Growing up with a grandmother from southern Italy pretty much makes me an expert in many aspects of Italian culture, including espresso. I started drinking coffee at the age of 6. Okay...it was decaf, and yeah, sure, it was Santa's White Christmas flavor. 😅 But I had my own personal mini espresso mug that I used on the regular. This chocolate espresso martini recipe is a chocolatey twist on the classic cocktail that has taken social media by storm.
If you're enjoying this cocktail in the height of summer, try pouring it over some espresso ice cubes for a refreshing treat. Also, check out my rum espresso martini for a more rum-forward flavor! Whether you enjoy it as a dessert cocktail or at brunch, it's a wonderful way to put a new spin on a traditional drink that's a favorite among coffee lovers!Jump to Recipe
💕 why you'll love this recipe
🍫 deep, chocolatey flavor. This chocolate espresso martini is the perfect mix of coffee and chocolate. If you are a fan of mochas, you'll love this libation!
♻️ versatile. You can easily change this recipe up to fit your preferences, whether you prefer a sweeter cocktail or more coffee-forward with a hint of chocolate.
⏱️ quick & easy. This is an easy cocktail to make because it has straightforward ingredients and can be mixed up with just a cocktail shaker. The best part is that it's so impressive in flavor for how simple it is to make!
Why the three espresso beans as a garnish on espresso martinis?!
The three espresso beans are said to symbolize health, wealth, and happiness. 🤩
You can find all of these ingredients at your local liquor store. The chocolate bitters might be harder to hunt down, but it's worth it!
- espresso - the featured ingredient is, of course, espresso! You can make your own at home however you like. Just be sure to prepare a double shot of espresso for each cocktail.
- vanilla vodka - vodka is the standard liquor of choice in a classic espresso martini, but vanilla vodka plays so nicely with the chocolate flavors in this cocktail. Think of it like when you're making chocolate chip cookies: you add vanilla extract. The same line of thought applies here!
- Kahlua liqueur - Kahlua is a rum-based coffee liqueur that is a staple ingredient in many coffee cocktails like espresso martinis, white Russians, and mudslides.
- creme de cacoa - creme de cacao is a chocolate-flavored liqueur, not to be confused with chocolate liqueur, which is creamy and opaque. Creme de cacao is transparent and comes in white chocolate flavor and dark chocolate flavors. Either will work for this recipe, but it is written using the white chocolate variety of the liqueur.
- chocolate syrup- you can use store-bought chocolate syrup or homemade chocolate sauce in this cocktail. The syrup gives this drink a deep, rich flavor while giving a dash of sweetness.
- chocolate, for garnish - every cocktail benefits from a great garnish, and a light dusting of chocolate shavings is the perfect finishing touch to this cocktail (alongside the espresso beans, of course).
- chocolate bitters - bitters is an extraordinary "secret ingredient" to stock your home bar with, and chocolate bitters is definitely the secret weapon in this cocktail. It helps to balance out the sweeter chocolate flavors and adds a depth of flavor to the cocktail. In this recipe, I used Bitterman's Xocolatl Mole bitters.
Step 1: Brew your espresso according to your espresso maker and allow it to cool slightly. Pour 2 ounces into your cocktail shaker, filled with ice.
Step 2: Measure the vanilla vodka into the cocktail shaker and add it to the espresso.
Step 3: Add in the Kahlua and the creme de cacoa liqueurs into the cocktail shaker.
Step 4: Drizzle in your chocolate syrup into the cocktail shaker. If you like your cocktail more sweet, add in a little more chocolate!
Step 5: Add in a dash of chocolate bitters to the cocktail shaker. Shake well for 30-60 seconds to get a nice and frothy top to the cocktail.
Step 6: Top each chocolate espresso martini with three espresso beans and chocolate shavings.
🍽️ Serving Tips
How and When to Serve it:
- This drink is the perfect after-dinner drink or dessert cocktail!
- Serve it at breakfast or brunch. You can set up a coffee bar and serve espresso martinis and other coffee drinks!
Choose your glass:
- Traditionally, espresso martinis are served in coupe glasses instead of standard martini glasses.
- You can serve in whichever glasses you have, but keep in mind that this cocktail is on the smaller side at only 6 fluid ounces.
- Make sure to garnish with three coffee beans and some finely grated chocolate shavings.
- You can also garnish the rim of the glass. Dip the rim of the glass in simple syrup, then chocolate shavings for a fun garnish!
ℹ️ troubleshooting tips
- taste for balance - Taste the drink before shaking and serving to make sure you like the balance of flavors.
- too sweet - If it's too sweet, you can add a little more espresso, vodka, or bitters.
- not sweet enough - If it's not sweet enough, you can add more creme de cacao or chocolate syrup!
- Make sure your cocktail shaker is filled with ice to help get a good, strong foam from your cocktail.
- Use larger cubes of ice if you can. Smaller cubes of ice, like pebble ice, will dilute your drink too fast as you shake it, giving you a weaker foam.
- Shaking the cocktail for at least 30-60 seconds ensures you get a nice, frothy foam top to your cocktail, perfect for supporting the garnishes of this drink!
⚖️ Scaling Tips
This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you have a big gathering coming up!
You can pre-mix all the ingredients and keep the batched drink in a pitcher in the fridge.
Once your guests arrive, you can shake the cocktail in batches and serve.
☕️ All about espresso!
There's a lot of confusion about the difference between espresso and coffee because they are both made from coffee beans!
Espresso is a thicker, more condensed coffee beverage
A whole serving fits into one ounce, or two ounces for a double!
