Rich coffee flavor and a gentle boozy kick make this Bailey’s espresso martini the perfect after-dinner drink. With a few little tricks, I’ll show you how to whip up a foolproof, elegant cocktail with a rich and creamy foam. Curious yet? Let’s make one!
Reasons to Love This Recipe
My family loves drinking hot coffee and Bailey’s after dinner. If you also enjoy coffee and Bailey’s too, I know you’ll love this jazzed-up version in martini form. It’ll give you a boost of energy with a little buzz, which makes it perfect for an after-dinner drink or a date-night drink.
This drink has a rich coffee flavor and just enough booziness to slow down your sipping.
Plus, I’ll teach you my (kinda) secret tips for getting the rich and creamy foam you expect with an espresso martini.
Coffee or espresso?
You may be wondering if you really need espresso to make this martini. Isn’t coffee the same?
Yes and no.
Although both coffee and espresso are made from coffee beans, espresso beans are roasted longer and have a stronger flavor.
Coffee and espresso are also prepared differently. Espresso is much more concentrated and retains more oil from the beans, while coffee (even the strong stuff) is more diluted and contains less oil.
For an espresso martini, we want both the concentrated coffee flavor and the oil. This gives the martini a nice color and helps it foam.
If you don’t have espresso, consider picking up a few shots from your local coffee shop! You can also sub in coffee concentrate or very strong cold brew coffee in a pinch. (Your drink will be lighter, more diluted, and have a less stable foam, but it will still taste good!)
How to make a foamy espresso martini
The signature foam you find on the top of an espresso martini comes from incorporating air into the oil from coffee beans.
To get a stable foam, use these tips:
- If you can, use a large ice cube instead of smaller cubes. This will cool your drink without diluting it as much or creating as many ice chunks. You can buy oversized ice cube trays on Amazon.
- Don’t be timid with that shaker. Give it some vigorous shakes until the shaker cup gets cold.
- Double strain. I’m not a mixologist, so I don’t know if this is “by the book,” but I’ve tested this recipe countless times and double-straining is key. After shaking with ice, strain the drink into the small side of your shaker cup (if you’re using a Boston shaker that has two cups, otherwise, just use a different cup). Discard the ice, then pour the liquid back into the shaker cup and shake again before straining into your glass.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can. It just won’t have as much coffee flavor or a rich, stable foam. If you don’t have an espresso machine at home, you can also grab a few shots from your local coffee shop. Very strong coffee or coffee concentrate will work in a pinch.
Air and oil. Shaking your drink causes air to mix with the oils in the coffee. Shake really vigorously to get everything incorporated and aerated. You can also double-strain to remove ice chunks and shake the liquid alone in a shaker cup to get a stronger foam.
Nope. By definition, martinis contain vodka or gin and vermouth. Since the espresso martini doesn’t have vermouth, it’s not technically a classic martini, but it’s lovely nonetheless.
- Less boozy version – Use ½ oz vodka (instead of 1 oz) and use 1 oz Bailey’s (instead of ½ oz). Since Bailey’s is significantly lower in alcohol content, this will make the drink a bit more mild.
- Vegan/dairy-free version – Use Bailey’s Almonde instead of standard Bailey’s (it’s their almond milk version) and use a Kahlua alternative like Tia Maria.
- Add a peppermint twist – Love peppermint mochas? Swap out plain vodka for peppermint vodka and top with a couple of mint leaves. You can also swap in mint mocha Kahlua.
- Other flavor twists – Try other flavored vodkas (vanilla, caramel, whipped cream, espresso, coconut), different Bailey’s flavors (salted caramel, espresso cream, red velvet, vanilla cinnamon), and different Kahlua flavors (vanilla, salted caramel, blonde).
- Mocktail version – You can totally make this alcohol-free! Use 2 oz of your favorite milk or milk alternative and 2 oz of espresso and follow the instructions in the recipe card.
Bailey’s Espresso Martini
- cocktail shaker (preferably a Boston shaker)
- martini glass
- ice large cubes
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz espresso chilled
- 1 oz Kahlua
- ½ oz Bailey's
- ¼ tsp chocolate sauce
- 2 coffee beans
- Garnish your martini glass with a drizzle of chocolate sauce (optional).
- Add ice to a cocktail shaker, then pour in vodka, Kahlua, espresso, and Bailey's. Seal and shake vigorously.
- Using a cocktail strainer, strain the mixture into the smaller shaker cup (or a separate cup). Discard the ice. Pour the martini mixture back into the shaker cup, seal, and shake again to incorporate more air into the mixture and make a rich foam.
- Using a cocktail strainer, pour the mixture into the martini glass. Top with two coffee beans. Cheers!
- Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used.
- If you don’t have espresso, you can use coffee concentrate or very strong cold brew coffee. You may not get a stable foam or as strong of a coffee flavor, but the drink will still taste good!