We're sitting here at work daydreaming of lots of tasty coffee cocktails and the Espresso Martini jumps to mind as one of the simplest yet over-engineered. So we decided to look into what really matters in an Espresso Martini.
We’ll keep this simple (takes about 7 minutes):
You will need:
- Martini glass - available here (Amazon UK) or here (Amazon US)
- Cocktail shaker kit - available here (Amazon UK) or here (Amazon US)
- 3 coffee beans (per glass to garnish)
3 Key Ingredients:
- 50ml Cold fresh espresso coffee - recommended coffee available here
- 50ml Vodka - available here (Amazon UK)
- 50ml Kaluha or Tia Maria (we prefer Kaluha) - available here (Amazon UK)
- Make Martini Glass Cold (Fill with Ice and leave for at least 5 mins to chill or if you prefer place in freezer)
- Fill Cocktail shaker ¾ full with ice
- Add equal parts espresso coffee shot (you must let the coffee go cold), vodka and Kaluha to cocktail shaker (order isn’t that important but we prefer the order as above due to their 3 viscosities)
- Side note: it's very important you let the coffee cool before using otherwise the Kaluha will likely react badly
- Put Lid on shaker and shake vigorously for around 30 seconds
- Decant the ice in the glass (can reuse on second glass) and Take off shaker lid
- Pour the cocktail mix fast into the martini glass as this will help create a nice foamed top
- Garnish with 3 coffee beans in the middle and serve
If your stuck or need something a little we have a video below by Kaluha that uses the same method that we can highly recommend.
Although we didn’t make the video and our displaying of this video is in no way sponsored.
Click below to jump right to a section:
Extracting an espresso coffee without an espresso coffee machine
You can easily make an espresso martini at homewithout an espresso machine. In fact you can literally use any coffee extraction method for example: cafetiere, pour-over, aeropress.
However, we recommend using a stove top for making your espresso if you don’t have an espresso machine handy. The reason we recommend the stove top (sometimes known as a Mokka Pot) above the other methods on our list. Is that the small surface area allows for the smaller amount of water needed for an espresso to pass across the bed of coffee.
Now, if you own an espresso machine, chances are you’re already able to make an espresso, so I suggest moving onto the next section: What coffee to use.
Below is how you can easily make your espresso shots in a stove top with just 3 steps:
1 - Fill the base chamber with water
A typical espresso shot is 44ml (1.5oz). The number of shots you can make in one go is dictated by the amount of coffee that can comfortably sit in the filter.
An espresso shot typically uses around 7grms of ground coffee beans. One HEAPED tea-spoon would be roughly 7grms of ground coffee.
So if you can fit 3 heaped teaspoons of coffee in the filter, you can make 3 espresso shots and so you would need 132ml of water.
2 - Add the coffee to the filter
You want to ensure that you aren’t over-filling your coffee filter. Remember that your shots of espresso don’t need to be hot for your espresso martini. So if you need to brew your stove top twice, then that isn’t an issue.
Fill the filter ensuring a flat bed of coffee.
3 - Attach the filter to the lower and upper chambers (Put the stove top back together) and start the boil
Once you’ve worked out how it all goes back together, you simply need to place your stove top, on the hob.
Bringing the coffee to the boil will start the process of drawing the water through the bed of coffee which will produce your espresso shots.
What coffee to use in your espresso martinis
We’d be doing ourselves a dis-service if we were to say that coffee isn’t the most important part of an espresso martini. However all joking aside... It’s important to choose the right type of coffee. Especially if you are making your espresso without an espresso machine.
The reason an espresso machine is able to pull that deep-rich coffee flavour out of the ground coffee, is that it is using pressure to force the oils and flavours from the beans. They actually use a lot of pressure. The average espresso machine pushes water through the coffee at 9bars of pressure. That is around 4 times the pressure that is in an average car tyre.
So if you aren’t using an espresso maker; it’s especially important to pick a rich and strong coffee. There are a lot of “espresso” blend coffee available on the market however if you are looking for something to pack a punch of flavour we recommend our DEATHLY STRONG coffee. (Available here)
However if you would prefer to head to the local supermarket to buy your coffee, you should look for a medium to dark roasted blend with a mix of “robusta” beans, which are known for their potent strength.
How much does the quality of the vodka and coffee liqueur matter and what should I buy?
We’ve tried many espresso martinis in our time and it is definitely true to say the taste varies significantly from bar to bar and although bartender has a large part in that we believe the ingredients are the biggest factor. We have covered what coffee to use and how to extract it so now we move on to what you should use in for other key ingredients.
While working out what vodka to buy for an espresso martini we think of the common phrase garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) or as we prefer to say it; put sh** in and get sh** back out. In our experience, there is no value in buying the vodka that here in the UK is regularly referred to as paint stripper. We suggest you avoid own brand supermarket labels were possible. We typically will use Smirnoff (as low as £16 per Litre) or Absolut (£18) due to balance of quality vs price, but have also tried Grey Goose (£33) and all these make a great option. We don’t think you need to be using anything ‘posher’ than these.
Two big tips here though are;
- If you prepared you can actually save a good amount of money on these vodkas by buying on Amazon (available here)
- Alway look out for which supermarket has got it spirit deal on - especially as we approach a holiday/festive period
To some extent the same goes for the coffee liqueur, if the coffee liqueur that you use taste disgusting it won't magically taste lovely in the cocktail. That said we find this is the ingredient you get the most wiggle room on. The coffee liqueur you use is mainly down to personal preference as the key thing this is doing in the cocktail is providing the sweetness needed to take the edge off both the vodka and the coffee. As an example if using Tia Maria then generally you may find a need to add extra (which can make for an overpowering taste) or you may need to use a simple syrup (sugar syrup) to help balance the cocktail. This is the reason we prefer Kaluha it carries that little extra sweetness (despite being slightly more expensive- means one less bottle to stock in the cupboard too. As Long as you're happy with the sweetness of you liqueur then you good to go (note: stay clear
In short - We are not suggesting you go out and spend a fortune on fancy expensive vodka but we also don’t recommend cheaping out. A well know label brand will be more than ok. as the better the ingredients the better the martini.
Now you’ve got the method, an ingredients list and some key nuggets of information about the quality of those ingredients you are armed with all you need to know to make some kick ass espresso martinis.
You now know that you don't need an expensive espresso machine to make an espresso martini as this can be done with a stove top (which will only set you back about £10).
So we hate to say it but what's stopping you - come try it for yourselves and let us know how you get on.
We have tried to keep ours simple but if you have a better recipe then we would love to hear from you so comment below - we’re always open to suggestions.