Creamy Espresso Martini with Baileys

The Creamy Espresso Martini with Baileys and Kahlua adds Baileys Irish Cream to a classic espresso martini recipe. That makes this easy coffee cocktail rich and creamy and just a bit sweeter than the original.

An espresso martini is the perfect drink for coffee lovers, whether you have a home espresso maker or use one of the alternatives I’ll tell you about! That way you can enjoy a Baileys espresso martini as part of a holiday celebration, an after-dinner cocktail, or really any time.

a creamy espresso martini with Baileys on a tray of coffee beans.
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Ingredients

The original espresso martini was created by Dick Bradsell in the 1980s. There are not many truly famous bartenders, but he is the source of many famous modern cocktails, including the espresso martini and Bramble.

Vodka

Vodka is the base liquor in this cocktail like in the original espresso martini. There’s no need for a special bottle since all (or at least most) vodka is the same.

Espresso

If you have an espresso coffee machine, go ahead and and pull a shot of fresh espresso. If you aren’t lucky enough to have your own, sub in instant espresso powder like the one pictured below. Some people also make espresso martinis with cold brew coffee. Whatever you do, make it strong.

jar of instant espresso powder.

 

I use espresso powder a lot because coffee amps up other flavors, especially chocolate, like in these caramel espresso brownies, triple layer chocolate cake and peanut butter drip cake. It’s a key ingredient in triple coffee cookies, coffee and walnut loaf cake, or the coffee syrup for a tiramisu layer cake or Biscoff tiramisu.

Coffee liqueur

An espresso martini needs coffee liqueur. I’ll encourage you to do a taste test of coffee liqueurs.

Tia Maria (left) is sweeter with a stronger taste of alcohol. The Kahlua (right) is darker and has a stronger coffee flavor. There are now lots of delicious small brew coffee liqueurs, and any coffee liqueur will work in this Baileys espresso martini.

sipping glasses filled with Tia Maria and Kahlua.

Baileys Irish Cream

Baileys Irish Cream is a liqueur made with Irish whiskey, cream, sugar, and cocoa. Although the liqueur was inspired by The Bailey’s Hotel, the trademark leaves out the apostrophe.

Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and substitutions

  • Add a few dashes of chocolate bitters.
  • Make a classic espresso martini with vodka, espresso, and coffee liqueur.
  • Substitute an equal amount of rum for the vodka to make a rum espresso martini, or use gin for a gin espresso martini.
  • Substitute the Frangelico you bought to make Frangelico sours and use it in place of the coffee liqueur for a hazelnut espresso martini.
  • Sub cream for the Baileys to make your creamy espresso martini with cream.
  • Make an Espresso Martini mocktail.

Recipe tips and tricks

Key technique: the dry shake

There are supposedly different shaking techniques for cocktails, but one you really need to know. For a frothy espresso martini that mimics espresso crema, I shake longer than normal, about 20 seconds. But to not dilute my drink, I need to do a dry shake.

The dry shake is used to make foam and froth in egg white cocktails like a vodka sour or Aperol sour. For a regular dry shake, put your cocktail ingredients in a cocktail shaker without ice and shake hard for 20 to 30 seconds. Then add about a half cup of ice cubes, and shake to chill. Pour into a chilled glass, garnish, and serve immediately.

However, if you’ve just pulled a shot of espresso, your espresso will be HOT and you need to cool it quickly. So there’s a reverse dry shake.

Shake briefly (about 10 seconds) with ice to chill your espresso martini ingredients. Discard the ice, and then do a hard dry shake to make your espresso martini frothy and creamy.

espresso martini garnished with three espresso beans in froth on trray with coffee beans.

Recipe FAQs

Is it “espresso” or “expresso”?

Merriam-Webster surprisingly says that both are ok to use.

Is this creamy espresso martini a true martini?

