Espresso Martini

Discover our guide on how to make the perfect Espresso Martini from the comfort of your own home.

As a rule, Espresso Martinis – like any of your favourite cocktails – taste better when they’re made for you in your favourite bar. Equally, we love nothing more than our home comforts.

By learning how to make a homemade Espresso Martini – you get the best of both worlds. And with our convenient guide, you can replicate a timeless and indulgent classic again and again.

What you will need

Keeping in theme with simplicity and decadence, you’ll only need the following elements:

25ml The Lakes Vodka
25ml Fresh espresso coffee
5ml Sugar Syrup
Garnish 3 Coffee beans
Glassware Espresso Martini Glass
Equipment Cocktail Shaker & Strainer

The key ingredients

The Lakes Vodka


To ensure you make the perfect Espresso Martini every time - it's essential you choose the right vodka.

And by choosing our ultra-smooth English vodka, you’re in capable hands. Voted the World’s Best Vodka 2019, we use the distinct characteristics of fine British wheat for a crisp clean finish.

Distilled just once in our handmade copper pot still using the purest water from the Lakes District National Park - the result is a sweet and well-rounded flavour. Just like the Espresso Martini, The Lakes Vodka is uncomplicated and simply beautiful.

Shop The Lakes Vodka
Freshly brewed espresso


As the name suggests, espresso is a key component of this drink. And the final serve is only as good as the quality of your ingredients.

Choosing a freshly brewed shot from your home coffee machine will not only achieve an authentic taste, but also create a frothy head. Depending on your preference, we would suggest opting for a stronger, darker blend for that undisputed caffeine flavour.

If you don’t have access to a machine, an extra-strong measure of filter coffee or instant coffee are suitable alternatives.

SUGGESTION: Put the coffee to chill in the fridge for a few moments to avoid any of the flavour being lost.

Add sugar syrup for sweetness


The purpose of the sugar syrup is to balance out the bitterness of the espresso with a little more sweetness – providing a more rich, well-rounded flavour.

We recommend a measurement of 5ml, but you’re welcome to add more if you need your sweet tooth satisfying.

Don’t have sugar syrup in the house? It’s easy to make your own. You only need two ingredients: water and sugar. Combine equal parts of sugar with water – bring it to a simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved. 

SUGGESTION: A 25ml serving of coffee liqueur can be used as an alternative sweetener.

The method

Chill your glass

Before moving onto the strain, ensure your glass is chilled. The simplest way to do this is by keeping your glass in the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving.

Filling the glass with ice also works. The Espresso Martini itself is served without ice, so remember to empty the ice before pouring.

Tap, swirl & Shake

Place the ice, vodka, syrup and espresso shot into the cocktail shaker. Remember to add the coffee last to avoid diluting the drink with melted ice.

The most satisfying part of an Espresso Martini is the foam. To create this, firstly you need to tap and swirl the shaker after adding the ingredients.

Once you’ve done this make sure you shake the shaker hard for 20-30 seconds, this allows the natural oils in the coffee to combine with the air bubbles. Pour your cocktail and watch the creamy foam sit majestically on the top of your martini.

An elegant finish

The adage, ‘presentation is everything’ applies here. No authentic Espresso Martini is complete without espresso beans. Used simply for garnishing, add three coffee beans to float on your foam topped cocktail.

TRIVIA: The floating three beans originates from the traditional serving of Sambuca in Italy. Known as con la mosca – translated as “with the fly” – they represent health, wealth and happiness. Serving an even number of beans is considered bad luck.

Espresso Martini with a twist


Using the same method but simply substitute The Lakes English Vodka for a serving of our deliciously indulgent salted caramel vodka liqueur.

Sweet and salty with hints of toffee, the intricate flavour infusions of this velvety smooth vodka liqueur will deliver a comforting, luxurious experience.

Shop The Lakes Salted Caramel Vodka Liqueur

The history of the Espresso Martini

When compared to its cocktail counterparts, the Espresso Martini has a short history – with its inception occurring in the early 1980s. Whilst origins of other cocktails tend to be dubious or disputed, this modern classic has no such problems. This invention is credited to British bartender Dick Bradsell, a renowned figure in London’s cocktail making scene, who was also the mind behind other modern classics like the Bramble and the Treacle. The story goes that whilst Dick was working in a Soho Brasserie, a world-famous model requested him to make a drink that would “wake me up”.

Although the model in question has never been named, Kate Moss was rumoured to be the lucky patron. With a coffee machine and back bar in sight, Dick created the first ever Espresso Martini. Originally named the Vodka Espresso, the inaugural recipe featured vodka, sugar syrup, two types of coffee liqueur and freshly made espresso. After a change in name and fine tuning to the recipe, we now have the final version known and loved around the world today. The Espresso Martini’s popularity continues to grow from strength to strength - shaking up the cocktail scene with its enlivening mix of caffeine and vodka.