What Does Espresso Martini Taste Like? Flavor Guide

Last Updated on September 6, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Espresso Martini origins trace back to the 1980s when a young and aspiring supermodel requested Dick Bradsell, a British bartender, a cocktail that would wake her up and delight her taste buds.

This classic cocktail is a testament to the artistry of mixology, a unique blend between espresso’s bold character and a classic martini’s sophistication.

If you’re yet to give it a shot, we’ve taken the opportunity to craft one ourselves so we can answer, “What does Espresso Martini taste like?”

Understanding Espresso Martini & Its Flavors

Glass of Espresso Martini

The Espresso Martini showcases coffee’s bitterness with mild sweetness and creamy texture from the liqueur and vodka.

The Espresso Martini’s taste gracefully harmonizes the robust bitterness derived from premium cold-brewed espresso beans with the sweetness of the espresso liqueur.

“Espresso martinis leave a lot of room for creativity.” -Zach Spears, Bar Lead at Lot Six Bar

The Espresso Martini’s flavors dance together, making each sip a journey of taste and texture.

But what does a dirty Martini taste like?

Espresso Martini’s Tasting Notes

Bartender Making Espresso Martini Drink


The initial sip greeted me with the bold embrace of freshly brewed espresso – a rich and slightly bitter note. The brewed espresso flavor is the robust foundation of the favorite beverage.

As I savored the moments, the velvety texture of the vodka gently emerged, adding a smooth and luxurious touch that intertwined seamlessly with the coffee’s essence.

But what truly set the Espresso Martini apart was the artful interplay of the coffee liqueur. Its indulgent sweetness and creamy texture danced harmoniously with the bitterness of the coffee.

Bartender Tip: Adding chocolate syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon, or vanilla syrup can give a new dimension to this coffee-infused cocktail while still maintaining classic taste appeal.


As I completed crafting the Espresso Martini, my nose was filled with an enticing coffee aroma that seemed to transport me to a cozy café.

The unmistakable scent of freshly brewed coffee took center stage, offering a rich, earthy, comforting, and refreshing essence.

Amidst the coffee’s robust notes, there was a delicate undercurrent of sweetness – a trace of the indulgent Kahlua liqueur that hinted at the harmonious blend of flavors within the classic cocktail.

Find out what a classic Martini tastes like here.


As I sipped the Espresso Martini, I noticed its smooth texture. It flowed easily over my palate, neither too heavy nor too light.

The Vodka espresso comfortably coated my tongue, allowing me to appreciate the flavors without overwhelming sensations.

It was a straightforward yet enjoyable texture that contributed to the overall experience of the cocktail. One part of Kahlua gives out creaminess when shaken over ice ingredients, creating a deluxe snow cone effect.


The finish of the Espresso Martini was both satisfying and lingering. The flavors gently subsided, leaving a pleasant aftertaste that echoed the coffee’s robustness and the subtle sweetness of Kahlua.

It wasn’t an abrupt ending but rather a gradual fade that invited me to reflect on the interplay of flavors I had just experienced.

The finish added a final layer to the overall profile of the cocktail, ensuring that its essence stayed with me even after the glass was empty.

When to Drink Espresso Martini

Glass of Espresso Martini with Star Anise

Espresso Martini won’t keep you wide awake all night. This versatile cocktail is suitable for both pre-and post-dinner enjoyment.

The Espresso Martini seamlessly adapts to the occasion, whether a refined aperitif before your meal or a delightful digestif to round off your evening.

If you want Espresso Martini with stronger coffee aromas and tastes, ask for a double shot of espresso in the liquid mixture.

Key Ingredients

To make an Espresso Martini, you will need vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso (cold brew [1] or freshly brewed coffee), simple syrup, and three coffee beans (for health, wealth, and happiness) [2].

The heart of the Espresso Martini lies in the infusion of high-quality cold-brewed espresso beans. The bean quality brings a bold, slightly bitter character that forms the foundation of the cocktail’s flavor profile.

Kahlua liqueur enhances the distinct aroma of espresso martinis by adding sweet hints. This element balances the bitterness from the espresso coffee beans and creates a frothy creaminess.

Vodka provides a smooth, almost velvety texture to the cocktail. Its subtle presence elevates the overall experience, allowing the espresso coffee and Kahlua to shine without overpowering them.

“Espresso Martini gives out a harmony of flavors so sip, savor, and delight in balance.” -Liquor Laboratory

You can go for vanilla syrup or whipped cream with chocolate syrup on top for an additional sweetness factor. But what’s the best vodka for an Espresso Martini?


Is an Espresso Martini sweet or bitter?

An Espresso Martini is bitter, similar to coffee, yet it’s nicely balanced with a sweetness and smooth taste from liqueur and vodka.

It’s like enjoying your favorite coffee with a pleasant twist that makes it both familiar and intriguing.

What is a good coffee for Espresso Martini?

A bold and flavorful coffee works best for crafting an exceptional Espresso Martini. Opt for a medium to dark roast coffee with rich, robust notes.

A coffee blend that boasts deep, chocolatey undertones and a slight hint of nuttiness can add depth to the cocktail’s taste profile.

Is Espresso Martini too strong?

An Espresso Martini is moderately strong when correctly made. It’s about balancing the bold flavors of coffee and the alcohol content.

The sweetness from the liqueur and the smoothness of the vodka work together to create an enjoyable drink that doesn’t overpower the senses.

Will an espresso martini keep me up all night?

An Espresso Martini can wake you up but won’t likely keep you up all night.

While it contains caffeine from the coffee, the amount is relatively small compared to a regular shot of espresso. The presence of alcohol can also counteract the stimulating effects, so drink responsibly.

In Summary

Espresso Martini presents a symphony of flavors and gives an elevated experience to the typical martini flavor.

The espresso martini’s taste can be comparable to coffee but with a nice kick. Combining espresso with the indulgent sweetness of Kahlua and a touch of vodka adds a smooth undercurrent.

This harmonious blend of bitter and sweet notes gives a true martini a velvety sip and unique taste.

Whether drawn to its complexity or enticed by its balance, the Espresso Martini offers a taste adventure for martini and coffee lovers.

How do you find the Espresso Martini taste? Is it sweet or bitter for you? Let us know in the comments.



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

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