As someone who has been creating home-crafted beverages for over 10 years, I’ve got more than a little experience with following beverage industry trends. Zero-proof drinks, or mocktails, are increasing in popularity these days. You may have noticed sections of menus offering more than just a Shirley Temple for those who opt not to drink alcohol! This recipe for an espresso martini mocktail, or a virgin espresso martini, is the perfect stand-in when you’d rather not have alcohol.
This recipe was inspired by my many variations on the classic espresso martini, like this chocolate espresso martini or this rum espresso martini. Sometimes, you just aren't in the mood to drink alcohol, but you want a fancy beverage. The problem is...most recipes for an espresso martini mocktail out there on the internet look like glorified chocolate milk in a martini glass. 😳 A traditional espresso martini is not creamy or milky in appearance unless you are making a seasonal flavor or a variation (even my pumpkin espresso martini isn't creamy in appearance 💅🏻). It is rich, dark, and bold in appearance, with a nice layer of foam.Jump to Recipe
💕 why you'll love this alcohol-free espresso martini recipe
🤩 true to the original. This non-alcoholic martini blends in with the real deal cocktails in a crowd, so you can rest assured that no one will be the wiser as you sip your beverage among other party-goers.
☕️ bold & balanced. While its made with a double-shot of espresso, it is also balanced with simple syrup. This gives the drink a well-balanced flavor profile just like the cocktail version.
♻️ easy to customize. This coffee mocktail is super easy to make your own, no matter what season you are celebrating. If you have any seasonal, simple syrups on hand, you have yourself a newly customized drink!
- espresso - you will need one double shot of fresh espresso per mocktail that you make. Of course, you can use decaf espresso as well, it’s really up to you! In order to get the creamy, foamy layer of this mocktail right, you do need to use properly brewed espresso from an espresso machine. If you use strong drip coffee or cold brew, your drink may not foam as well.
- filtered water - Think of this beverage like an iced americano, shaken, not stirred. 😛 As previously mentioned, this espresso martini mocktail recipe is different than the rest, because it doesn’t use milk or cream.
- simple syrup - you can customize this recipe easily by substituting whatever simple syrup you have on hand. I love using a brown sugar simple syrup for added layers of caramel. You can also use a fruity simple syrup like strawberry or blueberry for a berry twist!
- vanilla extract - this is an optional ingredient, but I love adding it in because in many of my espresso martini recipes, I use vanilla vodka or vanilla rum. The vanilla extract adds in a nice layer of warm, comforting spice.
Note: If you are strictly avoiding alcohol, make sure you are using an extract that is alcohol-free. Many brands of vanilla extract are made using bourbon, vodka, or another grain alcohol.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Step 1: Brew a double shot of espresso according to the manufacturer's instructions on your machine. Set it aside to allow it to cool slightly.
Step 2: Fill your cocktail shaker with ice, and slowly pour in the cooled espresso.
Step 3: Add in the water to the cocktail shaker.
Step 4: Next, add in the simple syrup.
Step 5: Add the vanilla extract last.
Step 6: Shake vigorously for 30-60 seconds.
Step 7: Strain into your glass of choice.
Step 8: Garnish with 3 espresso beans to symbolize health, wealth, and happiness, and serve immediately.
Hint: Use larger ice cubes in the cocktail shaker to help dilute the drink a little bit and create lots of agitation for the nice, thick layer of foam!
💡tips & tricks for getting it right
🍽️ serving tips
How and Where to Serve a Non-Alcoholic Espresso Martini
- breakfast or brunch - Serve these mock martinis at a breakfast or brunch gathering for a show-stopping, alcohol-free option.
- as a zero-proof alternative - Allow your guests the choice to go booze-free at a party. It’s easy to serve these martinis with or without alcohol!
- during any sober celebration - Whether you're taking part in Dry January, playing the role of designated driver, or simply don't drink alcohol, this full-bodied coffee mocktail is the perfect choice for celebrating!
Choose your Glass
- coupe - traditionally, espresso martinis containing alcohol are served in a coupe glass or small martini glass.
- frozen or over ice - You can also serve this zero-proof espresso martini over ice, though it’s not as traditional.
- three coffee beans - Make sure to garnish each virgin espresso martini with three espresso beans, symbolizing health, wealth, and happiness.
- rim the glass - You can also garnish the rim of the glass by dipping it in simple syrup and then rimming the glass with vanilla sugar.
