How to Make an Espresso Martini: A Step-by-Step Recipe

On a marble table, a bottle of Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur and coffee cocktails.

Shake up your weekend with an espresso martini! This versatile classic can be enjoyed after a meal or at your next brunch. Crafting this caffeinated concoction from home is simple, thanks to Curiada liquors and our easy-to-follow espresso martini recipe. Experimenting with flavor variations is part of the fun—all you need are some basic ingredients for a great “night out” in true cocktail fashion!

What is an Espresso Martini Cocktail?

Legend tells that once upon a time in London, a bartender named Dick Bradsell got a special request. A supermodel asked him to make her something to “wake me up and <mess> me up.” (Insert a less delicate word back there and you get the picture.) He thought for a moment, then whipped together a new concoction: espresso shaken with vodka and ice. And he sprinkled a few coffee beans atop the foam for good measure. 

Flash forward a few decades, and it’s now a worldwide staple. Beloved for its elegant aesthetic and simplicity, it’s become all the rage to order at bars and enjoy at home. With its smooth and slightly sweet taste, it’s no wonder this cocktail has become such a favorite. Whether hosting an intimate gathering or a large celebration, the espresso martini is sure to be a hit. Its mix of strong coffee and vodka delights on any occasion.

So, what is in an espresso martini? There are four main ingredients for espresso martini cocktails: espresso (or coffee or cold brew concentrate), vodka, coffee liqueur, and ice. You may also add simple syrup for sweetness and coffee beans as a garnish. 

Ingredients for an Espresso Martini

Serving size: one cocktail 

  • 1 ounce espresso, coffee, or cold brew concentrate: Bartender’s Coffee Original Blend is created specifically for coffee-based cocktails and espresso martinis. 
  • 2 ounces vodka: Appropriately-named Good Vodka is the perfect choice for an espresso martini because it’s made from surplus coffee that would otherwise be discarded. Plus, it’s carbon-neutral!
  • ½ ounce coffee liqueur: For a Mr. Black espresso martini recipe, you’ll need Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur, of course. The best coffee liqueur for espresso martini cocktails harnesses the power of caffeine without too much added sugar. Mr. Black has 10x the caffeine and half the sugar of industry standards. All-natural, rich, and bold flavors come from the three types of Arabica coffee beans used in its production. 
  • Ice cubes: Use cubes (not crushed ice) 
  • ½ ounce simple syrup (optional or to taste): Try Liber & Co. Classic Gum Syrup, a simple syrup with Gum Arabic (a resin from the Acacia tree). It blends beautifully with any cocktail and provides a welcome depth to basic simple syrup.
  • For a traditional garnish, add three coffee beans

How to Make an Espresso Martini

Gather your supplies and ingredients. In addition to the espresso martini ingredients listed above, you will need a shaker and a martini glass.

  1. Chill the martini glass.
  2. Make the espresso or coffee and let it cool.
  3. Put ice into the shaker. Add the espresso (or coffee or cold brew concentrate), vodka, simple syrup, and coffee liqueur. Shake vigorously. (Sub-par shaking and/or a too-slow pour may lead to foam that is less than frothy!)
  4. Strain the mixture into the glass.
  5. Place the three coffee beans on top of the foam.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Tips for the Perfect Espresso Martini

We hope you’re inspired to craft homemade espresso martinis for yourself or others; they are sure to become a favorite! Here are a few more tips to ensure success:

  • To cool freshly prepared coffee, briefly pop it in the freezer before mixing it with other ingredients. Don’t add ice, as that waters it down.
  • For best results, don't use instant coffee as it's not ideal for this drink.
  • You can make your own simple syrup by boiling equal parts sugar and water. Make sure it is fully cooled before adding homemade simple syrup to your espresso martini. For a less sweet cocktail, go ahead and skip the syrup.
  • Remember to shake well, as this ensures the foam will rise to the top.
  • The coffee beans, as mentioned, are just for fun. Tradition states that the three beans represent happiness, wealth, and health!
  • If your espresso martini is to be enjoyed after dinner, consider pairing it with a lovely dessert!

Get Espresso Martini Recipe Ingredients from Curiada

To get the best liquors, liqueurs, and other cocktail essentials, Curiada is your one-stop online shop. We’ve curated quality spirits and syrups that are hard to find anywhere else. Get everything you need to create the best espresso martini recipe and spirits like craft whiskey, rare rum, and artisanal tequila delivered right to your door. Our Coffee Lovers’ Collection features all the espresso martini ingredients in one place, including our Coconut Espresso Martini Kit and the Ultimate Espresso Martini Gift Set. Enjoy!

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