We love a good espresso martini. The chocolatey sweetness, creamy mouthfeel, the heat of the liqueur all topped off with that buzz of caffeine. In this blog post we share three of our favourite espresso martini recipes; the classic espresso martini, a quick espresso martini and our favourite coffee cocktail of the summer, a Funka espresso martini.
What is an espresso martini and how do you make one?
An espresso martini is a staple of so many cocktail menus, that it may surprise you to learn that it actually only dates back to the 1980s when it was created by Dick Bradsell, a bartender at the Soho Brasserie in London.
One of the things we love most about his recipe is how easy it is to make. Not too many ingredients, not too much equipment required. Easy to make at home using regular items from your kitchen cupboard and a real crowd pleaser.
The original espresso martini is just 3 ingredients: vodka, espresso and coffee liqueur, but as you'll see in this blog the espresso martini has been adapted over time and may be made simpler or more complex!
As with all recipes, the quality of your ingredients will have the biggest impact on the final result. We’ve given recommendations for ingredients, our favourite coffees to use as well as go-to spirits which we like to use.
Of course, you may substitute these with others but where possible, do invest in quality spirits as it really will make a difference.
What coffee should I use to make espresso martini?
You should choose a medium roast or espresso roast coffee. This should be brewed as a short, strong drink. A shot of espresso made using an espresso machine is perfect but if you don't have an espresso machine you could also use a mokka pot or an Aeropress using the classic Aeropress brew method. (Check out our Aeropress brew guide for instructions on how to do this.)
We like to choose natural-process coffees and honey-process coffees when making espresso martinis (any coffee cocktail in fact!). The ways that these coffees are processed imparts an intense sweetness, strong fruit flavours and sometimes boozy flavour notes into the coffees which we think work beautifully in coffee cocktails.
What should I use to garnish an espresso martini?
A final note on garnishing your coffee cocktail. The rule for espresso martinis is generally to garnish with three coffee beans. One for health. One for wealth. And one for happiness.
How to make a classic espresso martini
There's something to be said for making time to carefully prepare and serve a drink (alcoholic or not). The classic Espresso Martini is hard to beat and the recipe is super easy to remember; 1:1:1 - equal parts of vodka, coffee liqueur and espresso.
As we mentioned at the start of the post, quality matters and that includes the quality of your vodka. We particularly like milk vodka for espresso martinis as their smooth and creamy taste vodka blends perfectly with kahlua and a quality espresso. In this recipe, we use Black Cow Vodka, a sustainably made vodka made using the leftover whey from cheesemaking down in Dorset.
You can use any espresso for this recipe. We like using a honey-process or natural-process coffee something like Betty or, when available, Funka is great. A natural process coffee will have a slightly boozy and juicy flavour profile which perfectly compliments the sweetness of the coffee liqueur.
For our coffee liqueur we've chosen Tia Maria but you could also use Kahlua or another coffee liqueur.
What you need
- 50ml Black Cow Vodka
- 50ml Tia Maria
- 50ml espresso
- Cocktail shaker (a large jar and lid will do)
- Spirit measure (or a measuring jug)
- First, brew your espresso. If you have an espresso machine, pull a double shot of espresso. If you don’t have an espresso machine you can use a mokka pot, or an aeropress using a fine grind and a fast plunge.
- Fill your cocktail shaker with ice then add 50ml Black Cow Vodka, 50ml Tia Maria and finally your 50ml espresso. Make sure the lid is on (otherwise you'll be cleaning espresso martini off the kitchen walls!) and shake.
- Once shaken, slowly pour and strain (use a cocktail strainer or a seive) into a martini glass. Take your time. A slow pour will mean you get more beautiful foam on the top of your cocktail.
- Garnish with three beans and serve.
How to make a quick espresso martini
In this recipe we've simplified things. If you're looking for an espresso martini recipe which is super quick and easy, or if don't have a way of making espresso at home, this is the recipe for you.
It may surprise you that an espresso martini doesn't have to be made of espresso. A cold brew coffee liqueur is a super-quick espresso martini ready to go.
We spent months refining our own cold brew coffee liqueur with our friend Shaun from
Wardington's distillery in Shropshire. (a hard job... but someone had to do it!). The result was Project X Coffee Liqueur, a delicious cold-brew liqueur which is so good it was awarded two stars in the Great Taste Awards and silver in the London Spirits Competition.
Project X is made using our Peruvian filter coffee, Project Peru. Ethically sourced from Sol y Cafe, an organic cooperative in the northern mountains of Peru in Jaen. These farmers grow in some of the most remote conditions in the world. Extract selects a group of about 50 farmers, producing coffee of the highest quality for our Project Peru filter coffee.
- Project X Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
- Cocktail Shaker (or a jam jar)
- Pour Project X into a cocktail shaker with ice (a jam jar works fine if you’re improvising at home)
- Shake well, then slowly pour into a martini glass
- Garnish with three coffee beans.
How to make a Funka espresso martini
We think our summer espresso, Funka makes an epic espresso martini. This year, Extract Account Manager, Martin has jazzed up the classic espresso martini to create this mouthwatering coffee cocktail.
This year's Funka is a natural process espresso from Uganda. Head Roasters, Tommy has roasted it to perfection bringing out sweet notes of damson jam, candied pecans and sticky sweet bubblegum.
Martin has built on the sticky-sweet flavours in the coffee by using pineapple rum instead of vodka, and tropical juice and agave syrup in place of coffee liqueur.
It's unconventional. It's delicious. It's funky and we love it.
- 20ml of tropical fruit juice (we used Star fruit)
- 15ml dark agave syrup
- 50ml Plantation Pineapple Rum
- 40ml Funka espresso
- Cocktail Shaker (or a jam jar)
- Rose petals (to garnish)
- Measure and pour tropical fruit juice, agave syrup, rum and espresso into a coffee shaker over ice.
- Check the lid is on. (always check this before you shake!)
- Shake vigorously for 20 seconds to create loads of creamy foam. Double strain into a chilled coup glass for smooth texture.
- Garnish with rose petals.
All that reading left you thirsty?
Head over to our shop to take a look at our newest coffees.