Espresso Martini with Baileys (4 basic ingredients!)

This Espresso Martini with Baileys is elegant, perfectly sweet and a real treat to keep the party going. It’s made with creamy espresso, Irish cream and vodka, and then garnished with crunchy coffee beans to ring in cheer.

There’s nothing better after a big meal than a well-made espresso, and this espresso cocktail is the perfect drink for festivities!

I love Baileys during the holidays, and it’s not just for cocktails. I love it in these Mini Irish Cream Cheesecakes and these Baileys Irish Cream Brownies.

Baileys is great on its own, but better yet, pep it up with a little espresso to make one exquisite cocktail. It’s the perfect martini for the season.

What’s an espresso martini, anyway?

Espresso martinis are traditionally made with espresso (or very strong coffee), vodka and Kahlua. To make an espresso martini with Baileys, all you have to do is switch out the Kahlua for Baileys.

In today’s recipe, the espresso flavor is definitely there, but it’s not as strong as in the traditional espresso martini. If you want a stronger coffee taste, you should really use a bit of Kahlua instead of all Baileys. So instead of 4 ounces (1/2 cup of Baileys), use 2 ounces each of Baileys + Kahlua.

This recipe was adapted from Baileys. I couldn’t really taste the espresso the way their recipe is written. So I doubled it and think it’s much better!

Espresso martini ingredients:

For the rim:

You can, of course, skip this. I just thought it looked pretty and made it more classy looking. ;)

  • Granulated sugar
  • Ground coffee

For the cocktail:

  • Baileys
  • Espresso
  • Vodka
  • Ice


  • coffee beans, optional

How to rim a glass with sugar:

  1. Mix together the sugar and finely ground coffee on a small plate to rim the glass.
  2. Pour a little espresso into a saucer, flat plate, or shallow bowl larger than your glass.
  3. Dip glasses in the espresso to wet the rims.
  4. Then dip the rim in the sugar mixture.

How to make it:

  1. Add the Baileys, espresso and vodka to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Fill the cocktail shaker about halfway full with ice.
  3. Shake well and strain into the rimmed glasses.
  4. Garnish with 3 coffee beans and/or grated coffee beans.

What you need to make the best espresso cocktail possible:

To make the best espresso martini, there are a couple of things you will want to consider.

Quality coffee:

First, you will need coffee beans with a strong coffee taste, so reaching for a dark roast is best for this martini. Local roasters can surely guide your selection which I recommend before grabbing a bag off the shelf.

You want robust and vibrant flavors, and if you’re looking for the best dark roast coffee, check out this link from Homegrounds.

Dark roast coffee beans are the most flavorful, but the more time exposed to water, you can over-extract the coffee leaving it bitter. So to avoid this, you can use an Italian Mocha Maker or an espresso machine.

If you don’t have either of these, see below on how to make espresso without a machine.

Other options to avoid bitterness are to opt for lower water temperature when brewing, using a coarser ground or brewing the coffee for a shorter period of time.

Quality vodka:

We’re upscaling on this holiday cocktail because it’s delightful, and while I probably wouldn’t get the most expensive vodka, I wouldn’t skimp and get the cheapest either.

Get a decent vodka like Tito’s, Grey Goose or Ketle One Vodka, but don’t reach for a flavored one. We’re going to let the liqueur and coffee do that.

Ice cubes & a martini glass:

The ice in this cocktail has two functions: to cool the drink and to help mix it. You won’t pour the ice into the glass, so it’s best to have a strainer on hand.

If you like your drinks super cool, then chill the martini glass in the freezer until you’re ready to pour.

If you don’t have martini glasses, that’s ok, just class it up with your favorite fancy glassware.

Cocktail shaker with a strainer:

A cocktail shaker is great because it usually comes with a strainer, but if you just don’t have time to get one, you can use a glass jar with a lid (like a mason jar) and shake it up then strain it with a strainer when you pour.


I love the simple look of the coffee beans as a garnish. It’s uncomplicated, yet elegant and it has a specific meaning.

The three coffee beans are a trademark of an espresso martini, and they specifically represent health, wealth and happiness. So cheers to that!

If you want, you can even grate the coffee beans on top to give it a different look.

What is espresso?

Espresso is a highly concentrated coffee drink that is made with packed strong coffee and water. It’s easiest to get by having an espresso machine.

You pack the grounds and release a high amount of pressure quickly to get a concentrated amount of strong coffee. It should have a foam on top called the crema, and you’ll know if it’s made correctly if it has a bit of froth.

