A picture of two Espresso Martinis and some coffee beans

The Espresso Martini, perfection in a glass

The Espresso Martini is perfection in a glass and a great Friday night pick-me-up before a night out. It’s a heady mix of brewed espresso, coffee liqueur, vodka and simple syrup. Put it all together in a glass and shake and you’ll be up and dancing in no time.

This popular cocktail is a relative newcomer to the cocktail scene. In a 2021 The Guardian newspaper report, the story goes that it was created in 1983 by bartender Dick Bradsell at London’s Soho Brasserie. The story goes that a customer wanted a drink that would f#*k her up. As vodka was the spirit of the day and he was near an espresso machine … it seemed like the perfect combination. Vodka, sugar and caffeine. Not such a bad combo.

The cocktail went out of fashion for quite a long time, but has since made a resurgence. I, for one, am glad it did. It’s a heady weekend starter. One is enough for me though as it’s potent!

Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini

Recipe by Marti Cuatt

The perfect cocktail to kick off the weekend.

Course: Cocktail HourDifficulty: Easy
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Prep time


Shake and strain


Clever Cooking

Click for the screen to stay active while you cook

You will need

  • 20 ml 20 simple syrup – see note below

  • 120 ml 120 vodka

  • 60 ml 60 freshly brewed espresso coffee

  • 60 ml 60 coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua)

  • 3 3 coffee beans per glass for garnish (optional)

Here’s what to do

  • Start by making the sugar syrup. It’s just equal parts sugar and water. Add the two to a pan, bring to the boil and simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved. Let it cool a little, then transfer to a sterilised jar or bottle. It keeps for a few months in the fridge.
  • Put two martini glasses in the fridge to chill.
  • Pour 20ml cooled sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker. Add a handful of ice, the vodka, espresso and coffee liqueur.
  • Shake until the outside of the cocktail shaker feels icy cold.
  • Strain into the chilled glasses. Garnish each one with coffee beans if you like.

Tips and tricks

  • Simple syrup is so easy to make at home. Just add equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer about five minutes, then allow to cool before pouring into an airtight jar or bottle.

    You can make a lighter syrup by adding 1 part sugar to 2 parts sugar.

    It keeps 3-6 months in the fridge.

Other cocktails to try

Picture of two cosmpolitan cocktails with lime wedges on a black background with

The girls’ night out wouldn’t be complete without a wonderful Cosmopolitan!

With Vodka, Triple Sec or Cointreau, cranberry and lime. It’s both refreshing and loads of fun.

Image of Pina Colada Cocktail

The Pina Colada is another classic cocktail that’s a bit out of fashion, but a lovely summery refresher. Spiked with pineapple, coconut and rum, who can go wrong?


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