When you’re looking for a drink that perks you up and mellows you out at the same time, there’s nothing quite like the Espresso Martini.

While it’s not quite as old as some cocktails, it is, by all means, a classic. Celebrity bartender, Dick Bradsell, is said to have invented the bar staple in 1983. According to Bradsell, a young Kate Moss sidled up to his bar to ask for a drink that would “wake me up and then f*** me up.” Using a blend of sugar, vodka, coffee liqueur, and freshly pulled espresso, Bradsell complied: the resulting drink was first titled simply The Vodka Espresso. It later became the Pharmaceutical Stimulant, and then, during the Martini fad of the ’90s, the Espresso Martini received its final name, and ever since, it’s been a favorite of drinkers.

The most important part of the Espresso Martini is to use quality coffee. If you have access to an espresso machine, making a fresh shot and sticking it in the freezer to chill for a few moments is the best way to get the best quality without diluting the drink with too much water. If you don’t have access to fresh, or if ice dilution is a concern, high-end cold brew or coffee concentrate can work.

When mixing up an espresso martini, always remember to shake hard! Thanks to the natural oil in coffee, the shaking process creates a delicate, silky layer of tight frothy bubbles. To achieve this bubble layer, shake with enthusiasm.

Chilled Espresso Martini

Chilled Espresso Martini

Photo by Kike Salazar

Chilled Espresso Martini


  • 2 oz. Vodka
  • 1/2 oz, Coffee Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Fresh Espresso
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/4 oz. Simple Syrup (Optional)

Preparation: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in all of the ingredients, shake hard and pour into a glass of choice. Garnish with coffee beans or lemon twist.