Posted: December 31, 2022 in Cocktails, drink recipes, espresso, MARTINI, mixology
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Years ago, I gave my self an important research project: Create your own version of the perfect espresso martini.

It took painstaking research, which required drinking many espresso martinis in many a bar on my travels.

My favorite version came from a bartender working at Knave, the lobby bar at the at Parker New York, the former Le Parker Meridien Hotel in Manhattan. It featured Coole Swan, an Irish cream liqueur I had never heard of before. The bartender was nice enough to write down the recipe for me, but I guess I had a little too much to drink…because I lost it! So it was up to me to use those brain cells I didn’t fry and come up with my own combination.

For me, the perfect espresso martini needs to celebrate the unique, bold flavor of coffee. I never dilute my morning coffee with such nonsense as hazelnut or caramel flavorings, so there’s none of that here. I save the Bailey’s for mudslides.

I do, however, like a touch of cream in my coffee, and the Coole Swan works perfectly in this recipe to add that element to my martini.

A few years after I thought I came up with my perfect recipe, I discovered a coffee liqueur that blew Kahlua out of the water…50 proof versus 40 proof (and now Kahlua has reduced the alcohol in some countries to 32 proof) with less sweetness and more bold coffee flavor. It comes from Australia, and it’s called Mr. Black.

You won’t find Coole Swan or Mr. Black at your tiny corner liquor store, but if you have a quality store a little further away from home, make the trip.

Brewing your own espresso is another step toward martini perfection, but if you don’t have a machine, you can buy some pre-made espressos in the refrigerated coffee section of many supermarkets. Go for the ones without sugar.


3 oz. freshly brewed espresso
2.5 oz. good quality vodka (I think Stoli Elit is the best out there)
1.5 oz. Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
1.5 oz. Coole Swan Superior Irish Creme Liqueur
Espresso or coffee beans (optional)



Chill your martini glasses. Pour all the ingredients (except the beans) into a large shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into chilled glasses. Garnish with 3 beans. (Tradition says the three beans represent health, wealth, and happiness.)

This recipe makes 2 martinis.



And by the way, if you pronounce it “expresso,” we can’t be friends.


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