The humble espresso martini is a staple on any cocktail menu worth its salt. This rich, creamy and indulgent cocktail is perfect for an after-dinner drink or for when you need a little pick-me-up. Read on to learn more about this delicious cocktail and how to master crafting one of your own.
The History of the Espresso Martini
Though many have claimed to be the inventor of this modern classic, credit widely goes back to the 1980s to London-based bartender Dick Bradsell. Bradsell tells that one night, a young supermodel approached the bar and asked for a cocktail containing coffee, something to wake her up. His response was to mix vodka, sugar, coffee liqueur, and a shot of fresh espresso, which he pulled from the bar’s machine. He shook it with ice and served it in a martini glass.
Needless to say, the concoction became an instant hit and was soon being shaken in bars regularly across the world. Since the cocktail does not contain gin nor vermouth, it’s not classed as a true martini, but since it was always served in a martini glass, the name stuck.
Recipe – How to Make
For this velvety and luxurious cocktail, you’ll need all the ingredients listed below, plus a cocktail shaker, measuring glass, and a martini glass.
Espresso Martini Recipe
- 1 ½ Ounces Vodka
- 1 Ounce Fresh Espresso
- 3 ¼ Ounces Coffee Liqueur
- ½ Ounce Simple Syrup
- 2 Drops Vanilla Extract
- 3 Coffee Beans for Garnish
- Add all the ingredients into a shaker, then fill with ice
- Shake hard for about 30 seconds, make sure to shake well, as this is what creates the froth
- Double strain into your glass. You can use a sieve to double strain in one pour
- Garnish the froth with three coffee beans
The quality of the coffee used can really make or break this cocktail. Instant coffee will not suffice. A shot straight from the espresso machine will ensure a great flavor, aroma, and texture.
Shake, shake, shake
The sign of a good coffee is the crema on top, and it’s the same with this cocktail. The crema is the silky layer of foamy bubbles that sit on top of the liquid. Like the head on a good pour of beer, it’s through this crema that we sip the rest of the drink. Crema is a result of aeration, and the best way to achieve this is to really shake that shaker hard.
The quality of the vodka can play a big role in the final product. The higher the quality, the more flavor your cocktail will have.
Chill your glass before pouring by filling it with ice cubes. Otherwise, it will affect the perfect temperature of your freshly shaken cocktail.
There are many variations of this classic cocktail, adding different flavors and alcohols. Here are two of our favorites.
Flat White Martini
Swap out the coffee liqueur for Baileys and change the recipe to 50ml Baileys, 25ml vodka, 25ml espresso.
Irish Coffee Martini
In this variation, we swap the vodka for an Irish whiskey. The best mix is 1 part Irish whiskey, 1 part coffee liqueur, and 1 part espresso.
This classic beverage is an easy one to master and is perfect for any coffee enthusiast.