Gin Espresso Martini Recipe

This gin espresso martini combines gin, espresso, and coffee liqueur to give you a cocktail that’s also a pick-me-up. It’s a variation on the classic espresso martini that is made with gin instead of vodka. And it’s my coffee counterpart to “The Lady Bridgerton” cocktail, which combines Empress 1908 gin and Earl Grey tea.

The Inspiration

The espresso martini is generally believed to have been created by Dick Bradsell, who also created the bramble.

Key Technique: The Dry Shake

When you make a gin espresso martini, or really any cocktail with a layer of foam, you want to start out with a dry shake. Shaking your ingredients for at least 10 seconds without ice will give you a foam like on your favorite espresso drink without diluting it. Once you have your foam, then add ice to your cocktail shaker and shake to chill.

gin espresso martini on a tray surrounded by scattered coffee beans.

Ingredients

Gin

You will want a dry gin here, so that the flavors don’t clash with the coffee. This is a great primer on gin.

Espresso

You can use instant espresso if you want to make this gin espresso martini with instant coffee. You can find it in most grocery stores.

Feel free to use a cup of brewed espresso in place of the instant if you’re lucky enough to have access to an espresso machine. Just make it strong!

a jar of espresso instant coffee.

If it’s all you have, you can also use a cup of regular coffee. Cook it down until it’s about one quarter of its original volume.

Two panels showing 8 ounces of coffee cooked down to two ounces.

Coffee Liqueur

Tia Maria on the left. Kahlua on the right. They have the exact same percent of alcohol by volume.

To me, the Tia Maria tastes sweeter but with a stronger taste of alcohol. The Kahlua is darker and has a stronger coffee taste. To me, that’s the preferable coffee liqueur.

These aren’t the only coffee liqueurs out there. Use the one you like best!

glasses filled with Tia Maria on the left and Kahlua on the right.

FAQs

Is it “expresso” or “espresso”?

Merriam-Webster surprisingly says that both are acceptable pronunciations.

Can I use another liquor?

Yes, although I almost always make my martini with gin, the original espresso martini was made with vodka. But you could use rum to make a rum espresso martini. Or sub out the kahlua for Frangelico and make a hazelnut espresso martini.

What’s your favorite espresso bean?

We drink the Espresso Roast from Blue Star Coffee Roasters which is based in Twisp, Washington in the beautiful Methow Valley.

a comic image of the gin espresso martini.

Related Recipes

Check out other uglyducklingbakery beverages including:

If you’re looking for a cake equivalent to this creamy cocktail, check out my tiramisu cake.

Gin Espresso Martini

5 from 1 vote
Category: Drinks
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 cocktail
Calories: 175kcal
This gin espresso martini combines gin, espresso, and coffee liqueur to give you a cocktail that's also a pick-me-up. It's a variation on the classic creamy espresso martini with gin instead of vodka.
Print Recipe

Equipment

  • Cocktail shaker

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce strong espresso, chilled
  • 1 ounce Tanqueray or other dry gin
  • 1 ounce Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
  • 2 dashes chocolate bitters, optional
  • 3 coffee beans, for garnish

Instructions

  • Make the espresso with instant coffee or brew a strong cup per your espresso maker. Let it cool.
  • Combine the gin, espresso, coffee liqueur and bitters, if using, into a cocktail shaker without any ice and dry shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Add a ½ cup of ice cubes and shake again very briefly to chill.
    1 ounce strong espresso, chilled, 1 ounce Tanqueray or other dry gin, 1 ounce Kahlua or other coffee liqueur, 2 dashes chocolate bitters, optional
  • Strain into a martini or coupe glass and garnish with three coffee beans
    3 coffee beans, for garnish

Notes

I love the flavor of coffee, so if you are making this gin espresso martini with instant coffee, I would use twice the amount of espresso powder per ounce. Or brew a strong cup of espresso.
The purpose of the initial dry shake is so you can get a foam that reminds you of your favorite espresso drink but without diluting it.
Variation #1: While this recipe is for an espresso martini with gin, you can make the classic espresso martini with an equal amount of vodka.
Variation #2: Make a creamy espresso martini with a bit of Baileys.

Nutrition

Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 33mg | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg
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