There are several ways to make espresso at home.
Options range from $15 - $1,000+ depending on your budget (and dedication to the perfect at-home brew). I use the Breville Barista Pro model and love it. I have also used a stovetop espresso maker like this one. Stovetop options are great when you have a smaller budget, and the espresso they make is great quality, too!
Use whichever beans you like!
Traditionally, coffee used to brew espresso is a dark roast, but I prefer medium-to-light roasts. I used a coffee subscription to find roasts I liked, then started exploring more once I found flavors I liked. It's a wild world of coffee out there! 🤠
Missing an ingredient? No problem. Check out these tried-and-true substitutions, or comment below with your question. I’m here to help you troubleshoot!
- melted chocolate- If you don't have chocolate syrup on hand, you can melt about an ounce of chocolate into your espresso instead. You may want to add a dash of sugar or simple syrup to balance the chocolate, depending on the cocoa content.
- no bitters - skip the chocolate bitters if you don't have it, or can't find it. Your cocktail will be a bit sweeter, so keep that in mind.
- use another coffee - you can use cold brew coffee, extra strong coffee brewed in a drip coffee maker, or even instant coffee in a pinch!
- white chocolate - you can use white chocolate liqueur instead of creme de cacao, and you can use white chocolate shavings instead of dark chocolate or milk chocolate.
Feeling like a rebel?! Feel free to stray from the recipe card using these variations, or leave me a comment with your own!
- frozen- freeze your espresso into espresso ice cubes, then combine the ice cubes and remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend it up for a frozen chocolate espresso martini!
- spicy - if you are a fan of Mexican hot chocolate, try adding a dash of cayenne pepper into this cocktail for a sweet and spicy twist!
🧰 equipment needed
- cocktail shaker- my favorite cocktail shaker is made by Elevated Craft. It's insulated, so your hands don't get cold while shaking cocktails, and it has measurements clearly marked in the lid of the shaker, so you don't need a bunch of extra tools. Grab your own here!
- microplane grater - a microplane zester grater is perfect for adding chocolate shavings to your cocktails as a garnish.
- coupe glasses - traditionally, this cocktail is served in coupe glasses or martini glasses.
- espresso machine - You’ll need a way to make espresso for this beverage, but that doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend $1,000 on an espresso machine. You can buy espresso from your local coffee shop, or you can use strongly brewed drip coffee or cold brew in a pinch. If you do want to buy a nice machine, I have and love the Breville Barista Pro espresso machine. It’s changed my life, and that’s no joke! I also have friends who have and love their Nespresso machines, and I prefer those to Kurigs because the quality is top notch!
- measuring beakers - I love using these OXO nesting measuring beakers because you can use them for so many more recipes besides cocktails. They’re perfect for measuring small amounts of liquid!
While you can mix the cocktails in advance in a large batch, it's best to serve them immediately after shaking so that they foam up nicely. It's all about the presentation!
With that said, you can premake them and shake them again just before serving if you are preparing them in advance for a party.
You can store your beverage if you can't finish it, but it doesn't hold up well after 48 hours.
If you don't have chocolate syrup on hand, you can simply melt some chocolate (about an ounce) into the espresso as a substitute. You may also want to add a little simple syrup to add a touch of sweetness depending on the cocoa content of your chocolate.
The chocolate liqueur adds a sweet chocolate flavor to the cocktail, but if you don't have it on hand, you can skip it. You'll still get a chocolatey flavor from the chocolate syrup.
Yes! If you don't have a way to make espresso at home, you can use regular coffee or cold brew, but make sure you use a strong brew if possible. The flavor of weaker coffee or cold brew will affect the espresso martini.
If you can't locate chocolate bitters near you, you can order some online or you can skip the addition. While it does deepen the flavor and balance out the sweetness to this cocktail, it isn't worth stressing over!
Make sure you use larger ice cubes instead of smaller ones, like pebble ice, so that your drink doesn't dilute too much while shaking it. Shake your drink for at least 30 seconds to get the foam to be thicker and more stable.
If you make this recipe, please leave a review in the comments and a star rating!
I read every single comment! I also love connecting on social media, so snap a pic and hashtag it #myrecipeforfun and tag me on Instagram, TikTok, or pin this recipe on Pinterest!
Chocolate Espresso Martini
- 1 coupe glass a coupe glass is the traditional espresso martini glass
- 1 microplane grater for chocolate shavings
- 2 ounces espresso substitute 3 ounces of cold brew
- 2 ounces vanilla vodka Absolut Vanilla recommended
- 1 ounce Kahlua liqueur
- .5 ounce creme de cacao liqueur
- .5 ounce chocolate syrup
- dash chocolate bitters
- chocolate bar for garnish
- 3 whole espresso beans for garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Use larger cubes to keep the cocktail from being diluted.
- Add 2 ounces of espresso, or one double shot.
- Add 2 ounces of vanilla vodka to the cocktail shaker.
- Add 1 ounce of Kahlua to the mix.
- Add 0.5 ounces of creme de cacao to the shaker.
- Drizzle in 0.5 ounces of chocolate syrup or up to 1 ounce if you have a sweet tooth!
- Add a dash of chocolate bitters to the cocktail shaker.
- Shake vigorously for 30-60 seconds.
- Strain into a coupe glass.
- Garnish with chocolate shavings and three espresso beans before serving.
Food safety is an important ingredient in any recipe for success! Here are some tips to keep you safe in the kitchen!
- Always enjoy alcohol responsibly, and never give alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age. For more information about responsible alcohol consumption, click here.