Espresso Martini – fantastic after-dinner cocktail

Espresso Martini - Dark brown cocktail garnished with three coffee beans.


40 ml | 1 1/3 oz › Base Spirit
40 ml | 1 1/3 oz › Espresso Liqueur
40 ml | 1 1/3 oz › Espresso
10 ml | 1/3 oz › Simple Syrup

Method: Shaken
Garnish: Three coffee beans
Glass: Coupette

Shopping list

Gin – Sipsmith Zesty Orange
Whiskey – Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition
Brandy – Lustau Solera Reserva

Borghetti Espresso Liqueur

The history of the Espresso Martini

According to legend, the Espresso Martini was created in the late 1980s in „Fred’s Bar“ in London. A now famous model came into the bar where Dick Bradsell worked as a bartender and ordered a drink with the following words: „wake me up, and then fuck me up.“  After this order, an espresso martini was served for the first time in cocktail history. True story? Who knows. In any case, the espresso cocktail quickly became well-known and popular.

Over the years, recipes have changed. Today, there are twists that use less coffee liqueur. Other riffs work with additional liqueurs, such as hazelnut liqueur or crème de cacao. I like simple recipes and stick to the „three ingredients in three equal parts“ rule. Whether you use 30 ml or 40 ml each is up to you. If you find this combination too strong, you can add 10 ml of sugar syrup.

The ingredients for the Espresso Martini

Admittedly, I’m not a fan of vodka. I maintain that any aged spirit such as rum, whiskey or brandy will make the Espresso Martini more delicious. If you prefer clear spirits, I would of course recommend gin. Also nice.

Here are some of my favorites:
Gin: Sipsmith Zesty Orange
Whiskey: Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition
Brandy: Lustau Solera Reserva 

Which coffee liqueur in an Espresso Martini?

You can’t have an Espresso Martini without coffee liqueur: Bradsell uses a Kahlúa coffee liqueur in his original recipe. This is perhaps the best-known representative of its kind.

But you can make an Espresso Martini without Kahlua. If you don’t yet have a coffee liqueur in your home bar, I suggest the Italian Borghetti. Ever since bartender Denis Turco made me such a good espresso martini with this Borghetti during my visit to the Boilerman Bar in the 25 Hours Hotel in Hamburg, this liqueur has been my choice when it comes to intense flavor in an espresso martini.

The espresso. You don’t necessarily need a 1000 euro espresso machine like the ones you know from the ice cream parlors you visit. Smaller fully automatic machines or cheaper espresso machines can also produce a usable espresso. For example, the beginner’s model from DeLonghi, like the one I use. But it should be an espresso. Filter coffees do not belong in your espresso martini.

More modern classics?!

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