how to make an espresso martini…with vodka and real espresso

The Espresso Martini is a cocktail martini that is quite on the sweeter side, making it a good after-dinner drink. There are several variations of the drink, most of which uses different coffee liquors in lieu of the Kahlua. Because of that, this variation or recipe is sometimes referred to as the (Kahlua) Espresso Martini.

There is a different drink recipe that is more popular but with the same name as the Kahlua Espresso Martini, which is not to be confused with this one. This recipe calls for real espresso as one of its ingredients, so you need to access to an espresso machine. You can use full caffeinated or decaffeinated espresso, which ever suits your taste.


  • 2 shots of chilled Espresso
  • 1.5 shots of Grey Goose Vodka
  • 1 shots of Kahlua
  • Cardamom pods (optional)


First you need to make the espresso. You may make the espresso as you normally would, if you do not care much for the cardamom flavor. Otherwise, refer to the instructions and suggestions in the section below on how to make your espresso.

  1. Add ice cubes into a martini shaker
  2. Add 1.5 shots of Grey Goose Vodka into the shaker
  3. Add 1 shot of the Kahlua into the shaker
  4. Add 2 shots of freshly brewed espresso into the shaker
  5. Shake the contents really well (for about 60 secs) to mix the ingredients
  6. Strain the contents of the shaker into a chilled martini glass
Espresso martini with Kahlua

Making of the Espresso

The flavoring of the drink with cardamom gives the drink a good twist both in terms of the taste as well as the aroma. If you want to do this, you will need to flavor the espresso when it is made. Crush several (3 or 4) pods of the cardamom and mix it in with the coffee before making the espresso.

Also, if you have some time proceed to chill the espresso down in a freezer. This will ensure that your ice cubes will not melt too much when added to shaker and dilute the drink.

Note that the original recipe to the drink does not include the cardamom.


There are several variations of this drink with similar ingredients. Almost all of which also inherit the name of Espresso martini which makes it quite hard to keep track of. And the only consistent ingredient across all of the recipes is the espresso.

  • A variation of the drink adds a dash of heavy cream to the recipe. You can add the heavy cream into the shaker before mixing. Be sure to give it a good shake as it takes a lot more work to mix the cream well. This variation does not have the typical dark black color of the drink, due to the cream.
  • Another variation of the recipe adds about half a shot of Bailey’s Irish Creme to the ingredients. Again this is more creamier in taste.
  • Yet another variation flips the proportions of Kahlua and Vodka, using 1.5 shots of Kahlua to 1 shot of vodka. This makes the drink sweeter which makes it even more appropriate as an after dinner drink.
  • Kahlua Espresso Martini: Add half a shot of the white creme de cacao to the ingredients.


  • Shake well for up to 60 to 90 seconds so as to form a nice frothy top in the martini glass. A nice white froth over the dark black drink gives it a very appealing look.
  • You may use either full caffeinated or decaffeinated espresso in this recipe. The taste of the drink is not altered much, but use a coffee that you like best.
  • The drink usually goes with no garnish, but you can use some coffee beans as garnish.  Another idea for garnish is scrapping some nutmeg over the drink, but only if it is not already flavored with cardamom.