Ah, the espresso martini! They are so delicious and refreshing, but we are coffee lovers and we love a twist on a classic espresso martini! Coffee, cherries, and white chocolate just play so well together, so why not make an exciting and delicious cocktail using all three flavors? Exactly, we don’t know why either. We know you will love this White Chocolate Cherry Espresso Martini as your newest favorite caffeinated cocktail!
The Classic Espresso Martini
The classic version is quite simple and includes only three ingredients: espresso, coffee liqueur and vodka. Sources say that it originated in London in the 1980s and was invented by Dick Bradsell. According to Difford’s Guide to Cocktails, which is our go-to source for classic cocktail recipes, the classic version is made shaken with the following ingredients:
- 1.5 oz vodka
- 1 oz fresh hot espresso
- ⅔ oz coffee liqueur
- a pinch of salt
But you can find many espresso martini variations of the classic around the internet and in bars. Some versions add simple syrup to enhance the sweetness of the drink as well, which is likely personal preference.
Our Version: White Chocolate Cherry Espresso Martini
Our version of this delightful martini adds flavors of white chocolate and maraschino cherry to the base. We omit the coffee liqueur and use a little more espresso to balance the flavors.
You might notice that there is no added sugar (or simple sugar syrup) in our version of the espresso martini. We think the white chocolate liqueur and Luxardo are both contributing enough sweetness that it just doesn’t need any for our preference. But if you like a sweeter touch on this, feel free to add a squirt of simple syrup to the shaker.
We love the white chocolate liqueur here, and you should be able to find it at a decent liquor store. Luxardo maraschino cherry liqueur, with its distinctive bottle, should also be widely available. Both add distinction to this cocktail and really boost the flavor!
What vodka is best in an espresso martini?
As far as vodka, just use what you like. Everyone has a favorite, so you do you!
The traditional garnish for the espresso martini are 3 espresso beans. We also like to include an authentic maraschino cherry. There are several brands out there, but Luxardo is the most widely known and available, and in our opinion, the best.
How much alcohol is in an espresso martini?
Like the name 'martini' implies, an espresso martini is going to pack a big punch when it comes to alcohol content! A classic espresso martini has vodka, which is generally 80 proof (40% alcohol). Additionally, it usually has coffee liqueur, like Kalúah, which runs at 43 proof (21.5% alcohol).
Our version includes vodka (80 proof), along with white chocolate liqueur (30 proof), and Luxardo maraschino liqueur which is a whopping 64 proof! So our version is quite strong, yet super drinkable! Drink responsibly folks!
Why are there 3 coffee beans on the espresso martini?
Besides the obvious aesthetic of showcasing the main ingredient in the espresso martini, the 3 beans actually have meaning. It is said that the beans represent health, wealth, and happiness.
Do you use hot or cold espresso in the espresso martini?
There is not a hard rule here and recipes vary between hot fresh shots of espresso and ones that chill in the fridge overnight. Some coffee aficionados say that adding ice to espresso will make it bitter, so cold brew is better in this application. We recommend that you try them both and use what you prefer. We prefer to use a fresh shot of espresso from our espresso machine in our version.
How much caffeine is in an espresso martini?
A class espresso martini has 1 shot of espresso, which has about 60 mg of caffeine. Our version has 1.5 shots of espresso since the alcohol content is slightly higher and we don't use a coffee liqueur, and therefore it has about 90 mg of caffeine.
White Chocolate Cherry Espresso Martini
- 2 oz vodka
- 1.5 oz espresso, hot and fresh
- ¾ oz white chocolate liqueur
- ½ oz Luxardo maraschino cherry liqueur
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Pour through a strainer into a martini glass or coupe and garnish with an authentic maraschino cherry and 3 espresso beans.
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