What is in an Espresso Martini? All You Need To Know

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hThere are many ways to make the perfect espresso martini, and every bartender will have their own special spin on the classic, boozy recipe. For us coffee lovers, it’s a combination of all the things that make us feel great – you have alcohol, style, and espresso most importantly. In this article, we cover the details of what is in an Espresso Martini. Let’s get started!

The Art Of Espresso Martinis

Curious how to concoct the perfect espresso martini? It’s not too difficult of a drink to make, but to truly master it, there are a few steps and some practicing involved. Don’t worry – you’re about to learn all you need to know about these fabulous cocktails!

Making cocktails, especially ones that look as sophisticated and professional as the espresso martini, can seem much harder than it really is. Once you’ve made a few, you’ll find a way that works best for you. The art of creating amazing drinks, alcoholic or otherwise, is just to find the best taste combinations and flavors you enjoy most and put them together. Espresso martinis are no harder than perfecting a latte or cappuccino, so if you can handle that, you’re all set for this task, too.

Espresso Martini Ingredient List

From its name, you can pretty much imagine what all will go into an espresso martini. You’ve got your core ingredients of coffee and alcohol, maybe a little bit of garnish, and viola! But is it really that easy? Let’s walk through each special component of the cocktail, and give some nice suggestions for which ingredients to use to make it perfect to your liking.


Naturally, the most important part of the martini is your coffee element. You’ll need the espresso to put this drink apart from other coffee-flavored drinks, such as the classic White Russian. The espresso element in this cocktail helps give the drink that boost of energy with the high caffeine content while also putting a very specific, strong taste of coffee into your beverage.


So, you’ll want some nice espresso, preferably cold. This is a drink that is meant to be enjoyed chilled, like most alcoholic cocktails. Create your preferred amount of espresso, and set aside while you gather the rest of the ingredients.

Coffee Liqueur

Next up, you need your coffee-flavored alcohol. Kahlua is a very popular choice, and what is most commonly found in espresso martini recipes. It’s classic, solid, and you can’t go wrong – but it’s not your only option. Kamora, Bailey’s, and Tia Maria are all great options if you want to jazz up the recipe into something more unique and modern!


Of course you can never have a martini without a healthy dose of vodka involved! The type of vodka you choose isn’t really important, but it’s recommended you stick with some of the known quality brands of vodka. A few popular choices for an espresso martini include:

  • Grey Goose
  • Absolut
  • Svedka
  • Titos
  • New Amsterdam

This is the ingredient that gets you that happy little buzz on top of your caffeine rush.


Some recipes forgo this ingredient entirely, but personally, it should be considered at the very least unless you want something strong enough to wake a sailor. You don’t have to be fancy with this part – something as easy as simple syrup will do the trick!

This can also be where more Bailey’s can come into play, since they have a few different fun flavored creme liqueurs out there to try. White creme de cacao or one of Dekuyper’s cream based liqueurs would work well, too, for an even more boozy treat to enjoy.


Since this is a cold drink, you’ll want enough ice on hand to put in your shaker. I find smaller, crushed ice pieces work better than giant cubes, but it’s really up to whatever your preference is and what you have on hand.

Garnish (Optional)

Many people, especially those ritzy bartenders in nice establishments, like to garnish the martini with a few cute coffee beans or a pretty design on the top. This isn’t really an ingredient, nor does it affect the taste, but if you’re prepping for a party or hoping to show off… it’s a chance to dazzle a bit!

How To Make An Espresso Martini

There is one essential part of creating an espresso martini, as you may have imagined. You’ll need an espresso maker before you can even get started. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just enough to get you that caffeinated boost of coffee that we all have come to crave and love.

How To Make An Espresso Martini

You’ll also need some cute cocktail glasses. Does this enhance the flavor? Well, we do devour with the eyes first!

And finally… the booze! Use a cocktail shaker to mix the ingredients together for about 10 seconds, and strain it into your cocktail glass. Depending on your taste, choose how much of each ingredient you want in your espresso martini.

A few popular ways to mix your ingredients are equal parts of alcohol and espresso, or two parts vodka, one part of coffee liqueur, and one part espresso. You’ll need to adjust the recipe to your taste, but here is a great suggestion for getting started to ensure you don’t blast your tastebuds off:

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz coffee liqueur
  • 1 shot of espresso
  • ½ oz sweetener

Shake it well, using ice fresh from the freezer to avoid any melty coffee taste, and pour over a thin sieve. This last step is important to keep that delicious frothy foam intact on the top of your martini for the best look possible.