The Liquor Cabinet

Espresso Martini

Recreate the classic Espresso Martini Recipe with Kahlua, or try variations like Chocolate Espresso Martini ‒ you can’t go wrong with this coffee cocktail.

Espresso Martini


  1. 1 part Absolut Vodka
  2. 1 part Kahlua
  3. 1 part espresso
  4. Ice cubes
  5. 3 coffee beans to garnish


  1. In the base of a cocktail shaker, add 1 part each of Absolut Vodka, Kahlua Coffee Liqueur, and fresh Espresso.
  2. Add ice and shake until frothy.
  3. Strain into a cocktail glass quickly tp allow froth to settle.
  4. Garnish with the coffee beans.

If you’re a coffee lover – and in Australia, it’s almost a birthright – when it comes to cocktails, there is no more enticing concoction than the espresso martini. Simultaneously ticking the boxes as a pick-me-up, dessert alternative, and classy shout, the caffeine-loaded combination of espresso coffee, vodka, and coffee liqueur is said to be Australia’s most-ordered cocktail.


While its popularity may have waned in recent decades in many other countries, our patriotic coffee culture has ensured it remains beloved across the country since the early noughties. And now, it’d enjoying a second wave globally, with The New York TImes recently declaring that the espresso martini is back, as bars in the US reintroduce it to post-pandemic crowds looking for a good time.


History goes that the contemporary classic cocktail was invented in the ‘80s in London by bartender, Dick Bradsell, while he was working at Soho Brasserie. While the origin story is a little muddled, allegedly a since-famous supermodel sashayed into the bar and asked for something to “wake me up”. With a coffee machine nearby and a splash of vodka, Kahlua, Tia Maria and sugar syrup at hand, the then-named Vodka Espresso was born.

While it’s true the drink doesn’t carry the ingredients to warrant the “martini” name, most cocktails served in martini glasses at that time were considered martinis. These days you can also find espresso martinis served in a coupe, and almost always with three coffee beans artfully placed in the foamy top – supposedly representing health, wealth and happiness.

What are some espresso martini variations?

As well as twists on the original like Espresso Martini with Baileys Irish Cream or a Chocolate Espresso Martini, some Aussie bars are serving up new experimental signatures of this coffee cocktail.

At Gerard’s Bar in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, Absolut Vodka and coffee meet cardamom syrup, pistachio orgeat, and toasted wattleseed in their Gerard’s Espresso.

And in Sydney’s Maybe Sammy, coffee cocktails made with their own roast veer from classic Espresso Martini territory into a Tropical Coffee Margarita, mixing Mr Black Coffee Liquer with blanco tequila, passionfruit and lime.

Now, you can even buy it as a batched cocktail, ready to pour, like this Lexington Hill Espresso Martini.

Powered by