The 90s are back, baby! Not only is the fashion world seeing a resurgence of 90s style (baggy pants and parted bangs are having a moment, again), but the food world is, too. One such comeback: The espresso martini.
Why it’s returned with a vengeance no one knows exactly, but some speculate it’s because of the popular TV show “Below Deck,” where the tired crew of a superyacht often orders a round after a long day at sea. (We also think its revival is partially because after a year and a half of pandemic-related stress, we all simultaneously need a pick me up as well as a long nap.)
How to CocktailThe first-ever cocktail book from America’s most-trusted test kitchen includes essential, canonical classics; twists on old favorites; and brand-new test kitchen creations.
If you’re espresso martini-curious, I humbly suggest our recipe instead of the basic vodka plus coffee liqueur plus espresso version.
With aged rum in place of vodka and a tinge of herbaceous Bénédictine backing it up, our version is less “Sex and the City” and more “Frasier.” It’s an espresso martini grown up: darker and moodier, and all the better for it.
Sign up for the Notes from the Test Kitchen newsletter
Our favorite tips and recipes, enjoyed by 2 million+ subscribers!
According to senior editor Camila Chaparro, who developed the recipe for our How to Cocktail cookbook, aged rum gives the drink more depth than vodka and plays well with coffee. “Aged rum has a lot more going on in terms of flavor—caramel, molasses notes—than vodka, which is flavorless and doesn't bring too much to a drink other than alcohol,” she says.
The addition of Bénédictine takes it to the next level, making it an elegant adult drink.
“We wanted another element in the drink other than just rum and the coffee liqueur to make it unique, and we felt Bénédictine added notes of warm spice, honey, and vanilla—it's smooth and almost feels cozy,” says Chaparro.
She notes that you can turn up the luxe factor even more by adding a ½ ounce of cream before shaking, turning the drink into its alter ego, the “Latte-tini.”
So, whether you’re intrigued by espresso martini’s resurgence or just want a cozy drink for cooler days, our version is far from a fad.
Makes 1 cocktail
This cocktail tastes best with freshly made and chilled espresso, but you can substitute ½ teaspoon of instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 ounce hot water, if necessary. We strongly prefer to use our homemade Coffee Liqueur here, but any store-bought coffee liqueur will work.
- 1½ ounces aged rum
- 1 ounce brewed espresso, chilled, plus espresso beans for garnishing
- ¾ ounce Bénédictine
- ½ ounce coffee liqueur
Add rum, espresso, Bénédictine, and liqueur to cocktail shaker, then fill with ice. Shake mixture until fully combined and well chilled, about 15 seconds. Double-strain cocktail into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with espresso beans and serve.