Shake up the espresso martini flavor by swapping the liquor in the glass

(Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Museum Of The City Of New York)
(Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Museum Of The City Of New York) /

Cocktail trends have an ebb and flow. On occasion, it seems that everyone has that particular sipper in the glass. With the espresso martini flavor, it is time to give it a boost by swapping the liquor used.

For the most part, an espresso martini is generally vodka, coffee and coffee liqueur. While the basic recipe can be modified in a myriad of ways, the reality is that cocktail’s core flavor is the reason that drives that craving. It is not an after-dinner coffee or a sugar bomb of a drink. Whether drunk before, during or after the meal, the reality is that it is that bold coffee note that people enjoy.

Since the espresso martini is continuing to have a moment, drinkers are looking beyond the classic recipe to inject new energy into the sipping enjoyment. Simply swapping the liquor can be one of the easiest options.

Crown espresso martini
Crown Espresso Martini, photo provided by Crown Royal /

For example, using a whiskey with a touch of sweetness can appeal to the drinker who likes those blended coffee beverages. While not necessarily a dessert cocktail, that warmth from the whiskey with subtle vanilla notes feels a touch cozy and even familiar.

The Crown Espresso, made with Crown Royal Vanilla, gets a little extra flavor boost from the amaretto and vanilla pairing which makes this option a delightful way to end the evening.

Crown Espresso


  • 1.5 oz Crown Royal Vanilla
  • .25 oz coffee liqueur
  • .25 oz amaretto
  • 1 oz espresso


  • Build ingredients in a mixing tin, add ice, and shake vigorously.
  • Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.
  • Garnish with three coffee beans.

While the espresso martini flavor can sometimes verve toward the sweet side, adding a savory, even salty note, can be exciting. In this option from Milagro Tequila, the parmesan garnish might not necessarily be the most common idea, but it is definitely an idea that deserves its moment to shine.

espresso martini with parmesan cheese
Quespresso Milagro Martini, photo provided by Milagro Tequila /

A similar idea was recently showcased at Wisconsin Cheese’s SpeakCheesy event during the Art of Cheese Festival, where it served an espresso martini with a garnish of grated parmesan. The slightly salty note makes all the other cocktail flavors pop.

Quespresso Milagro Martini 


  • 2 parts Milagro Anejo
  • ½ part Agave
  • 3 Parts Espresso
  • Grated parmesan cheese


  • Add all ingredients to shaker, shake for 5-8 seconds, strain into coupe glass, top with grated parmesan cheese, and enjoy.

Sometimes using a coffee infused liquor can make the espresso martini flavor even more enjoyable. It is that underlying note that keeps the espresso from being just one note.

Recently, SKYY Vodka introduced its SKYY Infusions Espresso. Speaking to this new offering, Sean Yelle, Campari Sr. Category Marketing Director at Campari Group USA said, “At SKYY Vodka, we pride ourselves on bringing to life bold ideas and flavors that enhance the cocktail experience and deliver a dose of fun.”

While it is delightful in an espresso martini, it is equally as intriguing served with a little tonic water, similar to a coffee tonic. Whether drinkers prefer a subtle coffee note or the more traditional version, it is definitely worth another pour.

Classic SKYY Espresso Martini


  • 1.5 oz. SKYY Infusions Espresso
  • 1 oz. Cold Brew Concentrate or Espresso
  • .75 oz. Simple Syrup (1:1)


  • Build in a shaking tin. Shake with plenty of ice and double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Although some people might wish that pumpkin spice season was a little shorter, others cannot get enough of those classic, warm, comforting fall flavors. When that morning latte is not enough to satisfy that craving, cocktail hour can embrace the seasonal moment, too.

In this cocktail from Skrewball, the combination of nutty, spice, and coffee might have a few people recalling their fondness for the fall gourd.

Pumpkin Spice Espresso Martini


  • 1 ¼ oz. Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey
  • ¾ oz. coffee liqueur
  • ½ oz. pumpkin syrup
  • 2 oz. espresso
  • Dash of pumpkin spice


  • Combine 1 ¼ oz. Skrewball, ¾ oz. coffee liqueur, ½ oz. pumpkin syrup, 2
  • oz. espresso & a dash of pumpkin spice into a shaker with ice.
  • Shake vigorously.
  • Strain into coupe glass.
  • Sprinkle with pumpkin spice & drizzle with chocolate.

Changing the espresso martini flavor with a slight tropical note can be quite enjoyable. Just like the coffee growing region tends to be a particular space around the Equator, a robust rum from a nearby locale can complement the fruitiness in a coffee.

In this espresso martini from Brugal, the touch of saline is an ingredient that cannot be overlooked. That punch of acidity boosts all the other flavors in the glass. It will be a concept to remember for other recipes.

Brugal Espresso Martini
Brugal Espresso Martini, photo provided by Brugral /

Brugal Espresso Martini


  • 1.5 oz Brugal 1888 Rum
  • 1 oz Cold Brew Concentrate
  • .5 oz Mr. Black Cold Brew Liqueur
  • .5 oz Orgeat
  • 1 Dash Saline
  • 1 tablespoon Pineapple Greek Yogurt


  • Pour all ingredients into a shaker tin, fill with ice and shake hardly for 10 seconds. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with 3 coffee beans.

Coffee and chocolate are a classic combination. In this espresso martini, the Casa Azul Organic Anejo with the coffee heightens the slightly bitter, dark chocolate aspects to the cocktail. With the mole bitters, it is the nuance that entices people to go back sip after sip.


  • 1 oz Casa Azul Añejo
  • 1 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Espresso Liqueur
  • 2 dashes of Xocolatl Mole Bitters


  • Stir over ice, strain into a coupe glass, garnish with chocolate shavings, and enjoy.

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