The College Housewife » Recipes » drinks » Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini

This Espresso Martini is a tall, dark and handsome coffee cocktail with a delicious foamy top and three coffee beans for garnish. It’s the perfect pick-me-up recipe to get the party started or finish out the night with friends!

two espresso martinis garnished with three coffee beans each

Why you’ll love this martini recipe

Strong and smooth! I like to think of this coffee martini as my strong and seriously dangerous sidekick. It’s one of those addicting cocktails that give you that special jolt of energy.

The perfect pick-you-up – anytime! I have probably had 6 espresso martinis in the last month! They are trending so hard at restaurants and the most perfect drink to start or end the night with. Serve it as the opening cocktail if you need a pick-me-up to get things going or end with if you need something to keep you going.

Casual and elegant! This martini recipe is super versatile, too. My friends go crazy when I serve it as a casual drink during happy hour, but it’s just as elegant to serve after a long dinner party. Your friends will light up after just one sip! I like to think of it as the little black dress of cocktails.

coffee cocktail garnished with three espresso beans

Ingredients for espresso martini

  • Vodka
  • Kahlua
  • Strong espresso or cold brew
  • Coffee beans

ounce measurement, vodka, kahlua, cold brew coffee

How to make an espresso martini

  1. Shake, shake, shake: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add in vodka, Kahlua, espresso and shake for 30 seconds. 
  2. Strain and serve: Strain into a martini glass and top with three coffee beans.

four step grid making espresso cocktail

How do you make an espresso martini extra frothy?

Freshly brewed espresso will give you an extra frothy, foamy top. If you have an at-home espresso machine, you’ll notice there is a thin layer of foam at the top once brewed (this velvety layer is called crema in Italian). When shaken vigorously, this gives you extra foam. Using instant coffee granules, French Press or drip coffee will not give you the same result.

If you don’t own an espresso machine, you can always go to your neighborhood coffee shop and get a few shots of espresso there. And if all else fails, store-bought cold brew is your next best option!

PRO TIP! If you’re up for the challenge and don’t have freshly brewed espresso, you could add 1/2 an egg white. It won’t alter the taste, but once shaken, you’ll end up with a beautiful layer of foam on the surface. The foam ensures the coffee beans float, too.

spooning foam into espresso martini

Servings suggestions

This is a two-fer coffee cocktail since it can be served either at the beginning or end of the night. Here’s how:

Happy Hour Cocktail: Make it a full-on Italian aperitivo and serve it with delicious, salty snacks like Mini Steak Frites or Sweet and Smoky Nuts.

After Dinner Drink: End an elegant night with friends and serve it with Tiramisu Layer Cake or Hot Chocolate Cake.

two espresso martinis garnished with three coffee beans each

Tips for the best coffee martini:

  • Espresso vs cold brew: Freshly brewed espresso works best, but you can use cold brew. Cold brew will give you a strong flavor, but not as much foam as the espresso.
  • Chill the espresso. Make sure to cool the espresso briefly if brewing it fresh or it will melt the ice too quickly (i.e. dilute the cocktail). Transfer it to a small bowl and stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to chill.
  • Make it extra foamy. Make sure to really shake the drink to create the foam top. To ensure I get the most foam, I like to spoon the foam on top after the drink has been poured and strained.
  • Add some sweetness. If you want a touch more sweetness, feel free to add 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) simple syrup. I would not add granulated sugar, as the granules will not dissolve in the cold liquid.

Espresso martini FAQ

What do the three coffee beans on top mean?

Fun fact! – The three coffee beans garnish is called La Mosca (the fly). It is meant to represent health, wealth and happiness! Cheers!

Can I use something else instead of Kahlua?

Although I recommend Kahlua for the best flavor, you can substitute it for any coffee liqueur. My second favorite is Tia Maria.

Bailey’s is another great sub, but keep in mind this is an Irish whiskey with cream, which will give the drink less of a coffee flavor. It will also make it creamy and lighter in color.

Looking for more martini recipes? Check these out!

If you make this Espresso Martini recipe, be sure to tag me on Pinterest and Instagram!

I seriously love seeing what you guys are making and sharing your creations with the College Housewife community!

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two espresso martinis garnished with three coffee beans each

Espresso Martini

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Cocktail Shaker
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This Espresso Martini is a tall, dark and handsome coffee cocktail with a delicious foamy top and three coffee beans for garnish. It’s the perfect pick-me-up recipe to get the party started or finish out the night with friends!


Ingredients

Scale

2 fl oz vodka

1 fl oz Kahlua

1 fl oz chilled strong espresso or cold brew

Coffee beans


Instructions

  1. Shake, shake, shake: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add in vodka, kahlua, espresso and shake for 30 seconds. 
  2. Strain and serve: Strain into a martini glass and top with three coffee beans.

Notes

If you would like it sweeter, add 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) simple syrup.

Keywords: coffee, liqueur, after dinner

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