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Espresso martini recipe

Pact Coffee HQ is fast becoming known for more than just great coffee and a cracking collection of old vinyl. Every time we invite customers down to join us, and the sun is past the yard arm, we reach for the cocktail shaker and are soon sipping espresso martinis, and doing our best to look debonair.

Espresso martinis are a great way to kick off an evening, not least because of the heady combination of alcohol and caffeine! This is our method, honed over the past year.

History of the espresso martini cocktail

So how did such an invigorating combination of ingredients come together in the first place? Who was looking for double the buzz, and stumbled across something truly delicious?

Invented in the ’80s by a mixologist at the Soho Brasserie, the espresso martini started out as the ‘Vodka Espresso’. The slightly rude origin story is that a customer asked cocktail-inventor Dick Bradsell for a drink that would “wake her up, and f*** her up”. Goodness!

He combined vodka, coffee, coffee liqueur, sugar syrup, and ice and plonked it all in a martini glass. So for any long-suffering bartenders regularly struggling with orders of eight at a time, you know who you have to blame. Cheers, Dick!

How to make an espresso martini


  • 50ml of good vodka
  • 25ml of Kahlua (Tia Maria is a good alternative)
  • 50ml of espresso. If you don’t have an espresso machine, a shot of triple-strength cafetiere coffee/Aeropress coffee are good alternatives
  • Golden caster sugar or demerara sugar
  • 25ml of milk (ideally full fat)
  • Plenty of ice


  • A martini glass
  • A cocktail shaker, or a container with a lid + a tea strainer!


  1. Half fill your shaker with ice
  2. Melt a teaspoon of sugar in a double shot of espresso (vary the sugar depending on how sweet your tooth is!)
  3. Pour 50ml vodka, 25ml Kahlua, 25ml milk and 50ml of coffee over the ice
  4. Shake it like a polaroid picture. You should shake it pretty enthusiastically for at least 30 secs.
  5. Pour, and drink immediately! If you’re feeling snazzy, you can float a coffee bean or two in the crema.