Bourbon Espresso Martini

In honor of National Coffee Day I'm sharing my Espresso Martini recipe! This drink has never been my go-to order in the past, but after getting some pointers recently from Michter's Head Bartender, Dallas White, at the annual Bourbon Women Siposium, I decided to try my hand at it. Ever since I've fine-tuned this recipe, I find myself unexpectedly craving it. 

I chose Elijah Craig Small Batch in this recipe, but you could use any bourbon around 100 proof, or vodka if you prefer. I like the Elijah Craig because Heaven Hill's higher malted barley content lends slightly chocolatey, earthy, and nutty notes to the bourbon which I think works really well with the coffee and bitters in this cocktail. 

Much like your favorite fancy drink from any cafe, I think like the homemade brown sugar vanilla simple syrup really brings this drink together. It's easy to make and takes only a few minutes, but you can always substitute for regular simple syrup if you don't have the ingredients to whip this up. 


Espresso Martini with ingredients in the background

Espresso Martini 
Makes 1 drink


  • 1.5 oz. bourbon (or vodka, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 oz. coffee liqueur (I use Mr. Black
  • 1/2 oz. brown sugar vanilla syrup (recipe below)
  • 1.5 oz. espresso or cold brew concentrate
  • 2 dashes chocolate bitters
  • 2 dashes black walnut bitters
  • Optional: cocoa powder, shaved chocolate, or espresso beans for garnish


Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker

2 Add ice and shake until well chilled

3 Strain into a martini or coupe glass. Optional: chill the glass ahead of time

4 Finish with the garnish of your choice  

Brown Sugar Vanilla Simple Syrup 

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (not immitation) 


1 Add the brown sugar and water to a small pot and place on the stovetop over medium heat

2 Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved, before reaching boiling

3 Add the vanilla and stir

4 Allow to cool completely. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week

Did you make this recipe? Let us know! 

Tag @whiskeyambitions and @itsbourbonnight on Instagram, or comment below and let us know how you liked it! 

Sara Ahlgrim 
Co-founder of It's Bourbon Night & Whiskey Ambitions

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