Two Minute Espresso Martini with Baileys

Not just for dessert anymore, the espresso martini with Baileys can literally be shaken up in two minutes! This Italian cocktail swaps Irish cream liquor for traditional Kahlua with creamy results. The best cocktail party drink for the holidays!

cocktail shaker and jigger with a coffee bean topped espresso martini.

If you love espresso and a good cocktail, then grab a shaker and let’s get to shaking, baby! An espresso martini that is. Creamy Baileys gets shaken up with a little vodka and espresso for before dinner, after dinner or anytime cocktails are on the menu!

Feeling a big need to espress-o yourself (sorry I couldn’t resist)? A batch of this super easy dark chocolate espresso bark or a scoop of stracciatella gelato are sweet ends to a great dinner.

Best vodka for espresso martini

What kind of vodka works best for an espresso martini? Many times the answer for these kind of blended cocktails is “it doesn’t matter”. The short answer really is whatever you have on hand or prefer drinking.

In case you need more, this guide by Decanter has lots of great recommendations for vodka flavor profiles that work well with espresso.


PRO TIP

Espresso is not only a drink but it’s also a type of brewing method.
Espresso means “expressed,” as in forcing steam or water through the finely ground beans.


Espresso: the non-negotiable ingredient

white cup and saucer of coffee with blue napkin in background

If you get the notion that swapping out regular drip coffee for espresso would work for your martini, you need to swap that idea right back.

Espresso is critical for an espresso martini for a few reasons:

  • Flavor. Espresso is finely ground and uses less water resulting in a velvety smooth flavor coffee could never replicate.
  • Crema: Because espresso is extracted or pressed through the machine, you get that natural, creamy topping that is crema.
  • Name. It’s not called a coffee martini. 😊

Don’t have an espresso machine?

You can buy instant espresso powder from Medaglia de Oro in a pinch to make a pretty creamy espresso martini. It’s a lot cheaper than buying a machine (p.s. love this stovetop espresso maker)!

This post contains links to affiliate websites including Amazon. I make a small commission for any purchases made using these links. Thank you!

Step by step

For one martini:

  • Pull 2 oz. espresso [1] and allow to cool (make ahead or earlier in the day)
  • Make simple syrup and cool [2].
  • Shake espresso, vodka, Baileys (you can use Kahlua too!) and simple syrup in a chilled shaker for 30 seconds.
  • Add ice and shake again for 30 more second.
  • Strain into a martini glass and garnish with chocolate, peppermint sticks or coffee beans. A grating of nutmeg is beautiful too!

Espresso Martini Recipe Ratio

2 parts vodka: 1 part espresso: 1/2 part Baileys: 1/2 part simple syrup

Tips for making the best espresso martini

espresso martini with a candy cane hanging of the side of the martini glass.
  • Mise en place. While espresso martini can be made in under 2 minutes, you do have to have your espresso at room temperature so pull your shots earlier in the day.
  • Simple syrup. Boil equal parts of water and sugar (1:1 ratio) to make simple syrup. Great to keep on hand in the fridge for your cocktails or smoothies!
  • Dry shake method. Shake your wet ingredients together first for the most froth. Then add your ice and shake again.

Substitutions

For vodka

You can use tequila or rum if vodka doesn’t work for you.

For Baileys

Kahlua is a traditional coffee liqueur for espresso martinis and definitely can be used instead.

Make ahead tips

To make espresso martinis ahead of time:

  1. Make the simple syrup up to 2 weeks ahead.
  2. Pull your espresso shots the day of your party and allow to cool. Refrigerate and then bring to room temp before shaking.

Storing + Reheating Tips

Storage

Store unused mixed martinis in a sealed container in the fridge for 3 days.

Freezer Tips

You can freeze leftover espresso martinis in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container for up to 2 months.

Defrost at room temperature before following shaking instructions in the recipe card.

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


close up of espresso martini in a martini glass.
5 from 4 votes

2 Minute Espresso Martini with Baileys

Not just for dessert anymore, the espresso martini with Baileys can literally be shaken up in two minutes! This Italian cocktail swaps Irish cream liquor for traditional Kahlua with creamy results. The best cocktail party drink for the holidays!
Prep Time:5 minutes
Total Time:5 minutes
Servings 2
Share by Text

Ingredients
 

For simple syrup

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water

For espresso martini

  • 4 oz vodka, I use Tito's; whatever you have on hand
  • 2 oz espresso, can use espresso powder
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz Baileys 1 oz
  • coffee beans, for garnish; see below

Instructions

Make simple syrup

  • Add sugar and water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear, about 3 minutes. Cool completely.
    Makes 1 cup.
    ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water

For espresso martini

  • Shake all ingredients in a cold shaker first for 20-30 seconds.
    2 oz espresso, 1 oz simple syrup, 1 oz Baileys 1 oz
  • Add ice to container about halfway and shake again for 30 seconds to chill.
    4 oz vodka
  • Pour into a martini glass. Garnish with coffee beans, shaved chocolate or nutmeg. Small candy canes are great for the holidays too!
    coffee beans

Notes

To make simple syrup:
 
Ratios for multiple servings:
Vodka: espresso = 2:1 (2 parts vodka:1 part espresso)
And then the simple syrup and Baileys are each equal to 1/2 the amount of espresso.
Example for one serving:
2 oz of vodka, 1 oz espresso, 1/2 oz Baileys, 1/2 oz simple syrup

Storage

Store unused mixed martinis in a sealed container in the fridge for 3 days.

Freezer Tips

You can freeze leftover espresso martinis in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container for up to 2 months.
Defrost at room temperature before following shaking instructions in the recipe card.
Course: Beverages, Cocktails
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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4 Comments

  1. Celebrating Christmas with the family this weekend. We all really enjoyed these. Usually we need a multiple choice bar but everyone loved these martinis.5 stars

    1. I love that you toasted the holidays with some espresso martinis! So fun seeing the younger set embracing these cocktails from the 90’s! Merry Christmas, Mary and thank you so much for taking the time to share and rate!

  2. I got an espresso machine for my birthday and wanted to try a martini. We landed on this Bailey’s Espresso Martini recipe and it was SO delicious. Thank you for the great recipe.5 stars