How to Make an Espresso Martini

Espresso martinis are having a bit of a revival this year, and I’m pleased to say this is a trend I was actually prepared for. We discovered (rediscovered?) an affinity for espresso martinis on our honeymoon trip in 2019, where our first hotel offered a 2-for-1 martini happy hour and we sampled many fancy flavors on the menu.

There are only 3 ingredients in my household espresso martini, so in the words of legend Ina Garten, I recommend you use “good” ingredients.

What you will need, per drink:

  • 1 part Kahlua coffee liqueur
  • 1 part nice quality vodka
  • 1 part nice strong espresso, cooled

I am a purist with the Kahlua – other brands of coffee liqueur are weaker or may be light in coffee flavor rather than a rich, bold flavor with just enough sugar. I also use this for baking. You can get a mini bottle or small size to try first if you prefer. To be more specific on the other ingredients, I typically use Tito’s vodka and a single classic Nespresso pod (strength 9-12). “1 part” is typically 1 jigger measure, or just about 2 oz, of each ingredient. You can typically get 2 drinks worth of espresso from a single Nespresso pod.

Fill a cocktail shaker about 1/3-1/2 full with ice (for 2 or 1 cocktails, respectively). Add ingredients to shaker, add lid, and shake to mix. Pour into a martini glass and serve!

Fun tips:

  • Give your shaker a vigorous shake to naturally get some air in and create that foamy top of your cocktail once poured.
  • Top your drink with some chocolate shavings or an espresso bean to be fancy!
  • Use 1 or 1.5 oz measures per part or a different glass if you are prone to spilling martini glasses.
  • Try subbing in another alcohol to your preference! In a surprise twist, my taste testers gave a solid thumbs up to a tequila espresso martini.
  • If you’re impatient cooling your espresso, shake it with ice alone first then strain before the ice melts and waters it down. Or try a prepared HyperChiller to cool the hot liquid in seconds! Note only 1 cocktail will fit in the HyperChiller.
  • Try different recipes with the Kahlua – whether cocktails or desserts. This Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake is pretty delicious.

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