Espresso has a much higher caffeine content than a regular cup of joe, so watch out because this cocktail can be quite tasty.

How to make espresso without a machine:

Having an espresso machine can be expensive, a little less so these days, but even if you don’t have an espresso machine, you can still make espresso at home using one of the methods below.

Moka Pot:

The Moka pot is an Italian stovetop espresso maker that makes coffee most notably like espresso. It’s dark and frothy coffee and made in minutes.

Although you can get huge Moka pots that serve 12, most Italians buy the 2 or 4 cup pot. It’s probably the best option for this cocktail (if you don’t have a machine) since we’re trying to get it as close as possible to espresso.

How to make espresso in a Moka pot:

  1. Add filtered water to the bottom of the pot.
  2. Add dark roast, finely ground coffee into the filter basket.
  3. Tightly screw on the lid.
  4. Put it on the stovetop, and once you hear the famous gurgle, you know it’s done.
  5. Now onto making the martini.

If you notice a slightly burnt smell and the coffee doesn’t seem to be rising, take the pot to the faucet and rinse the bottom of the pot in cold water and then back onto the stove.

It’s important when using the Moka pot not to use a coarser grind of coffee. You want an espresso grind which is very fine. If you use a coarser grind, it will definitely come out burnt.

The French press:

The French press is another way to get exceptional coffee for this drink. You’ll need a French press and espresso roast coffee that is ground to a medium-fine grind. This is important!

When using a machine or the Moka pot, finely ground coffee is used for the pressurization process. But if you use a very fine grind on the French press, you’ll end up with sediment in your drink. It’s not bad, just maybe a little grittier than you would like.

A lot of pressure can build up in the press with finely ground coffee, so you don’t want to put too much pressure on the plunger when you make the coffee. Just let it sit a little longer then it will be easier to press to the bottom. (Wouldn’t want you to press too hard and have it explode in the kitchen.)

To make espresso in the French press:

  1. Boil water separately on the stovetop, let it cool for half a minute.
  2. Add dark roast coarse (medium-fine) coffee to the press.
  3. Pour the water into the press.
  4. Stir and put the lid on it for 4 minutes.
  5. Then press the plunger to the bottom.
  6. Then you’re ready to shake up an espresso martini.

For a French press double shot of espresso, you would use 2 tbsp. + 1 cup of water.

So while this won’t be just like espresso, it will give you great, concentrated coffee for this cocktail.

If you like it even stronger, you can do a double brew which is to set up the french press to make another round, but instead of using water, use the filtered coffee you just pressed.

Cold espresso:

Now cold-brewed coffee is easy, especially if you want a larger batch. And the espresso martini is supposed to be chilled, so using cold brew coffee may just do the trick.

This Pumpkin Cold Brew with Sweet Cream has got all the ins and outs of making cold brew coffee, including making nitro cold brew which would definitely add extra creaminess to this drink.

How to make cold brew espresso:

  1. Just add coarsely ground coffee and ½ the cold filtered water into a jar.
  2. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then add the rest of the water and stir.
  3. Screw on the lid.
  4. Let it sit overnight.
  5. Stir and strain with a fine-mesh sieve or paper coffee filter.

As far as ratios, I would go with 1 oz. espresso to 4 oz. of water and let it soak for 18-24 hours for the best results. Or double or triple the batch according to your needs and the size of the container.

Just remember that too much air will deplete the robust coffee taste, so make sure you transfer to an airtight container without leaving a bunch of air at the top.

The next day, you’re ready to make cocktails!

Instant coffee:

Now, I know you may be turning up your nose, but I must say we are in the modern days of instant coffee. Like, Starbucks instant dark roast may just do the trick in a pinch.

How to make espresso with instant coffee:

  1. Put the instant coffee in a cup.
  2. Add ½ the boiling water to let it bloom.
  3. After 30 seconds, add the remaining water and stir.

The grounds dissolve so there’s no need to strain it. Then you’re ready to pour yourself a treat.

What’s the difference between dark roast coffees?

When deciding on the best coffee for this martini, there are differences between different dark roasts.

Italian roast is the lightest of the dark roasts. To get an espresso roast, the beans are roasted slightly darker than the Italian roast. This is what we are going for with this drink.

French roast is darker than that of espresso roast and is heavier bodied and more toasty in flavor.

The darkest roast which has more of a charred taste is the Spanish roast.

For this cocktail, go for the Espresso roast.

Coffee grind:

So you can see those different ways to make espresso have different types of grinds. Depending on which method you use will determine the grind from a fine grind to a coarser grind.

