The History of the Espresso Martini and How to Make One at HomeNews

    Ever wondered how coffee mixed with liquor would taste? Try the espresso martini, a delicate fusion of coffee and cocktail. This drink transformed the coffee and cocktail industries with its unique combination. The espresso martini's unique history helped revolutionize the coffee and cocktail industry. But who knew that combining coffee and alcohol would produce such an exquisite drink everybody loves?

    Whether you enjoy coffee, cocktails, or both, this one's for you! This article looks at the espresso martini's origin, recipe, variations, and best practices for making it perfectly at home.

    What is the Espresso Martini? 

    The espresso martini is one of the unique coffee drink recipes you can create or serve at a café. It's a flavored cocktail made with coffee liqueur, espresso, and vodka. This cocktail has a high alcohol content, but the exact amount depends on the proportions of each ingredient used.

    An espresso martini typically contains around 20% alcohol by volume (ABV). Despite that, it's still decadent and creamy, and the espresso will perk you up after a long day!

    What is the Origin of Espresso Martini? 

    The espresso martini’s history began in 1983 when British bartender Dick Bradsell created the silky-smooth cocktail. It’s said that Bradwell invented the drink after a famous model entered the bar and asked him to make a cocktail that could wake her up. With a coffee machine within reach, he mixed vodka with espresso, coffee liqueur, and sugar. The result was a frothy, bittersweet concoction he dubbed as vodka espresso.

    In the 1990s, the drink was renamed Espresso Martini because people started using "martini" to describe a drink served in a V-shaped cocktail glass. Bradsell renamed the drink again in 1998 while serving patrons at the Pharmacy Bar in Notting Hill. This time, he called it Pharmaceutical Stimulant. Today, people still recognize the three names used to refer to this delectable cocktail.

    bartender preparing Espresso Martini on bar counter

    Espresso Martini Recipe 

    Now that you know the history of the espresso martini cocktail, let’s learn how to make it!

    The classic version of this drink features vodka, sugar syrup, two types of coffee liqueur, and espresso. You can buy all of these at a liquor or grocery store. Here’s how you can make it at home:

    Materials Needed:


    • ●  Vodka (50 mL)
    • ●  Coffee Liqueur (25 mL)
    • ●  Fresh Espresso (25 mL)
    • ●  Sugar Syrup (up to 15 mL)
    • ●  Ice Cubes
    • ●  Coffee Beans (Optional: 3 pieces for garnish)


    1. Chill the martini glass in the fridge
    2. Combine all ingredients in the shaker
    3. Add ice cubes to the shaker and shake strenuously for at least 20 seconds to create a foam
    4. Double strain into a chilled martini glass
    5. Finish the presentation with three coffee bean garnishes

    The best part about this cocktail is that it can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for later consumption. Simply combine all the ingredients, shake with ice, and pour the concoction into a martini glass when ready to serve.

    Espresso Martini Variations 

    So far, we’ve learned about the espresso martini's history and its recipe. But did you know that the classic recipe for espresso martini isn't the only version? As bartenders experimented with other liqueurs and ingredients, the espresso martini evolved and spawned different variations worldwide. Talk about the multiverse of espresso martinis, right?

    Here are some variations of espresso martini and their recipes:

    Two Irish Espresso Martinis garnished with three coffee beans each

    Irish Whiskey Espresso Martini 

    Give your espresso martini a fun twist by substituting vodka for Irish whiskey. This will provide hints of Irish coffee flavors in your cocktail.

    Here’s how you can make it:


    • ●  Irish Whiskey (1 ½ oz)
    • ●  Cooled Espresso (½ oz)
    • ●  Amaro (½ oz)
    • ●  Coffee Liqueur (½ oz)
    • ●  Coffee Beans (3 pieces for garnish)


    1. In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine the whiskey, espresso, amaro, and coffee liqueur
    2. Shake
    3. Pour into a martini glass
    4. Garnish with three coffee beans

    Icelandic Espresso Martini 

    Feel the taste of Icelandic cocktails in this next variation! The Icelandic espresso martini uses a vodka with origins from Iceland called Reyka. You can turn it into a sweeter concoction by adding simple syrup.

    To make this espresso martini variation, you’ll need:


    • ●  Reyka Vodka (2 oz)
    • ●  Espresso (1oz)
    • ●  Simple Syrup (½ oz)
    • ●  Coffee Beans (3 pieces for garnish)


    1. Put everything in a shaker full of ice and give it a good old-fashioned shake
    2. Pour into a martini glass
    3. Add three coffee beans as garnish
    Cold Refreshing Espresso Rumtini in a Coupe Glass

    Espresso Rumtini 

    Ever tried rum in coffee? While vodka blends quietly into the coffee flavors of an espresso martini, aged rum brings vanilla and spice flavors to the forefront.

    Make your espresso rumtini at home with this easy-to-follow recipe:


    • ●  Rum (1oz)
    • ●  Coffee Liqueur (1 oz)
    • ●  Espresso (1 oz)
    • ●  Syrup (½ oz)
    • ●  Coffee Beans (3 pieces for garnish)


    1. Mix everything in a cocktail shaker
    2. Shake it with ice
    3. Strain into a chilled martini glass
    4. Decorate with coffee beans

    Espresso Martini Tips 

    Making an espresso martini is simple, even if you don't have all the ingredients. Check out these tips and alternatives to some ingredients:

    • ●  Use freshly brewed espresso for the best flavor
    • ●  If you don't have a personal espresso maker machine, use strong instant, cold brew, or freshly brewed coffee instead
    • ●  Add more or less simple syrup to adjust the sweetness, or skip it altogether
    • ●  Increase the martini's visual appeal by spooning more foam over the top
    • ●  Use a vodka with a creamy, sweet, or savory flavor, such as vanilla, coffee, espresso, or whipped cream
    • ●  Replace coffee beans with cocoa powder as garnish
    • ●  Quickly strain the contents of the shaker into a chilled martini glass
    • ●  Adjust the ingredient proportions to your liking

    Enjoy Espresso Martinis Wherever You Are 

    The espresso martini is a fantastic cocktail with a fascinating history. And it gets even better as you make its variations using different liquors and ingredients. This timeless cocktail will satisfy your cravings whether you're throwing a party or just looking for something new to try.

    Ready to take your mixology skills to the next level? Get your cocktail shaker and start blending now!