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Espresso Martini

December 18, 2023

Strong coffee shaken with vodka, a pinch of salt, and a coffee liquor make for an elegant afternoon pick-me-up!


3 espresso martinis garnished with coffee beans on the counter
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Our Best Espresso Martini Recipe

This balanced cocktail is making a comeback – maybe because it’s quintessentially beautiful, with the two distinct layers: the first is intense, dark, and bitter, paired with the second slightly sweet, foamy crema. It’s smooth, aromatic, and the almost chocolatey flavor is indulgent without being too sweet or over-the-top. The pinch of salt rounds out the flavor, making you come back sip after sip. With only 5 ingredients, it’s ideal around the holidays! To make this martini espresso for a group, simply multiply the ingredients by the number of people in your party and batch the espresso in advance to chill.

vodka, kahlua, espresso, salt and coffee beans on the counter to make an espresso martini

What's In An Espresso Martini…

A timeless and simple cocktail, you’re probably wondering what liquor is best for an espresso martini. The classic martini usually contains vodka and vermouth, and for a twist, sometimes gin. Kahlua also makes an appearance with an underlying complexity to the coffee flavor, but feel free to use your favorite coffee liquor! If you’re a fan of the rich coffee flavor of Kahlua, check out our White Russian recipe.

In our espresso martini recipe, we use:

  • Vodka

  • Kahlua (or another coffee liqueur like Tia Maria…)

  • Hot espresso (or prepared instant coffee)

  • Pinch of salt

  • Coffee beans to garnish

an espresso martini being poured over ice into a cocktail shaker made with vodka, Kahlua, espresso and salt

How to Make an Espresso Martini

Follow these simple step-by-step instructions below for an easy original espresso martini recipe:

  1. Mix it up! Add all the ingredients to the shaker except the coffee beans! Pro Tip: If you have time, chill the espresso and shaker before for the ultimate foamy layer.

  2. Shake! Cover the shaker, and tap the back to ensure it’s in place before you start shaking. Shake vigorously for 45 seconds to create a thick foam.

  3. Garnish! Strain and pour into a coupe glass. The layers will separate. Gently place two coffee beans on top.

an espresso martini being poured from a cocktail shaker into a martini glass next to a bowl of coffee beans for garnishing
an espresso martini garnished with 2 coffee beans next to a bowl of additional coffee beans

How To Serve an Espresso Martini

There are a variety of occasions when an espresso martini is ideal: think boozy brunch, aperitivo hour, or even with dessert! For brunch, we like to pair it with hearty Belgian Waffles, a classic Eggs Benedict, or a Croque Monsieur. For apres hour, we like to pair our espresso martinis with Herbed Flatbread with Whipped Feta, A Perfect Cheese Board or Focaccia, and The Best Tomato Salad. It also makes for the perfect after-dinner pick-me-up beverage: part coffee and part cocktail. A delicious dessert pairing like Classic Brownies, Bailey’s Chocolate Bundt Cake, Salty Dark and Milk Chocolate Skillet Cookie, or, of course, Easy Tiramisu.

Tools You’ll Need for Best Espresso Martini

Our Favorite Cocktails!

Add some excitement to your menus! We’ve pulled four of our favorites, one which can be adjusted without alcohol:

3 espresso martinis on the counter surrounded by bottles of vodka and kahlua and a bowl of coffee beans for garnishing


Enjoy this smooth espresso martini with your family and friends! How did they turn out? Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

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Espresso Martini

  • Serves: 1
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  0 min
  • Calories: 236


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1½ ounces Kahlua or coffee liqueur
  • 1 ounce espresso or instant coffee
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 coffee beans, for garnish


  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the vodka, Kahlua, espresso, and salt. Cover and shake vigorously for 45 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Wait for foam to rise to the top, then garnish with coffee beans before serving.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories236
  • Protein0 g
  • Carbohydrates16 g
  • Total Fat0 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium150 mg
  • Total Sugars16 g

Espresso Martini

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Susan

    How many ounces makes a serving

    This recipe is 1 serving so it would be 4.5 ounces.

  • Kate

    I served this at a party and it was so good. Everyone asked for the recipe!

    Thanks Kate, so happy everyone loved it!