Espresso Martini Cocktail

The espresso martini started gaining traction in the 1980s and was a bar scene staple by the 90s (its alter ego cocktail, The Cosmo, was racing up the charts at the same time!).  The drink was invented by renowned British bartender Dick Bradsell in London at a restaurant called Fred’s Club.   The story goes that a top model asked Bradsell for a drink that would “wake me up and *bleep* me up” at the same time.  The caffeinated result: the espresso martini.

Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini Ingredients

Coffee liqueur – while Kahlua is the most commonly used coffee liquor there are a whole lot out there to choose from.  Tia Maria is another popular and easily available coffee liqueur brand.

Chilled Espresso Coffee – Sometimes mixologists use a cold brew concentrate, like the one from La Columbe or Starbucks, and that’s what I used.  Skip powdered espresso for this drink, which just won’t have the same level of flavor and quality.  And while I might try this with decaf coffee for myself, I don’t know that anyone else would see the point of a decaf espresso martini. Otherwise you can pick up an iced espresso from your favorite coffee shop, or buy premade espresso at a grocery store or online. 

If you have an espresso machine and can make your own espresso, that’s the very best route.  Just make sure you have time to chill the espresso so that it’s very cold before missing it with the other cocktail ingredients.  If you want to speed up the coffee chilling process, just put it in the freezer!

Espresso Martini

Vodka – pairs perfectly with the coffee flavors of the drink.  Use your favorite brand.  But also think about trying cognac or whiskey instead of the vodka – you can choose which spirit you’d like to use to give your martini some kick.  Most classic martinis call for vodka or gin, but the strong flavors of the coffee and the coffee liqueur are well suited to a brown liquor as the base.  

Chilled Martini Glass

Since all martinis, especially an espresso martini, are best when served very cold, it’s a nice thought to chill your glasses first.  You can do this by putting them in the freezer or the fridge, whichever you have room for.  15 to 30 minutes is plenty of time to get your glasses nice and chilled.

Espresso Martini

What Makes an Espresso Martini Frothy?

A lot of shaking in a chilled cocktail shaker (or other chilled sealed container) with ice.   You want to shake the dickens out of the martini in the cocktail shaker.  This will not only chill the drink thoroughly (very important), it also creates that nice froth foam on top.  Pour the cocktail into the glass and serve it quickly after you finish shaking it up to get the nicest foamy top layer.  The shaking will also give the cocktail a creamy texture.

Coffee Beans to Garnish

A common garnish for an espresso martini are coffee beans.  And you may notice that often there are three coffee beans floating around on top of your cocktail.  This is because in Italy a coffee liqueur called Sambuca was often served with three coffee beans in a little triangle shape, a symbol called La Mosca (“the fly”) representing health, wealth and happiness.  

Espresso Martini: This drink was apparently invented to wake you up, and “bleep” you up! Creamy, smooth and packing a caffeine kick.

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Espresso Martini

How to Rim an Espresso Martini Glass

If you want to ramp up your presentation, nothing makes a drink look more “mixologist”-ey than rimming the glass with something fun and tasty that complements the cocktail. For an espresso martini, you can consider rimming the edges of the glass with finely grated chocolate shavings.  Simply grate a few tablespoons of semisweet or dark chocolate onto a small plate using a microplane or small holed grater.  

When you take the glass from the freezer it should have some condensation on it, or you can dip the edges of the top of the glass into water.  Then roll the rim of the glass in the chocolate shavings, until the chocolate reaches all around the edge.  Shake the cocktail vigorously, fill the glass, garnish and serve immediately.

How to Make an Espresso Martini

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add the cognac, coffee liqueur, espresso, and simple syrup.  

Espresso Martini

Cover the shaker and shake vigorously until the cocktail is foamy and very cold, about 45 seconds. 

Espresso Martini

Strain into a martini glass.  

Espresso Martini

Twist the orange zest strip over the drink, and drape it over the glass.  Float the coffee beans in the drink and serve immediately while the top is still frothy.

What to Serve with Espresso Martinis

SInce there is sweetness to this drink, it pairs well with dessert type foods. Try:

Espresso Martini

Other Cocktail Recipes:

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Espresso Martini

This drink was apparently invented to wake you up, and "bleep" you up!
Yield: 2 People
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) vodka
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) coffee liquor , such as Kahlua
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) chilled espresso
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup , or to taste
  • Strip of orange zest and coffee beans , for garnish

Directions

  • Chill 2 martini glasses first if possible (see Note).
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the cognac, coffee liqueur, espresso, and simple syrup. Cover the shaker and shake vigorously until the cocktail is foamy and very cold, about 45 seconds. Strain into a martini glass. Twist the orange zest strip over the drink, and drape it over the glass. Float the coffee beans in the drink and serve immediately while the top is still frothy.

Notes

Martinis are best when served very cold, it’s a nice touch to chill your glasses first. You can do this by putting them in the freezer or the fridge, whichever you have room for. 15 to 30 minutes is plenty of time to get your glasses nice and chilled.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 35mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.2mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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