The Espresso Martini & Other Coffee Cocktails

By: Faria Ferdous Ellesson

espresso martini cocktail

Come fashion week, whether in London, New York, Milan or Paris, the Espresso Martini Cocktail is perhaps the most popular order at the chicest bars in town. It’s no surprise, given its origin story of being ordered by a model who asked the bartender to make her something that would simultaneously “wake me up and f*ck me up”. And with that simple request, the Espresso Martini Cocktail was born. Since then, it’s only gained popularity, but it’s not the only cocktail that uses coffee to exhilarating effect. Luckily, our resident cocktail expert, August Svensson, is here to take us through five delicious coffee cocktails. 

The Espresso Martini Cocktail

To make the perfect Espresso Martini Cocktail, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a great espresso. A rich, full-bodied, well-balanced pour of bittersweetness, often with chocolatey, nutty or even floral notes running through it. However you like your espresso, make sure you’re starting with a great foundation – a positively stimulating shot of bold flavour. The vodka adds crisp sharpness, while the coffee liqueur provides a syrupy sweetness, resulting in a sumptuous cocktail of creamy satisfaction. Make sure to aerate the cocktail by shaking vigorously for that characteristic, foamy, silky layer of crema on top.  


 40ml vodka
25ml espresso 
20ml coffee liqueur
3 coffee beans  


1. Add vodka, espresso and coffee liqueur into a shaker

2. Shake and strain into a coupe glass

3. Garnish with three coffee beans

“The late Dick Bradsell was one of the most influential people in the London bar scene during the latter half of the 20th century and created many modern classics, with the Espresso Martini Cocktail being the most well-known. Depending on the vodka used as a base, the cocktail will taste slightly different. For example, Chase Original Potato Vodka will add a rich, buttery texture, whereas Ketel One will bring a slight hint of honey and citrus. Coffee and orange go surprisingly well, and using Ketel One Oranje as your vodka of choice will help bring these two together, without altering Bradsell’s recipe too much.”

The Irish Coffee 

irish coffee

A classic coffee cocktail, the Irish Coffee has graced the tables of many, particularly after a decadent meal. The warming sweetness and velvety mouthfeel of this luscious cocktail make it the perfect postprandial drink. This recipe calls for a freshly brewed cup of coffee and some Bailey’s Original Irish Cream – a smooth whiskey liqueur that’s a true representation of Irish expertise in both dairy and distilling. To garnish, add a sprinkling of chocolate powder, reminiscent of a cappuccino's dusting.  

“I always recommend using freshly brewed black coffee, either filtered coffee or a double shot of espresso with some added hot water. Combine the coffee while it is still warm with Bailey’s, a touch of sugar if you prefer it sweet, and then layer double cream on top to make it even more decadent.”

August’s secret tip for a creamy top:

“Add 100ml double cream (or a dairy-free alternative if preferred) to a cocktail shaker, close and ‘dry shake’, without ice. This helps aerate the cream and makes it easier to layer on top of your coffee cocktail. Touch the surface of the coffee and the side of your glass with a spoon and carefully pour the cream on top, lifting the spoon along the surface as you go, until you have roughly one centimetre of cream. Dust or grate some chocolate to go the extra mile.”

The White Russian 

white russian

This cocktail has become quite the cult classic through its cameo appearances in Hollywood movies, but there’s a reason why it’s held on to its popularity – it’s simultaneously light and luxurious, a combination that’s not so commonly experienced in the world of cocktails. The gratifying indulgence of cream and coffee liqueur is contrasted against the sharp edge of crisp vodka, for a refreshing pick-me-up. Serve over ice, as it’s best enjoyed chilled.  

“A colder, less caffeinated version of the Irish Coffee, that equally benefits from a luxuriously layered creamy top. Pour the cocktail, ice up your glass, and add the cream gently, so they do not mix. For a cocktail that normally doesn’t have a garnish, this works really well as a finishing visual flourish.”  

The Bailey's Latte 

baileys latte

Awaken the simple latte with a shot of Bailey’s, for the milkiest cocktail on this list. Simply add some hot, frothy milk to a single espresso and top with a shot of Bailey’s. The warming sensation of Irish whiskey and silky-smooth mouthfeel from the fresh cream add new dimensions to the classic coffee. Enjoy the complex chocolate notes and hints of exotic vanilla that accent the aroma of Bailey’s for an elevated coffee cocktail.  

“Slightly easier to make than Irish Coffee, a Bailey’s Latte works wonders if you want to indulge in a hot, rich coffee. You don’t need to aerate any cream with this serve, but a thin grating of nutmeg works wonders on top of the coffee, otherwise, a chocolate powder dusting never goes wrong.”

The Espresso Martino  


Love the idea of an espresso cocktail, but want to skip the alcohol? Worry not, we’ve got the perfect substitute, simply use Seedlip Spice 94 instead of vodka. The aromatic profile of Seedlip Spice 94 adds a warming spice-led flavour from Jamaican allspice berries, citrus top notes from lemon and grapefruit peels, and a long bitter finish from high-quality barks. Enjoy all the complexity of this delicious coffee cocktail, without a hint of alcohol.

“The rich, dark and aromatic flavours of Seedlip Spice 94 stand up perfectly well to the espresso, creating a luxurious drink typically served in a coupette or martini glass without ice. Add warm (not hot) espresso before shaking, to help give your cocktail that unforgettable frothy crema.”    

Over to you 

From Martini Cocktails to Martinos, there are so many ways to incorporate a delicious coffee into a delightful cocktail. Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur who likes their arabica coffee beans on a gentle medium roast, or a budding enthusiast who can’t get enough of this caffeinated brew, these five delicious coffee cocktails will take your favourite drink to new heights.     

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