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How to make the perfect Espresso Martini at home (video recipe)

This is for the big night in or even just to add a bit of flair as you welcome in the end of the working day or week. The Espresso Martini is timeless, it's class and it's super easy to turn into something special with the right ingredients. Here's a recipe we made with our friends at Mr Black to show you just how easy it can be.

As the story goes, London cocktail legend, Dick Bradsell, was busy revolutionising the cocktail world when in the late 80's, at Fred's Club - Soho, he received the now infamous request from a young model to make a drink that will "wake me up and then f*ck me up.' The result was the now iconic Espresso Martini. It's a favourite around the world but it is London's own. 

The beauty here is the simplicity but with three ingredients on the table there's also nowhere to hide. A coffee liqueur is almost a ready made cocktail in itself and if you've had an espresso martini in the past that was cloyingly sweet, or offensively bland then chances are 60% of your problem was the liqueur. Traditional espresso liqueurs (you know who you are) are all about the sugar not the coffee but Mr. Black flip this and put taste first. Made with half the sugar and 100% specialty grade, cold brewed, arabica coffee it not only tastes better but supports the specialty coffee trade model too.

Then you've got the coffee. We love the pairing of nutty, chocolatey caramel flavours you find in coffees from central and South America so would lean towards something like The Mount Blend or Fullsteam Espresso or our composable pods which have a prominent chocolate nuttiness. The key is how you brew it here though: 

  • On one hand we need a strong concentration of coffee brew to balance the coffee flavour with the liqueur so the booze doesn't dominate.
  • On the other - deeper roasts and more concentrated brews extract rich oils from the coffee that add to the silky texture and mouthfeel of an espresso martini. 

With this is mind, of course espresso is ideal, but you can make amazing espresso martinis with the coffee pods and a strongly brewed moka pot works perfectly for the home too.

Pro tip - keep your cocktail glasses in the freezer prior to serving then take out just before you serve. There's nothing less 'cool' than a warm espresso martini. 


Espresso Martini Recipe:



  1. Get your coffee brewed strong. Whatever method you're using add slightly more coffee than usual and make sure it's ground fine. Let's get all of the flavour and oils out. We want it to be hot when it goes into the drink to keep all the flavours and texture from evaporating. 
  2. Into a shaker add the Mr. Black Liqueur, vodka, coffee and ice. 
  3. Fix the lid and shake hard. 
  4. Pour through a strainer into a cold serving glass.
  5. Garnish with three coffee beans (2 & 4 are bad luck in the bartending world!)
  6. Drink up


What is in an espresso martini?

Traditionally an espresso martini is made with 45ml vodka, 20ml coffee liqueur and 30ml fresh espresso shaken with ice then strained into a chilled glass. In the recipe above we've opted to up the amount of coffee liqueur given that it's lower in sugar (traditional liqueurs can be overbearing at high quantities), is made with high quality coffee and already contains Vodka. 

How many units is in an espresso martini?

An espresso martini made with traditional measures is 1.5 units of alcohol. In this recipe we've upped the amount of Liqueur (25% abv) and removed vodka which equals a final drink equivalent to 1.5 units also. 

How to make an espresso martini frothy?

Make sure your coffee is made using a concentrated brew method such as espresso, coffee pods or moka then add it to the cocktail shaker while still hot. Concentrated coffee brew methods have a higher percentage of suspended coffee solids as a ratio to water which means a more viscous, oily coffee liquid. Add the coffee when it's hot so that the oils can blend with the sugar in the liqueur and then shake hard to add some air. 

How many calories in an espresso martini?

There are approximately 175 calories in the Espresso Martini recipe listed above. Note that this recipe uses 3 times the proportions Coffee Liqueur (containing Vodka) in place of separately adding Vodka. To make the recipe using 20ml of Coffee Liqueur and 45ml of straight Vodka would result in a finished drink with 155 calories per serving. 

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