Food + Drink

Nailed It: How To Make The Perfect Espresso Martini At Home

By Clare Acheson - 30 May 2016

how to make the perfect espresso martini

The Espresso Martini has fast become the go-to drink of our coffee-loving, alcohol-sodden times. However, a love of this caffeinated cocktail is not a cheap habit to maintain. While nothing beats an expertly mixed cocktail in your favourite drinking den, being able to whip up a passable Espresso Martini at home is the ultimate ‘drop in for a drink at mine’ trick.

Here’s how to make your very own WITHOUT the fancy-pants bartending equipment or $20-a-pop price tag.

#1: Buy The Essential Ingredients

There are a few must-haves when it comes to this recipe. You will definitely need:

  • Vodka: This can be unflavoured, or a vanilla infused version. If you’re going to throw an extra $20 into any ingredient, this should be it.
  • Coffee liqueur: Kahlua is a great option if you like your drinks on the sweeter side.
  • Ground coffee
  • A stovetop Italian espresso maker: No espresso machine required! You can pick up a stovetop espresso pot for as little as $20, and they make fantastic, strong coffee for cocktails at a pinch of the price of a full-blown espresso machine. This Avanti model is a classic. 
  • Martini glasses: If you’re not keen on splashing out on a full set, hit up your local op shop and pick up a variety of the most interesting cocktail glassware you can find.
  • Ice
  • A cocktail shaker: You can pick one of these up for under $10 from many large bottle shops
  • Either coffee beans, or dark chocolate and a grater: These are for decoration—if you don’t have any other need for unground coffee beans, go for some dark chocolate and a microplane (aka. a mini grater that will make you look like a kitchen god/goddess), so you can grate chocolate shavings over the top of each drink.
  • All up, you can probably scrape together the basic ingredients for $110-$125, which should work out at around $7-8 a drink, depending on how generous you are with your pours! Plus you’ll have loads of coffee liqueur and all the hardware you need for next time.

#2: The Mixing

This part is unbelievably simple: First up, put the glass in the freezer so that they are chilled when you serve.

Pour 50ml vodka, 25-35ml coffee liqueur and 25-35ml of freshly brewed coffee into your shaker, fill the shaker with ice, pop on the lid (tightly), and shake for at least 30 seconds.

Take the glass out of the freezer and fill with your freshly made Espresso Martini.

#3: Serve With A Flourish

Once the crema (the creamy coffee layer on the top) has settled, quickly grate your dark chocolate over the top, or place a few coffee beans on the surface, and serve immediately.

#4: Even If Things Go Wrong, Pretend It’s Meant To Be Like That

The key to nailing at-home Espresso Martinis is ALL about the delivery. Make it look easy, even if you’ve cracked a glass in the freezer and need to text a mate to pick up an ingredient on the way. If things aren’t exactly Insta-perfect (hey, it’s your house, not Eau de freakin’ Vie), acknowledge that with a ‘but wait until you try it!’ And if one guest likes their cocktails more bitter, or more sweet, simply tweak the recipe a little for their next one.

Seriously lacking in life hacks? Make sure to keep up-to-date with our bi-weekly Nailed It columns on everything you need to know for, well, life. 

Image credit: Twyla Mae

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