5 Tips for the perfect non-alcoholic Espresso Martini | CLEANCO (2024)

History of Espresso Martini

The Espresso Martini is a modern classic co*cktail, loved for its unique combination of coffee and vodka. This sophisticated drink was created in the 1980s by legendary bartender Dick Bradsell. The story behind this well-known co*cktail goes something like this… A very famous fashion model at the time walked into a bar and challenged Dick Bradsell to mix her up a drink that would "wake her up and f*ck her up". The identity of this model is still unknown to this day, some believe it may have been Kate Moss, others think it’s Naomi Campbell however according to Bradsell’s daughter, this is a secret he took to his grave!

Inspired by this request, Bradsell mixed vodka, coffee liqueur, and freshly brewed espresso, creating a drink that would become an icon in the co*cktail world, known as the Espresso Martini.

What goes in it?

An Espresso Martini typically includes the following ingredients:

  • Vodka
  • Freshly brewed espresso
  • Coffee liqueur (If you’ve ran out of this , it’s possible to make it with strong espresso coffee combined with 1-2 tbsps of brown sugar instead.
  • Simple syrup (optional, for sweetness)

The combination of these ingredients results in a rich, velvety co*cktail with a distinct coffee flavour and a slight kick from the vodka. It's usually served in a chilled martini glass and garnished with three coffee beans, symbolising health, wealth, and happiness.

What makes an Espresso Martini frothy?

The signature frothy top of an Espresso Martini comes from shaking the co*cktail vigorously with ice. When shaken, the espresso creates a natural foam, which is then strained into the glass, resulting in a smooth, creamy layer on top of the drink. The fresher the coffee, the better the foam, as the saying goes which is why using freshly brewed espresso is key to achieving froth perfection.


Is there dairy in a non-alcoholic espresso martini?

A traditional Espresso Martini doesn’t contain dairy. The frothiness comes from the espresso, not milk or cream. Similarly, a non-alcoholic version of this co*cktail typically doesn’t include dairy unless specifically modified with ingredients like milk or a dairy substitute. Non-alcoholic versions generally use alcohol-free coffee liqueur and non-alcoholic vodka such as CleanCo’s Clean V and the same freshly brewed espresso to maintain the authentic taste and texture.


Is there caffeine in a non-alcoholic espresso martini?

Yes, a non-alcoholic Espresso Martini still contains caffeine, as it includes freshly brewed espresso. The amount of caffeine is equivalent to that in a standard shot of espresso, so it's something to keep in mind if you're sensitive to caffeine or planning to enjoy this drink later in the evening.

Our top tips for the perfect AF Espresso Martini

Put the espresso in the fridge to cool

One essential tip for making a great Espresso Martini is to let your freshly brewed espresso cool before mixing it with other ingredients. Warm espresso can melt the ice too quickly during shaking, diluting your drink and affecting the frothy texture. By refrigerating the espresso, you ensure it’s cool enough to maintain the integrity of the co*cktail.

Use fresh coffee (that gives the foamy top)

Freshly brewed coffee is crucial for achieving the best flavor and the foamy top of an Espresso Martini. The natural oils in fresh espresso contribute to the drink's signature froth. Pre-brewed or stale coffee won't produce the same quality of foam and can result in a flatter, less vibrant co*cktail.

Pour glasses evenly, filling halfway and then completing them

When pouring the co*cktail, it’s important to fill each glass halfway first, then go back and top them off. This technique ensures that each glass gets an equal share of the foam, giving all your guests the perfect Espresso Martini experience with the ideal balance of liquid and froth.

Shaken not stirred

As the iconic James bond would say, shaken not stirred. The Espresso Martini must be shaken vigorously, not stirred. Shaking with ice is what creates the drink’s famous frothy top. The shaking process creates air bubbles in the espresso, integrating it with the vodka and coffee liqueur while chilling the mixture to the perfect temperature.


Cool the glasses in the freezer

Chilling your martini glasses in the freezer before serving is a small step that makes a big difference. Cold glasses keep the co*cktail at the right temperature longer, enhancing the drinking experience. The frosty glass also complements the icy cold nature of the Espresso Martini.

Crafting the perfect Espresso Martini is an art that combines quality ingredients and careful techniques. From its origins in the 1980s to its status as a beloved modern co*cktail, the Espresso Martini has maintained its allure through its rich, coffee-infused flavour and smooth, frothy texture. Whether you're making a traditional version or a non-alcoholic one, these tips will help you achieve a delicious, visually stunning co*cktail that’s sure to impress.

Try our revisited recipe of a non alcoholic Espresso Martini with Clean T, the Cafe Mexicano!

5 Tips for the perfect non-alcoholic Espresso Martini | CLEANCO (2024)

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