The grind texture is important for the flavor of the espresso. For espresso machines and the Moka pot, you want the grind to be fine. If they’re too coarse, you won’t be able to build up the right amount of pressure to get the perfect shot.

If however, you use French Press or Cold Brew methods, you will want a coarser grind to pull the best flavors from the coffee.

Espresso Foam:

You may be wondering how to get an espresso foamy, or the crema, like at the coffee shop.

The crema is made when the coffee is pressurized which pushes out the oils from the coffee beans. When the oils and carbohydrates from the beans stabilize the bubbles, you get the crema or foam.

The best way to get the crema is by using a machine, but your second best option is to use the Italian Moka Pot. The French Press can give you a bit of crema as well, just make sure you do the two-step process and let the coffee bloom before you add the remaining water.

Can you eat coffee beans?

Sure you can! Just maybe in moderation! Coffee beans can help with increased energy from caffeine, weight loss due to increased metabolism, and improved mental focus.

It’s not recommended to eat more than 25 a day because it can cause stomach problems, but 10 a day is ok.

What can I use instead of Baileys?

So, you’re not a Baileys fan? That’s ok, you can use Kahlua, Tia Maria or a coffee liqueur for more coffee taste. But you might want to add a creamy liqueur just to add a little sweetness or add a flavored vodka like vanilla.

Can I make an espresso martini without vodka?

If you’re not a vodka fan, you can make an espresso martini with rum or tequila. I know it’s not exactly a martini without the vodka, but the twist might just turn your fancy.

Is this martini gluten-free?

According to Baileys, “The ingredients used in Baileys are gluten-free. On the basis of this, and to the best of our knowledge, there are no traces of gluten in Baileys. As we are not qualified to give medical advice, persons requiring a gluten-free diet should consult their medical adviser before consuming Baileys.”

So they’re definitely being cautious there.

Why they’re being cautious is because whiskey is made from barley, one of the gluten-containing grains. But when whiskey goes through the distillation process, all of the gluten is basically destroyed.

According to Beyond Celiac, “Pure, distilled whiskey (or whisky), even if made with wheat, barley, or rye is considered gluten-free. Most whiskeys are safe for people with celiac disease because of the distillation process.”

I used to recommend Carolans, as they previously stated that they’re gluten-free on their website, but they no longer do. So I’m not sure what that means.

They apparently only use gluten-free ingredients, like Baileys. I’m guessing they don’t feel confident declaring it as gluten-free – the same as Baileys.

I’d recommend speaking to your doctor if you’re unsure about drinking Irish cream.

And vodka? It’s also gluten-free! Pure, distilled vodka, even if it’s made with gluten grains like wheat, barley, or rye, is considered gluten-free.

It’s just flavored vodka you need to watch out for. There can definitely be gluten in those.

Easy Holiday Cocktails:

Since I’m in a festive mood, I thought I’d share more of my favorite easy holiday cocktails. Take a look and let me know which is your favorite.

  • This White Christmas Cocktail looks like snow in a glass! It’s super fun and made with amaretto, vodka and cream with shaved white chocolate for the snow. There’s even a vegan option.

  • This Alcoholic Wassail Recipe is a holiday tradition. It can be made in a slow cooker or on the stove-top with fruit juices, spirits and spice and a toast to good health.

  • If you want a warm drink that you can make a big batch for a crowd, this Instant Pot Hot Chocolate is perfect. If you want a boozy hot chocolate, you can add that too.

  • Looking for a thick and creamy liquor that’s better than eggnog? Try Eierlikoer German Egg Liqueur! It’s made with dark rum and a great hit at all my festive gatherings.

  • If you like Baileys, then this Baileys Hot Chocolate is a dream. It’s made with just 4 ingredients and can be made paleo or vegan.

  • And the best toast of the year comes from this Apple Cider Mimosa Recipe. It’s simple, elegant, and a great way to ring in the cheer.

So that’s it! Thanks for following along and if you make this Espresso Martini with Baileys, I’d love to see your re-creations! So leave a comment or share a photo and tag #texanerin so I can be sure to find it!

Espresso Martini with Baileys

Rated 5.0 by 12 readers
Espresso Martini with Baileys (4 basic ingredients!)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 2 martinis


    For the rims:

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground coffee
  • For the cocktails:

  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) room temp or cold espresso + a bit more for rimming the glasses
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) Baileys (or half Baileys and half Kahlua for more coffee flavor)
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) vodka
  • Ice
  • Garnish:

  • coffee beans, optional


  1. Mix together the sugar and ground coffee on a small plate.
  2. Pour a little espresso into a saucer, flat plate, or shallow bowl larger than your glass.
  3. Dip glasses in the espresso to wet the rims. Then dip in sugar.
  4. Add the Baileys, espresso and vodka to a cocktail shaker.
  5. Fill the cocktail shaker about halfway full with ice.
  6. Shake well and strain into the rimmed glasses.
  7. Top each with 3 coffee beans and/or grated coffee beans.