Purists will say that the only martini is a dry martini with gin and dry vermouth or that a martini must at least have vermouth. However, like the Pornstar martini, the martini name has stuck in these popular modern cocktails.

Why is my espresso martini not creamy?

The foamy top on the espresso martini comes from your shake. If your espresso martini doesn’t foam, try doing a longer dry shake. It is not true that you have to have a freshly pulled espresso shot to make this cocktail.

What is your favorite espresso bean?

We like the Espresso Blend from Blue Star Coffee Roasters which is based in the Methow Valley where we spend time hiking and cross-country skiing. They ship!

What’s the best way to store liqueurs?

Most spirits and liqueurs can be stored in a cool, dark cabinet for months to years. Cream-based liqueurs like Baileys might last longer than its two year shelf life if you keep in the refrigerator, although you do not have to refrigerate Baileys

Check out other popular cocktails from the Ugly Duckling Bakery beverage archives including:

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.

Love cocktails and want to explore more? Read all about classic cocktails and bartender basics or join this year’s 52 weeks of cocktails challenge!

Recipe

Creamy Espresso Martini with Baileys

5 from 7 votes
Category: Drinks
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 292kcal
This Creamy Espresso Martini with Baileys is richer and a bit sweeter than the classic. Enjoy it as an after dinner or afternoon cocktail.
Print Recipe

Equipment

  • Cocktail shaker

Ingredients

  • 1.5 ounce vodka
  • 1.5 ounce strong espresso slightly cooled (to avoid burns)
  • 1.0 ounce coffee liqueur
  • 1.0 ounce Baileys Irish Cream
  • 3 coffee beans for garnish

Instructions

Creamy Espresso Martini with Baileys

  • Put all of the ingredients except for the coffee beans into your cocktail shaker, fill with ice and shake for 5 to 10 seconds to chill.
    1.5 ounce vodka, 1.5 ounce strong espresso, 1.0 ounce coffee liqueur, 1.0 ounce Baileys Irish Cream
  • Strain out the ice. Then add your espresso martini back to your cocktail shaker without ice and shake for 20 to 30 seconds until it is foamy.
  • Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with the traditional three coffee beans. Serve immediately.
    3 coffee beans

Notes

Purists say that espresso martinis must be made with freshly-pulled hot espresso, but I’m here to dispute that. If you don’t have a machine, use a shot from a shop, cold brew coffee, or even instant espresso. Just make it strong!
For fun, add a dash of chocolate bitters to your Baileys espresso martini.
Instead of a creamy espresso martini with Baileys, sub heavy cream for the Baileys to make your creamy espresso martini with cream.
You could buy a bottle of Baileys Espresso Cream in place of the classic Irish cream and coffee liqueur, but there’s nothing worse than buying bottles for single cocktails – hello, creme de violette, we’re looking at you!

Nutrition

Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 49mg | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg
Love this recipe?Mention @Uglyducklingbakery or tag #uglyducklingbakery!

This creamy espresso martini with Baileys Irish Cream was created for the 2022 52 weeks of cocktails challenge (week 9: Baileys).

Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking?

6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I had an amazing Espresso Martini in Los Angeles last year and have been wanting to make one at home! This recipe just put it right over the top!! My husband and I both loved it! πŸ˜‹

    1. Yay! Pamela, I’m so glad you decided to make your own espresso martini and that you loved this one. Thanks for letting me know!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this espresso martini for my husband and it is now one of his favourite drinks. He asks to have it whenever we have guest and they also rave about it. Thank you so much for posting this delicious drink recipe and making me look like a star to my friends and family.

    It is our go to drink!

    1. Thanks, Katherine! I’m so glad that you and your husband love this cocktail. Cheers!

  3. 5 stars
    Hi, thank you for this recipe! I made it for my friends at last nights New Year’s Eve party, and it was a hit.

    1. Hi Muriah – thanks so much for taking the time to let me know you all loved my creamy espresso martini. Happy New Year! Joanne

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