The Coffee Martini

Martinis used to be a stiff drink. After all, it’s mostly hard liquor. Then James Bond came along and made the martini hip, and sometime in the 80′s or 90′s, they started adding “tini” to the end of everything, and the modern foo-foo martini was born. If done right, the “Coffeetini” can be appealing to both guys and girls, while still remaining respectable. Lets get a few details out of the way first, before we look at the recipes.

First things first. Vodka or Gin? Definitely Vodka. I love Gin, but I don’t think it works with coffee.

What kind of Vodka? Use a true, premium Vodka like 619 Vodka. I avoid infused vodkas for this particular drink, since I want the real coffee to be the main star. But do what you feel is best. I like to keep my Vodka in the freezer for this kind of recipe. Don’t worry, it won’t freeze.

coffee-martini-619-vodka
Coffee Martini with 619 Vodka

What about the glasses? Well, Martini glasses of course. But for a colder drink, freeze them ahead of time, along with the Vodka.

Shaken or stirred? I like stirred, mainly because it involves less work and I don’t have a shaker. Either will work.

Brewed, espresso, or instant coffee? Actually, they all can work, but I find the espresso or instant works the best.

In the case of espresso or brewed coffee, keep in mind you want to use it fresh, which means it will be hot, which also means it will dilute somewhat when mixed with the ice. This naturally means the espresso will hold up better, since it is concentrated. You could chill the espresso or coffee first, but I feel like the freshness is diminished somewhat. Try it if you like, and compare the differences. In terms of bean origin, I have tried everything from Brazilian beans, to Ethiopian, to Sumatran. They all work well, but I think the Sumatran is my favorite. Just use what you have and compare.

Coffee Martini
Coffee Martini

Instant coffee a great choice if you are in a hurry, or want to save some time. Don’t laugh, coffee geeks. Instant coffee can taste pretty good in cold drinks, and dissolves even in cold water. Great choice if you don’t have an espresso machine or just don’t have the time. It also allows you to easily increase the coffee flavor concentration on the fly. You might even be able to use cold-brewed coffee, but I havent tried it. I suspect it might be too mellow.

One last note on liqueurs. A lot of coffee martini recipes include Kahlua, which is coffee liqueur. I don’t care for it generally speaking in the first place, and for Coffee Martinis, I prefer to let the real coffee provide that flavor element. However, I have included Creme de cacao, which is a chocolate flavored liquor with hints of vanilla. You could potentially use real chocolate sauce or syrup, but I haven’t tried it. I am also afraid it might sweeten the drink too much.

Coffee Martini with Creme de cacao
Coffee Martini with Creme de cacao

Please experiment.

Recipes

Classic Coffee Martini

  • Double Shot of Espresso or 1-2 Tbsp. of Instant Coffee mixed w/2 Ounces of water
  • 2 Ounces of Premium Vodka

In a pitcher or shaker filled with ice, pour the espresso or coffee mixture over the ice, followed by the Vodka. Stir or shake the coffee and vodka for at least 1 minute. Strain and pour into a Martini glass.

OPTIONAL: Garnish with a lemon or orange peel. You can also put add some sugar syrup to the liquid mixture, if you want to sweeten the drink a bit.

Vanilla Cream Martini

  • Double Shot of Espresso or 1-2 Tbsp. of Instant Coffee mixed w/2 Ounces of water
  • 2 Ounces of Premium Vodka
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 Tsp Raw Brown Sugar

In a cold metal bowl, use an electric mixer on low to turn the heavy cream into whipped cream. Mix in the sugar and vanilla mid-way through and continue until the mixture has stiff peaks. In a pitcher or shaker filled with ice, pour the espresso or coffee mixture over the ice, followed by the Vodka. Stir or shake the coffee and vodka for at least 1 minute. Strain and pour into a Martini glass. Dollop the whipped cream mixture on top.

OPTIONAL: Rub the rim of the glass with Vodka, and coat the rim with sugar. You can also drop 2 or 3 coffee beans on the top of the cream. You can also add some sugar syrup to the liquid mixture, if you want to sweeten the drink a bit.

Creamy Dark Chocolate Martini

  • Double Shot of Espresso or 1-2 Tbsp. of Instant Coffee mixed w/2 Ounces of water
  • 1 1/2 Ounces of Premium Vodka
  • 1 Ounce Creme de cacao Dark
  • 1/4 Cup Half & Half

In a pitcher or shaker filled with ice, pour the espresso or coffee mixture over the ice, followed by the Vodka, Creme de Cacao, and Half & Half. Stir or shake the coffee and vodka for at least 1 minute. Strain and pour into a Martini glass.

OPTIONAL: Include some large pieces of dark chocolate on the rim. This can be tricky, but is made easier by using a hot knife to put a groove in the chocolate, to allow it to sit on the rim. You can also add a whipping cream dollop (from other recipe), and float some small chocolate shavings on top. You can also add some sugar syrup to the liquid mixture, if you want to sweeten the drink a bit.

Conclusion

Don’t be afraid to use the above recipes to experiment or even combine some elements of them. There are countless ways to make an Espressotini or Coffeetini, so have fun.

Next time you wake up and are trying to decide between hard liquor and a cup of coffee, maybe these recipes can end the argument between the voices in your head. I also think it is a great “Hair of the Dog” solution.

Resources

619 Vodka – Thank you to 619 Vodka for donating the vodka used to create these Coffee Martini recipes.

My Favorite Booze Accessories – Product ideas from Amazon.com USA for your Coffee Martini needs.

Coffee Vodka – An article by Lura Lee that explores the coffee flavored vodkas.

Coffee Infused Vodka – A DIY approach to making a coffee infused vodka.

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Chris Arnold

Coffee, Photography, and Apple...what else is there?

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