ℹ️ troubleshooting tips
Even though this is a simple-to-make cocktail, some things can go awry! If you run into problems, try these troubleshooting tips. You can also leave me a comment and I will help you troubleshoot to the best of my ability! 😘
- bitter - if your drink is too bitter, you can add in some more simple syrup to balance the bitterness. Make sure you slowly pour your espresso over ice, and allow it to cool slightly before adding it to ice.
- too sweet - if your mocktail is too sweet, you can add more water, or milk or cream to balance things out.
⚖️ Scaling Tips
Espresso martinis are known as perfect party drinks for good reason: they are easy to scale up for a crowd!
You can pre-mix everything into a pitcher, and then shake each drink individually as you serve them to get the frothy layer on the martinis.
🔆 top tip
Allow your espresso to cool slightly before pouring it into your cocktail shaker, and pour it slowly over ice. Quickly pouring hot espresso over ice can lead it to taste bitter.
♻️ substitutions & variations
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!
- cold brew - you can use cold brew coffee or strongly brewed drip coffee if you don’t have an espresso machine at home.
- vanilla simple syrup - You can use vanilla simple syrup or storebought vanilla syrup for coffee instead of vanilla extract if you have it. Simply swap the vanilla simple syrup for the regular simple syrup, and leave out the vanilla extract.
- classic simple syrup - if you have regular simple syrup on hand instead of brown sugar simple syrup, you can use that instead.
- zero-proof spirit - you can use an alcohol-free spirit in place of the water in this recipe. Nowadays, there are many options on the market for non-alcoholic spirits like zero-proof vodka, rum, and gin. You can even use a non-alcoholic coffee liqueur!
Feeling like a rebel?! 😈 Feel free to stray from the recipe card using these variations, or leave me a comment with your own!
- decaf - make this mocktail without caffeine by using decaf coffee beans to brew your espresso.
- creamy - you can add in an ounce or two of heavy cream or milk to make a velvety, creamy take on this beverage.
- frozen - freeze your espresso into espresso ice cubes, then blend all the ingredients in a blender for a frosty, alcohol-free beverage.
- chocolate - you can add in chocolate syrup instead of simple syrup for a chocolatey take on this mocktail!
🧰 equipment needed & storage tips
🧰 tools needed
- 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!
- coupe glass or small martini glass- The standard glass for an espresso martini is a coupe glass, not a martini glass. This is because martini glasses tend to be larger than coupe glasses.
- cocktail shaker - Even though I like to take photos using clear shakers, when I’m mixing up drinks at home, I only use this cocktail shaker by Elevated Craft. It’s double-walled, so your hands don’t get cold while shaking, and it has measurements in the cap.
- 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!
This alcohol-free cocktail is best enjoyed right after it is mixed, but you do have a little wiggle room if you want to prep it ahead of a party.
You can prepare these drinks in a large batch ahead of time, and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to shake and serve it.
Absolutely! If you want to substitute any non-alcoholic spirit in place of water you can do so!
The name mocktail comes from a drink being a mock cocktail. It has no liquor in it, so it is a faux cocktail. They are also called virgin drinks, or zero-proof drinks. Sometimes you’ll see things like “virgin piña colada” or “virgin strawberry daiquiri” on menus.
No way! You can use cold brew or strongly brewed coffee. If you do use brewed coffee, make sure to let it cool before pouring it over ice. Not only will the ice melt super fast, but the coffee could taste bitter if cooled over ice too quickly.
📌 pin this recipe for later!
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!
Espresso Martini Mocktail
- 2 ounces espresso
- 2 ounces water
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- dash vanilla extract optional
- 1 ounce milk or cream of choice optional
- Brew one double shot of espresso according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Set it aside to cool slightly.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Slowly pour in the cooled espresso.
- Pour in 3 ounces of filtered water.
- Pour in 1 ounce of simple syrup to the cocktail shaker.
- Add a dash of vanilla extract, if using.
- Add in the 1 ounce of milk or cream of your choice, if using.
- Seal and shake the cocktail shaker vigorously for 30-60 seconds. A stronger shake will give you a stronger foam.
- Strain the mocktail into a coupe glass, or other glass with at least a 6 - 7 ounce capacity.
- Serve immediately.
🧯food safety & other information
Food safety is an important ingredient in any recipe for success! Here are some tips to keep you safe in the kitchen!
- Use caution when brewing and handling your espresso. Hot espresso can be upwards of 200ºF!