Espresso Martini Day

A cocktail worth celebrating

It’s no surprise that the Espresso Martini has a whole day dedicated to its deliciousness.

That day is March 15th – aka National Espresso Martini Day – an annual celebration of our most popular coffee cocktail.

Who invented the Espresso Martini?

Created in 1983 by legendary British barman, Dick Bradsell, the first version of the Espresso Martini was a little different to what we know today.

Originally named the Vodka Espresso, it was a little sweeter and a little stronger than its successor. And it was served on the rocks!

Legend has it that, one evening, a supermodel (her identity remains a mystery) strutted into Soho Brasserie in London, where Dick worked.

Worn out from a day of super-modelling, she orders a special drink but what she said would soon become legendary…

Dick had just the thing – inspired by the coffee grounds around him, he makes a freshly pressed espresso and mixes in a shaker together with Coffee Liqueur (Kahlúa of course), vodka and sugar syrup. After a long hard shake, he pours it into a martini glass and gently pushes the drink towards the model – The first version of the now-legendary cocktail was born!


The original Espresso Martini recipe

Dick’s original recipe isn’t too different from today’s Espresso Martini.

It calls for Kahlúa coffee liqueur (we were there from the start!), vodka, freshly brewed espresso and sugar syrup.

And garnished with three coffee beans for good luck, of course (one for health, one for wealth and the final one for happiness).


Tips for preparing it

1) Like any cocktail, it’s only as good as its ingredients, so make sure you’re mixing only the best…

Dick chose Kahlúa as his coffee liqueur of choice (made from 100% Arabica beans, for that rich, real coffee taste), so why mess with perfection?

And for vodka, you’ll never go wrong with Absolut.

2) It’s always worth making sure the espresso is freshly brewed, for that incredible, intense flavor. 

3) Making sure it’s shaken well enough is probably the most important part of making an Espresso Martini.

Shake too little and it won’t build up enough tiny bubbles to build a decent foam (this also impacts the drink’s texture).

So make sure you’re rattling that shaker for 15 – 20 seconds, for the perfect head of foam.


Different types of Espresso Martini

Forty years later, we’re taking our lead from Dick and still playing with the recipe, adding new ingredients to make different versions of this sophisticated classic.

We’ve handpicked some of our favorite (and most popular) takes on this legendary cocktail, to help you celebrate!

The perfect Espresso Martini recipe



Ice cubes
1 part Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur
1 part Absolut Vodka
1 part espresso
3 whole coffee beans (garnish)


How to mix


1. Add all ingredients and ice into a shaker.

2. Shake for 15 – 20 seconds, for that velvety foam.

3. Strain into a martini or cocktail glass.

4. Garnish with 3 coffee beans, for good luck.


See the full recipe page →

Our secret ingredient

Ever wondered why cocktails made with Kahlúa hit different?

It’s probably something to do with how we source our quality coffee – through our Coffee For Good program.

Back in 2016, we embarked on an ambitious 10-year project: to ensure that 100% of the Arabica coffee used to make Kahlúa was sourced from four small, sustainable communities in Veracruz, where Kahlúa was born.

We’re proud to say we achieved that goal by 2022! But Coffee For Good isn’t just about us.

It’s about putting down strong roots, to ensure a brighter future for our coffee farmers – so they can succeed with or without us.

And that story is only just beginning. Read all about what we’ve been up to. 

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