One sip and you'll fall in love with this easy espresso martini made with Baileys and Kahlua! It's the perfect blend of sweet, creamy coffee flavor with a kick.
If you love coffee drinks and martinis, you will love this creamy espresso martini cocktail recipe with Baileys and Kahlua. It is the perfect blend of sweetness and creaminess—and just the right amount of vodka to still taste like a martini without being too strong.
It's the perfect after-dinner drink or sweet martini cocktail to celebrate the New Year or Valentine's Day. And it will help keep you awake until midnight. 😉
Best of all, this espresso martini recipe is super simple to mix up, even if you don't have an espresso machine!
How to make an espresso martini
To make this caffeinated cocktail you’ll need just a few basic ingredients. And I'm giving you plenty of options for substitutions so you can make it with whatever you have.
- Espresso – you have a few different options here. If you have an espresso maker, pull a double shot of fresh espresso. You can also use Italian espresso powder (like this one). Just dissolve a teaspoon of instant espresso powder in 2 ounces of hot water. If you don't have espresso, you can substitute double-strength coffee or cold brew concentrate.
- Baileys – this Irish cream liqueur is what gives the drink its sweetness and creaminess. You actually have a lot of options here—you can use any cream liqueur, but I like the original Baileys Irish Cream. They also make an almond milk Baileys which you can use for a dairy-free version. And the salted caramel or other Baileys flavors would work as well. If it's a flavor you would add to a latte, try it in your coffee cocktail!
- Kahlua – this rum and coffee liqueur originated in Mexico. It adds to the sweetness and amps up the coffee flavor.
- Vodka – the options are endless on this one. I use plain vodka because that’s what I keep stocked at home (I like Ciroc). But you can use any flavor that goes with coffee. I would stick with an infused vodka that's not sweetened since the Baileys and Kahlua are sweet.
- Ice cubes - for shaking
- Cocktail shaker – You’ll definitely want to use a shaker to make your drink extra cold and a little foamy (I like this stainless steel one that has a built-in strainer).
- Cocktail glasses – And don’t forget proper cocktail glasses for the full effect. Martini glasses are traditional, but if you want a glass with a higher rim you can also use these coupe glasses for cocktails—including martinis, daiquiris, and Manhattans—as well as for serving champagne.
Step 1: Prepare the glass
Be sure to use a chilled cocktail glass to serve your drink (stash it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes). If you want to make it fancy, you can dress up your glass with a sugar rim.
Just wet the rim of the glass, then dip it in a flat dish of sanding sugar or regular sugar mixed with espresso powder (dried espresso instant coffee).
Step 2: Mix the drink
Add the shot of espresso coffee, Baileys, Kahlua, vodka, and ice cubes to the shaker, shaking until chilled, creamy, and a little bit foamy on top.
Step 3: Serve it up
Pour your classic espresso martini into your chilled glass and garnish with a few espresso beans floated on the top.
Start with the basic recipe and you can change up your coffee cocktail to make many different variations.
Love an iced vanilla latte? Make an espresso martini with Baileys and vanilla vodka inspired by your favorite iced coffee.
Want to try an Italian coffee? Shake it up with Baileys and Frangelico to go with your Tiramisu. Made in Italy, Frangelico has hazelnut, coffee, cocoa, and vanilla that gives it a hint of Nutella flavor.
How about an island vibe? Try an espresso drink with Baileys and Tia Maria, a cold brew coffee liqueur with Jamaican rum and Madagascar vanilla. You can also make your espresso with Marley coffee (Lively Up is their dark roast).
Prefer a less sweet cocktail? Try making your own coffee-infused vodka using the cold-brew method. Just pour vodka over crushed coffee beans and let it infuse for a few days to make an unsweetened alternative to Kahlua.
Want less caffeine? You can always used decaf espresso to get the coffee flavor with less of a kick.
Garnish your classic cocktail with a few coffee beans. Or if you want to get fancy, rim the glass with a mixture of espresso powder and sugar. Just pour a little caramel onto a small plate and dip the rim of the glass in it. Then dip in a flat dish of the sugar mix for a caramel macchiato inspired rim.
However you make it, you'll love this easy Baileys espresso martini dessert cocktail!
Yes, you can use Baileys instead of Kahlua for an espresso martini. Keep in mind they have different flavor profiles. While they are both sweet, Baileys is cream based and Kahlua is coffee based. If you leave out the Kahlua, coffee lovers may want to add a little more espresso to increase the coffee flavor.
The best liquor to use for an espresso martini is vodka. Vodka is a neutral spirit so it won't overpower the espresso flavor. It lets the flavors of the other ingredients shine through. But you can always experiment with other spirits like gin, rum, bourbon, or tequila for a different flavor. Irish whiskey to complement the Baileys would also be a great option.
You can substitute Kahlua coffee liqueur in an espresso martini with other coffee liqueurs like Tia Maria, Patron XO Cafe, Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur, or even homemade coffee simple syrup.
More fun cocktails to try
- Easy Salted Caramel Martini For Dessert In A Glass
- How To Make A Tiramisu Martini
- Godiva Chocolate Martini That’s Perfect For Dessert
- The Perfect Pumpkin Spice Martini
- Baileys Hot Chocolate
- Baileys White Russian Recipe
- Ice cubes
- 1 ounce Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
- 1 ounce Kahlua coffee liqueur
- 1 ounce vodka
- 2 ounces espresso
- Add ice, Baileys, Kahlua, vodka, and espresso to a cocktail shaker.
- Shake until blended. Then strain into a martini glass and garnish as desired.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 15mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 0gSugar: 22gProtein: 0g
Note: nutrition data provided here is only an estimate.