Gin Espresso Martini

The Gin Espresso Martini swaps out the vodka and combines gin, espresso, and coffee liqueur for an espresso martini variation. If you love coffee and cocktails and you love an espresso martini, then an espresso gin martini is a cocktail to try.

So read on for all the info and detailed tips and tricks about making an espresso martini with gin. Or just grab your cocktail shaker, hit that Jump to Recipe button, and let’s make a gin espresso martini!

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

The classic espresso martini recipe is a combination of vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup garnished with three espresso beans. This espresso martini uses gin in place of vodka, eliminates the simple syrup to make it less sweet, and adds chocolate bitters to round out the cocktail.

Gin

You will want a dry gin for this gin espresso martini, so that strong botanical flavors don’t clash with the coffee. Go with Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire, or read this great primer on different types of gin.

If you love gin, the dry martini is the classic gin cocktail. But gin is also the key ingredient in the Negroni and Negroni variations like the Aperol Negroni or Negroni spritz, gin and tonic, French 75, Tom Collins, gimlets, and the Water Lily. Can you tell I like gin?

Espresso

Purists will say that only a freshly pulled espresso shot will do for an espresso martini. I’m here to give you permission to make your cocktail with instant espresso or brewed coffee, and it will still be delicious as long as your coffee is strong.

jar of espresso instant coffee.

 

There’s nothing wrong with drinking your espresso martini on its own. But if you’re looking to double up on the espresso with a sweet coffee treat, go for a rich espresso brownie, my tiramisu layer cake or an easy coffee and walnut loaf cake.

Coffee Liqueur

Kahlua is probably the coffee liqueur you think of first, but there are lots of coffee liqueurs out there with different sweetness and coffee flavor. I recommend trying Mr. Black coffee liqueur for this gin espresso martini if you can.

two small glasses with different coffee liqueurs.

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

Variations and substitutions

Recipe tips and tricks

The espresso martini is a modern cocktail generally believed to have been created by Dick Bradsell, who also created the Bramble. You can read more about him in this tribute to Dick Bradsell.

Technique: dry shake

To get a frothy cocktail with the crema of an espresso shot, you need to shake longer than normal, about 20 to 30 seconds. But if you shake with ice, it dilutes your drink a lot. So you need to do a dry shake.

The dry shake is what makes the foam and froth in cocktails with egg whites like this blackberry vodka sour or Aperol sour. To do a regular dry shake, you put your cocktail ingredients in your shaker without ice. For best results, shake hard for 20 to 30 seconds. Then add about a half cup of ice cubes, and shake again to chill.

Shaking hot liquid sounds dangerous, so you’ll want to cool it quickly. That’s why you want to do a reverse shake. First, shake your ingredients briefly with ice to cool your espresso. Discard the ice and then do a hard dry shake to make your gin espresso martini all frothy and foamy.

Cocktail FAQs

Is this gin espresso martini really a martini?

No, like the Pornstar martini, espresso martinis aren’t technically martinis, since they aren’t made with vermouth.

Is it “expresso” or “espresso”?

Merriam-Webster surprisingly says that both are acceptable pronunciations.

What’s your favorite espresso bean?

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

How should I store coffee liqueur?

Store most liqueurs in a cool, dark place. They’re best within 6 to 12 months of opening. They won’t go bad, but coffee liqueur may lose potency, just like those dried herbs in your spice cabinet.

comic image of an espresso martini garnished with two espresso beans.

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!

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 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.

Recipe

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 slightly cooled to avoid burns
  • 1 ounce Tanqueray or other dry gin
  • 1 ounce Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
  • 2 dashes chocolate bitters suggested, but 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 slightly.
  • Combine the gin, espresso, coffee liqueur and bitters into a cocktail shaker packed with ice and shake for 10 seconds to chill. Strain out the ice and dry shake hard for about 30 seconds to create your foam.
    1 ounce strong espresso, 1 ounce Tanqueray or other dry gin, 1 ounce Kahlua or other coffee liqueur, 2 dashes chocolate bitters
  • Strain into a martini or coupe glass and garnish with three coffee beans
    3 coffee beans

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 reverse dry shake is to 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 your cocktail 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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