Cocktail Recipes

How to Make an Espresso Martini

A good espresso martini is the perfect digestif and one of the nation’s favourite cocktails. The coffee-based drink is easy to make and effortless to enjoy, so it’s not surprising it has become such a classic.

The classic espresso martini is made with vodka, but there are so many variations of this iconic cocktail drink, you don’t need to like vodka to enjoy a smooth, coffee-flavoured martini…

Read on to discover everything you need to know about espresso martinis, including four different espresso martini recipes that show this classic cocktail in a new light.

Who invented the Espresso Martini?

The first espresso martini was made in London in the 1980s, when a model asked bartender Dick Bradsell, to wake them up. Bradsell’s first mixture combined vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur and sugar, and was initially called a ‘vodka espresso’. The drink was later renamed the espresso martini because of the glass it’s served in.

Fast forward to today and the espresso martini is a mainstay of cocktail menus around the world. Additionally, the drink has many variations; including chocolate and salted caramel flavoured espresso martinis.

How to make a classic Espresso Martini

This recipe is for the original espresso martini – the drink seen on cocktail menus around the world since the 1980s. This particular recipe is elevated by the quality of the Reyka vodka at the heart of it. Reyka is a small-batch Icelandic vodka that’s made with glacial spring water and distilled in a Carter-Head still for unparalleled smoothness.


  • 50ml Reyka Vodka
  • 25ml espresso
  • 5ml simple syrup
  • 3 coffee beans to garnish


  • Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake
  • Strain into a martini glass
  • Garnish with the coffee beans

What is simple syrup?

Simple syrup is made by dissolving sugar in an equal amount of hot water, e.g. 100g sugar in 100ml water.

Espresso Martini with Vermouth recipe

Level up your espresso martini with Discarded Cascara Vermouth, which is made using the leftover fruit from harvesting coffee beans. The vermouth adds a rich fruitiness to the already bold espresso martini recipe.



  • Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice
  • Strain into a chilled coupe glass
  • Garnish with ground coffee

What is spent coffee liqueur?

Spent coffee liqueur is made by infusing liqueur, e.g. vodka, with used coffee grounds and sugar – make your own coffee liqueur using the steps below:

  • Collect and weight 250g used coffee grounds
  • Mix in 250g of sugar and leave over night – the sugar will macerate and draw out the oils from the coffee
  • Add 250ml boiling water
  • Stir until the sugar is dissolved
  • Leave the mixture to cool completely
  • Pass the mixture through a coffee filter  – the strained mixture will make coffee syrup
  • Add 250ml vodka
  • Done – your spent coffee liqueur will last for around a month

Honeyed Whisky Espresso Martini

By pairing Drambuie with coffee, you’re adding a complex sweetness to the naturally rich coffee flavours – including Monkey Shoulder whisky only elevates this perfectly balanced creation, due to its smooth and malty flavour.



  • Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice
  • Strain into a chilled martini glass
  • Garnish with the coffee beans

Espresso Martini with Whisky Recipe

Whisky with coffee is a classic combination and this espresso martini is testament to this. Monkey Shoulder is the perfect whisky for mixing into cocktails and its richness and vibrancy, along with the mellow vanilla notes, work wonderfully in this espresso martini. This recipe even features Tia Maria for an added level of creamy sweetness.


  • 40ml Monkey Shoulder
  • 30ml strong espresso
  • 15ml Tia Maria
  • A dash of sugar syrup
  • 3 coffee beans


  • Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake until foamy
  • Strain into a martini glass
  • Garnish with the coffee beans

Which of these wonderful espresso martinis will you be serving up next? Whichever you choose, you can get the essential spirits for your espresso martini kit and more below.

To master the art of pairing food and drink for your family reunion, explore the food and cocktail couplings in our blog below.

Food and Cocktail Pairings for Your Family Reunion

Family Reunion

Food and Cocktail Pairings for Your Family Reunion

Make your family reunion truly special by combining these classic British meals with great cocktails. Whether you’re having a roast dinner, fish and chips or curry, we have the cocktails for all meals and occasions.

2021-06-22 09:00:29By Clink*




Behind Clink* are distillers and master craftsmen equipped with decades of knowledge. Dedicating their lives to delivering the very finest spirits. We share their passion and expertise to complement the moments you want to create.