee, cocktails, or unique drinks, this beverage will impress you.

Next time you want a cocktail that can energize and relax you, try the Espresso Martini. It’s perfect for elevating your drink game. Cheers!

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