Garnished with a few coffee beans, the espresso martini is a sophisticated little devil – it’s dressed to kill and has landed me in trouble a number of times.

Created in ‘80s Soho, London, by cocktail legend Dick Bradsell, the story goes that a delightful young lady entered his bar and asked Dick to make her a drink that “wakes me up and then [insert expletive here] me up”. Thus, a legend was born, fueling office parties and “Crimbo” get-togethers the nation over. 

The Espresso Martini is a sumptuous mix of vodka, coffee liquor and espresso that gets people giggling with excitement at its mere mention. It’s rich, indulgent and creamy, and the shot of espresso will make sure you keep up with the pack if you find yourself flagging at your office Christmas party. I’ve got the CRU Kafe, Food Tube, Drinks Tube and Food Busker parties coming up in the next few weeks, so these will keep me going nicely.

As a drink it’s deliciously confusing – coffee and vodka simply shouldn’t be allowed to taste this good together, but they do. The liqueur has a wicked sweetness while the coffee gives it a rich depth, whilst the vodka delivers that necessary kick that lets you know you’re doing something naughty. It’s all finished off with the thick, luxurious, creamy froth that sits at the top of the glass. It’s vital that you use a good quality espresso shot – obviously I make mine fresh from the Nespresso® machine with a CRU Light Roast pod.

This drink works well on its own as a party cocktail, but can also be employed effectively at dinner parties as an excessively luxurious digestif after your main meal – both the coffee and the coffee liquor aid digestion.  If you’re feeling particularly decadent, you can do away with the coffee course entirely and head straight for this to make sure that you escape that fatal after-dinner lull that so often plagues these events.

Put simply, it’s the best way to perk up your evening (no matter what type of party your throwing) and keep it going into those wee, wee hours. I love making them at home but remember, they will lead you astray. Happy festive season!

How to make an espresso martini

espresso martini

Makes one


  • 50ml Grey Goose vodka
  • 35ml coffee liqueur
  • 1 shot (25ml) of CRU Light Roast (or other) espresso
  • Ice


Pour the vodka, coffee liqueur and espresso into a cocktail shaker.  Fill the martini glass with ice to chill and then fill the cocktail shaker with ice as well.

espresso martini

Put the other half of the shaker on top and give it a good tap to lock it in, then shake the living daylights out of it. You want the ice to smash up while chilling the liquid down; its what creates the frothy top. Try to use fresh-from-the-freezer ice, as melting ice is too watery and will dilute the martini.

Once shaken, tap the side of the shaker to break the vacuum seal. Empty the ice out of the Martini glass, then place the strainer on top of the shaker and pour the contents through a sieve directly into the glass. Using the strainer and the sieve helps create a rich, smooth, froth.

espresso martini

Garnish with 3 coffee beans and attempt to contain your delight.

For Gennaro’s twist on the cocktail, check out his video with Drinks Tube. He sweetens it up with some sugar syrup and more than a few italian exclamations

All images by Izy Hozzack

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  • Food Ren

    Loving this idea!

  • Mario Michelli

    Why, “good quality espresso shot – obviously I make mine fresh from the Nespresso® machine” . Why is it obvious, and since when is pod coffee good quality?

    • WryGuyHi

      Agree. Nespresso, and coffee pods in general, taste like rubbish and leave a bad taste in the mouth – just like blatant product placement.

      • Paul Devine

        disagree, my nespresso machine makes damn fine coffee, make sure you get the proper pods not the cheap ones in the supermarket

        • Alexandra Shields

          Might taste good, but those things are horrible for the planet! STOP USING single use plastic- not cool!

  • majestic whine

    Nespresso coffee pod? I wouldn’t drink that sh*t even smothered in vodka and kahlua. If you are using Nespresso then you might as well forget about the Grey Goose too. Just substitute it with some Morrisons own brand vodka and mix it all together in a bucket.

  • FinFlash

    Guys who complain about the Nespresso comment, it’s just content marketing. As in masking advertisements by actually putting useful information in them, which is fine of course!

    It just comes across as hilarious when someone who owns an “organic, ethical coffee company” casually drops that he obviously uses a product which

    a) tastes terrible (subjective opinion I know, but come on)
    b) is insanely wasteful
    c) is made by a company that is apparently fine with killing children in the third world.

    Swing and a miss

    • Corbin

      “Satan” + “coffee”