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Creamy Espresso Martini with Baileys

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

It’s the perfect drink for coffee lovers. Enjoy it as part of a holiday celebration or an after-dinner cocktail.

The Story

This creamy espresso martini was created for the 52 weeks of cocktails challenge (week 9: Baileys). I had been thinking about remaking my gin espresso martini for the prior week’s challenge (coffee or tea). Instead, I played around with a chai bourbon old-fashioned with a honey simple syrup.

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

The Classic Cocktail

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 classic cocktails, including the espresso martini, the bramble, and others.

Key Technique: The Dry Shake

You could spend time learning the different shaking techniques for cocktails. But really it doesn’t matter for this espresso martini as long as you get the foam.

To get a frothy espresso martini, the shake is longer than a typical shaken cocktail, about 20 to 30 seconds. But to do that and not dilute your drink, you need to do a dry shake.

A dry shake is when you put your cocktail ingredients in the cocktail shaker without any ice. For best results, shake hard for 20 to 30 seconds. Then add about a half cup of ice cubes, and shake again just to chill. Pour into a chilled coupe, garnish with coffee beans or espresso beans, and serve immediately before the foam goes away.

Tips and tricks

Vodka

Vodka is the base liquor in this cocktail, like in the traditional espresso martini. To bring in a bit of controversy here, some would suggest that all (or at least most) vodka is the same. So use whatever vodka you have and like to drink. If you like flavored vodka, it’s easy to infuse your own.

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 espresso machine, you can sub in instant espresso powder like the one pictured below. You can even use decaf espresso if you like. Whatever you do, make it a strong coffee.

I use espresso powder in lots of baking. It’s a key ingredient in this coffee and walnut loaf cake. Coffee is used in the cake layers in this triple layer chocolate cake and peanut butter drip cake. Or it’s used in coffee syrup to soak a tiramisu cake.

a jar of instant espresso powder.

Coffee liqueur

When you think of coffee liqueurs, your first thought is probably Kahlua. But there are lots of other options.

The picture below has Tia Maria on the left and Kahlua on the right. They have the exact same percent of alcohol by volume.

I’ll encourage you to do a taste test of the two. To me, the Tia Maria tastes sweeter but with a stronger taste of alcohol. The Kahlua is darker and has a stronger coffee flavor. To me, that’s the preferable coffee liqueur. But any will work in this Baileys espresso martini.

sipping glasses filled with Tia Maria and Kahlua.

Baileys Irish Cream

There are also lots of Baileys variations. But it’s the Baileys Original Irish Cream that makes this a creamy espresso martini and takes the traditional espresso martini to a new level.

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, so it’s Baileys and not Bailey’s Irish Cream.

If you want to, check out this Baileys recipe and make your own!

Variations

  • Add a few dashes of chocolate bitters.
  • Make a classic espresso martini with equal amounts of vodka, espresso, and coffee liqueur.
  • Substitute an equal amount of rum for the vodka to make a rum espresso martini.
  • Substitute frangelico for the coffee liqueur for a hazelnut espresso martini.
a top down view of the creamy espresso martini with baileys on a tray with coffee beans.

FAQs about this creamy espresso martini with Baileys

Is it “espresso” or “expresso”?

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

What is your favorite espresso bean?

We like the Espresso Blend from Blue Star Coffee Roasters which is based in Twisp, Washington in the beautiful Methow Valley. They ship!

Related recipes

Check out other uglyducklingbakery beverages including: the Porn Star martini, peanut butter manhattan or a perfect brandy manhattan; “The Lady Bridgerton,” an Empress 1908 gin cocktail; or a cherry Bakewell cocktail.

If you love that boost of energy you get from that espresso flavor, check out other uglyduckling recipes using coffee or espresso like my tiramisu cake, coffee and walnut loaf cake, or coffee truffles.

Creamy Espresso Martini

5 from 1 vote
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, cooled
  • 1.0 ounce coffee liqueur
  • 1.0 ounce Baileys Irish Cream
  • 3 coffee beans for garnish

Instructions

  • Put all of the ingredients except for the coffee beans into a cocktail shaker without ice and shake for 20 to 30 seconds.
    1.5 ounce vodka, 1.5 ounce strong espresso, cooled, 1.0 ounce coffee liqueur, 1.0 ounce Baileys Irish Cream
  • Then add about one half cup of ice and shake again for another 5 to 10 seconds to chill.
  • Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with the traditional three coffee beans. Serve immediately.
    3 coffee beans

Notes

For fun, add a dash or two of chocolate bitters and compare.

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!

What’s next?

If you make this creamy espresso martini with Baileys and think this version of the classic cocktail makes the perfect after-dinner drink, please comment or leave a rating. Pretty please!

Join the #52weeksofcocktails challenge.

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