How to make an Espresso Martini

What is an Espresso Martini?

Originally named the Vodka Espresso, the classic Espresso Martini cocktail was created in 1983 by bartender Dick Bradsell at the Soho Brasserie, London for a female guest when she asked for a drink that would “wake me up”.

The original recipe consisted of Vodka, Sugar Syrup (Gomme), Kahlua, Tia Maria and fresh Espresso coffee. Over the years Dick tweaked his recipe into the classic cocktail we know today: Vodka, Kahlua and fresh Espresso coffee, garnished with whole coffee beans.

How to make an espresso martini


How to make an Espresso Martini

We’ve opted for a classic, no messing Espresso Martini recipe but you can tweak to suit your taste buds (we’ve made some suggestions below). Using better quality ingredients will make for a better cocktail but equally you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy an Espresso Martini at home. We recommend using Absolut Original Vodka but you can use any good quality vodka.

Traditionally it’s served in a V-shaped martini glass or coupe and garnished with whole coffee beans.


Ingredients (Serves 1)


  • Shaker, ideally a Boston Shaker with Hawthorne Strainer
  • Cocktail strainer
  • Martini glass or Coupe


  1. Fill the shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Add the Vodka, Kahlua and Espresso.
  3. Shake until the ice has melted and there is a creamy foam on top.
  4. Double strain into a chilled glass and garnish with whole coffee beans.


Boston Shaker

How do I get a good foam on my Espresso Martini?

Shake, shake, shake! Make sure all the ice in the shaker has melted then strain and serve straight away! Be sure not to leave your cocktail sitting in the shaker for too long otherwise the air you’ve just incorporated will escape and the foam will collapse when you serve it.

Embrace your inner bartender with these two great tips for adding more volume and silkiness to your drink.

Egg Whites.
Add roughly ½ an egg white into the shaker with the other ingredients, then shake and serve as normal.
Only do this if you or your guests are comfortable drinking raw egg whites. Egg whites are virtually odourless and tasteless so they won’t affect the taste of your martini but will give a silky, creamy texture to the foam.

Pineapple Juice.
A dash of pineapple juice, and we mean only a dash! Too much pineapple juice can add unwanted flavour your cocktail. Pineapple juice can give stability to the layer of smooth foam on top of your cocktail.


Vodka Espresso

Variations of an Espresso Martini

It’s great to experiment and try new things so why shouldn’t you do the same with your Espresso Martini. There are so many options to personalise your coffee cocktail to suit personal preference (or whatever is in the back of the cupboard) here are a few ideas to kick things off…


Salted Caramel Espresso Martini

Why not try Kahlua Salted Caramel Liqueur for extra sweetness with a hint of bitterness.

Or, switch your vodka for Kin Toffee Vodka.


Coffee Martini with Tia Maria

Can I use Tia Maria in an Espresso Martini?

Yes. Tia Maria was a key ingredient in the original recipe so why not substitute the Kahlua for it, or add it in as well. Tia Maria is a coffee liqueur with Jamaican spiced Rum and vanilla that will give an extra depth of flavour and sweetness to your cocktail.


Can I use Baileys instead of Kahlua in an Espresso Martini?

Of course! Substituting Kahlua for Baileys will give your cocktail a seriously smooth and creamy finish. Baileys Original Irish Cream liqueur combines Irish whiskey, Irish dairy cream, rich chocolate and vanilla flavours which will make your Martini the ultimate after-dinner cocktail.


Can I use Gin in my Espresso Martini?

Absolutely! Sipsmith, London Gin producers have put their spin on the Espresso Martini by swapping Vodka for Gin.

A traditional Martini is made with Gin and Vermouth, so is this twist on the classic taking the Espresso Martini back to its original roots? We’ll let you decide.


“Espresso Martini” vs “Expresso Martini”

The Espresso Martini was given its name due to the shot (or shots) of fresh ground espresso coffee shaken together with coffee liqueur and vodka. The word “Espresso” comes from the Italian for “coffee brewed by forcing steam or hot water through finely ground roasted coffee.”  


Fancy making your own cocktail at home?

Why not enjoy with our Farrer’s Classic Espresso Blend Coffee.

Buy Farrer’s Coffee