Espresso Martini Recipe: The Ultimate Coffee Cocktail

Espresso Martini Cocktail Recipe In celebration of this year's International Coffee Day, we bring you renowned bartender @mixologists_life's  take on the irresistible after-dinner cocktail, Espresso Martini! This guilty pleasure is foamy and bittersweet, an interesting selection for your next night out. 

Did You Know? ‘Espresso Martini Fest’ is a five-day festival held in London, Sydney and Melbourne that is dedicated solely to Espresso Martini. Share this trivia!

Espresso and liqueur blend so well in this recipe, it's as if it's a carefully made product from the collaboration of a barista and a bartender. You won't regret taking a sip of one of these! 

Espresso Martini Ingredients:

  • 1 shot Espresso 
  • 1 oz Kahlua 
  • 0.75 oz Butterscotch liqueur 
  • 1 oz Vanilla infused vodka 
  • 2 dashes Homemade Chinese five spice bitters
  • 1 dash Aztec chocolate bitters
  • Ice cubes 

Espresso Martini Preparation:

  1. Put ice cubes in a tall glass. 
  2. Add all the ingredients in the order in which they are listed above.
  3. Cover the glass with a shaker tin and shake vigorously.
  4. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with drops of Aztec chocolate bitters and serve.
Enjoyed making this drink? Share this recipe!

Did You Know? This recipe is best served with freshly prepaid espresso, but remember to let it cool. If you add ice to hot coffee, it will become very bitter. Share this trivia!

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Recipe Variations

This Espresso Martini isn’t too sweet unlike its earlier versions, as it’s become a perfect balance of flavors. But in case the sweet stuff still sounds too much for you, here are other recipes you may use as an alternative! 
  • Salted Caramel Espresso Martini - Mixologist Kurtis Bosley's game changing version takes out the butterscotch liqueur and throws in salted caramel syrup into the recipe. 
  • Spiced Rum Espresso Martini - A tasty rum or aged tequila is strong enough to be on par with espresso, giving the drink a sharp, powerful punch. 
  • Chocolate Espresso Martini- Drizzle chocolate syrup on your glass before pouring the mix and let yourself be surprised by how your favorite coffee cocktail has significantly improved!

Know Your Ingredients!

Listed below are the ingredients that make up this beverage's heavenly taste.
  • Espresso - Espresso coffee is made from brewing finely ground beans for a specific amount of time.Originally made from Italy.
  • Kahlua - Also coffee flavored but this time it's coffee liqueur, and it's produced in Mexico. 
  • Butterscotch liqueur - Literally the fusion of butterscotch and liqueur, as it’s made of brown sugar, butter and a spirit of neutral base.
  • Vanilla infused vodka - The type of vodka most suitable to mix with many cocktail recipes. You may also choose to infuse vanilla into vodka yourself
  • Homemade Chinese five spice bitters - As its name implies, this type of cocktail bitters is made by mixing five types of spices, namely Cloves, Fennel, Cinnamon, Szechuan, and Star Anise If you’d rather not prepare this yourself you may also grab a bottle of ready-made Chinese bitters
  • Aztec chocolate bitters- Bitters made of cocoa and other spices that enhance the flavor of the Espresso Martini. 

Bar Accessories 

You’re one step away from indulging in a delicious glass of Espresso Martini-all you need are the best quality bar equipment to prepare it!  
  • Cocktail Jigger - With this much ingredients in the recipe, we’re positive that you’d want to make sure they’re all measured properly so the flavors will be well balanced. For that, use a cocktail jigger! 
  • Shaker tin - Putting regular cups over the glass to mix the drink with isn’t a good idea. Better use a cocktail shaker so not a single drop of the cocktail would spill.
  • Cocktail Strainer - Keep your cocktail chilled without being bothered by the ice by using a cocktail strainer! 
  • Martini glass - The only right way to serve and drink an Espresso Martini is through the use of a martini glass.

The History 

Believe it or not, the stories you hear about the origins of this cocktail are real. On a fateful night in London, year 1983, a beautiful woman-who is said to be a supermodel now-walked into a bar asking for something that will keep her awake and get her drunk at the same time. In her own words, “wake me up and f*** me up”. British bartender Dick Bradsell, who was mixing drinks at Fred's Club that time, granted her request by combining sugar, vodka, espresso and coffee liqueur together creating the Pharmaceutical Stimulant, later renamed as the Espresso Martini.  Bradsell shared such delightful creation to other bars, and eventually everyone in Europe and Australia loved it. On the contrary, US was facing the Dark Ages for cocktails, so this drink didn't become that much of a hit, not to mention there were two other cocktails on the rise that gravely overshadowed it. But years passed, the drink evolved in one way or the other, and somehow Espresso Martini found its way on the menus of bars in the US. 

The Rise in Fame

Following the history mentioned earlier, Americans still seem to have a love-hate relationship with the Espresso Martini, as the said drink has gone on and off the charts. However, those from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York seem to have taken a liking to it. In the international scene, its popularity is slowly making its way up-by slowly we mean baby steps slowly-but we won't be surprised if one day it's in the Top Cocktails List, especially with Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, UK and Denmark all helping in lifting its ranks up. 

The Perfect Pair

If you think the food you have in mind goes well with coffee, then it most likely pairs with Espresso Martini, too. You can try serving desserts like moist chocolate cake and almond biscotti

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  We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Updated: October 4, 2019.

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