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27 comments on “Espresso Martini with Baileys (4 basic ingredients!)” — Add one!

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  • Rita
    November 23, 2023 @ 8:00 pm

    I’ve tried sooo many espresso martinis and this one is my favorite! Baileys is just the right thing for it. Thanks!

    • Erin replies to Rita
      November 23, 2023 @ 9:28 pm

      You’re welcome! And I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks for your comment and happy Thanksgiving! :)

  • Tallie
    November 22, 2023 @ 7:57 pm

    Ooh this was so delicious and perfect!! LOVE!

    • Erin replies to Tallie
      November 23, 2023 @ 9:28 pm

      Yes! I love to read that. Thanks for your feedback. :)

  • Marly
    November 17, 2023 @ 6:54 pm

    Yum! I made one for myself, husband tried it, and then stole my drink! 😂 Off to make another. Thank you!

    • Erin replies to Marly
      November 23, 2023 @ 9:30 pm

      Haha. I’m glad that you both enjoyed them! Thanks for your feedback and happy Thanksgiving. :)

  • Alexa
    November 16, 2023 @ 7:04 am

    Made these for Friendsgiving! Eveeyone was impressed and many wanted the recipe. YUM! Thank you so much.

    • Erin replies to Alexa
      November 23, 2023 @ 9:28 pm

      You’re so welcome! And thanks for letting me know that people liked them. :)

  • Rose
    November 15, 2023 @ 5:06 pm

    Y’all need to try this martini! Just perfect. My new go-to martini!

    • Erin replies to Rose
      November 23, 2023 @ 9:29 pm

      I agree with you! :) Thanks for your comment!

  • Nate says
    November 6, 2023 @ 5:28 am

    Made this drink last weekend for a family event and it was a huge hit! Everyone loved the sweet combination thanks for sharing.

    • Erin replies to Nate
      November 23, 2023 @ 9:32 pm

      You’re welcome! I’m so very happy to hear that. :) Thanks for your comment and happy Thanksgiving!

  • Cathleen
    March 18, 2022 @ 3:57 am

    I just had a baby a week ago so I am so excited to have caffeine and alcohol again. This was perfect!!!

    • Erin replies to Cathleen
      March 18, 2022 @ 11:37 am

      Yay! I’m so happy that you enjoyed it! Enjoy that alcohol and caffeine. :D Thanks for your comment!

  • Amanda Dixon
    February 14, 2022 @ 3:06 pm

    This is the perfect after-dinner drink! I really loved the Baileys addition — it added such a nice flavor and creaminess.

    • Erin replies to Amanda Dixon
      March 18, 2022 @ 11:39 am

      I’m happy that you think so, too! Thanks for your comment. :)

  • April
    January 10, 2022 @ 9:34 pm

    This is my kind of cocktail! It was perfect for brunch. :)

    • Erin replies to April
      March 18, 2022 @ 11:35 am

      So glad to hear that! Thanks for your comment. :)

  • Louanne
    December 19, 2021 @ 8:07 pm

    Oh hello, there deliciousness! This was delicious. Talk about packed full of flavor and all things yummy! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Erin replies to Louanne
      March 18, 2022 @ 11:36 am

      You’re welcome and thank you for leaving some feedback!

  • Sally
    December 19, 2021 @ 7:59 pm

    The perfect holiday drink for coffee lovers. It looks so beautiful and they were easy to prepare.

    • Erin replies to Sally
      March 18, 2022 @ 11:36 am

      I’m so glad that you think so! Thanks for your feedback. :)

  • Danny
    December 15, 2021 @ 7:06 pm

    Well dang, those were too darn delicious! Luckily I made them with decaf espresso or I would have been up all night!

    • Erin replies to Danny
      March 18, 2022 @ 11:38 am

      Good idea! I’ll have to try that next time. Thanks for the tip!

  • Jess
    December 14, 2021 @ 5:54 pm

    These martinis look utterly delicious! They are definitely happening for our New Years cocktail party!

    • Erin replies to Jess
      March 18, 2022 @ 11:38 am

      I hope that everyone enjoyed them!


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