Espresso martinis are all the rage these days. This caffeinated cocktail got its start in the 1980s. As the story goes, British bartender Dick Bradsell invented it at Fred’s Club in London when a “top model” asked for a drink that would “wake me up and f**k me up” at the same time. Bradsell served her a cocktail made with vodka, espresso, and coffee liqueur and that’s how the very first espresso martini came to be. While Kahlúa is a classic option when looking for a coffee liqueur — and what Bradsell used that fateful evening, there are several options on the market worth checking out if you’re looking to shake things up.
Here are 11 coffee liqueurs that are perfect for the espresso martini lover on your holiday shopping list.
Made by hand at their distillery and coffee roastery north of Sydney, Australia, this liquor is a bittersweet blend of top-grade Arabica coffees and Australian wheat vodka. Using a slow-drip method results in a more robust and sweet profile, creating a liqueur that is bold, complex, balanced, and unapologetically coffee. Mr Black is the #1 super-premium, and #1 fastest growing coffee liqueur in the USA. Get yours here.
The first true Italian espresso liqueur, Dolce Nero’s rich and smooth flavor comes from an all-natural infusion of ultra-premium spirits and fine, natural blend of selected coffee beans from Italy, Brazil, Central America, Africa, and India. The beans are roasted to perfection to obtain the unique dark brown color. Tasting notes include bright toasted hazelnut and coffee gelato aromas with a satiny soft moderately sweet medium-to-full body, and a long seamless cappuccino and honey finish. Score a bottle here.
Made with coffee beans roasted locally near the distillery and steeped in hand-finished vodka, this liqueur starts with a fresh pressed coffee aroma. Bold and flavorful on the tongue with a pleasant sweetness and finishes with notes of warm vanilla. It’s just as delicious alone as it is in an espresso martini. Purchase it here.
For those looking to make a booze-free espresso martini — enter Lyre’s Coffee Originale. Crafted to capture the essence of a rich and vinous coffee liqueur, it’s got a nose of espresso, fresh coffee, burnt caramel, and vanilla and is made complex by subtle scents of dark chocolate, fig, and blueberries. Enjoy on the rocks or in a no-ABV Espresso Martini using Lyre’s White Cane Spirit. Find it here.
This coffee liqueur is made to pay homage to New Orleans-style coffee. Made using Ethiopian coffee beans, French chicory root, Madagascar vanilla, and organic cane sugar it’s got just the right balance of flavors. Using a cold-infusion method that preserves the elegant flavors and aromas from the beans, while minimizing extraction of astringent components. It will make for a perfect base in your next espresso martini. Get a bottle (or two) here.
Hand-crafted in the Cognac region of France, Grand Brulot’s VSOP Cafe Cognac Liqueur is a unique blend of Ecuadorian 100% Robusta Coffee Beans and premium cognac. It’s ideal for crafting the ultimate fall espresso martini. Order yours here.
Okay, so not quite a coffee liqueur, but Van Gogh Double Espresso vodka is as rich and bold as your favorite cup of espresso. Handcrafted in small batches using a proprietary double infusion process and made with natural ingredients handpicked by Master Distiller Tim Vos, it’s powerful yet sophisticated, with the stronger and richer character savored by espresso lovers. Plus it’s just about everything you need for a delightful espresso martini. Available this holiday season in a custom engraved bottle with a personal message wrapped in a luxury drawstring bottle holder when purchasing via ReserveBar.
Created by the Don of Cuban Coffee himself, Luis Bustelo, this is the ultimate liqueur for the coffee connoisseur. It is an artisan blend of Double-Gold medal winning Miami Club Rum, organic Florida raw sugar, and hand-roasted Bustelo Cuban coffee. The result is a smooth yet robust authentic Cuban style coffee experience that adds plenty of pizzazz to an espresso martini. Find it here.
Misceo (Latin for “to brew”) is a high-quality Kosher coffee liqueur made from Arabica coffee, cane sugar and five time distilled vodka for maximum smoothness. A perfect blend of buttery caramel notes from pure Colombian coffee beans perfectly tempered by rich Italian roast. The floral brightness of vanilla is rounded off by a touch of fresh cane sugar. Misceo’s founder, Gitty Halberstam, started mixing her way to this recipe in her Brooklyn kitchen with one simple dream in mind: to make the perfect coffee liqueur for her friends and family. Discover it near you here.
Tia Maria has been around since the 17th century and was revived in the 1940s after the recipe was rediscovered in a small jewelry box once owned by a woman named Tia Maria. The cold brew liqueur offers distinctive flavors of Arabica coffee beans and rich, balanced flavors of cacao, dried fruit and Madagascar vanilla. As one of the world’s oldest coffee liqueurs, it’s a great addition to any espresso martini. Grab a bottle here.
Introducing the newest expression from the Austrian brand, Mozart. Balanced composition of the finest cocoa beans, Belgian chocolate, and a fruity aroma in combination with Arabica coffee notes. The full-bodied, bittersweet coffee-chocolate flavor with roast-intensive mocha note and creamy texture adds a significant amount of extra sweetness to your espresso martini. Snag a bottle here.
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