The 12 Best Espresso Martinis In The US

Like the recent renaissance of tiki drinks, espresso martinis have experienced an unprecedented revival in the U.S. of late. Cocktail trends come and go, but the recent boom of espresso martinis on menus across America (via InsideHook) has felt particularly abrupt and widespread, with iterations of this caffeinated tipple popping up everywhere from glam mixology temples to casual breakfast joints. The espresso martini has become so popular that this year saw the inaugural Espresso Martini Festival (via Broken Palate), held concurrently in cities like Miami, New York City, Chicago, San Diego, and Houston.

The sudden martini moment can perhaps be attributed to just how unique and singular each cocktail is. Unlike a more straightforward and simple cocktail with a tried-and-true formula, like an Old Fashioned, espresso martinis have a lot more bandwidth for creativity — some recipes use cold-brew coffee or coffee liqueur, while others incorporate elements of vanilla or chocolate, along with any number of supplemental flavors like cream, coconut, and orange. No matter the flavor profile, or the dainty glassware it's served in, the espresso martini has become one of the foremost after-dinner cocktails in America. From elevated digestifs to Italian-inspired variations, these are the best espresso martinis in the U.S.

Wilder Espresso-Tini at Wilder - San Francisco, California

The beauty of the espresso martini is how versatile it is, and how singular each version can be. Aside from a standard formula of vodka, coffee liqueur, and espresso as a baseline (via, the espresso martini can take on many different shapes and flavors, each one as unique as a snowflake. A prime example of this is the Wilder Espresso-Tini at the recently-opened Wilder in San Francisco.

Espresso martinis have long been a staple in San Francisco (via Eater San Francisco), so it takes a special interpretation to really set itself apart from the rest. Located in the Marina District, Wilder is a playful restaurant that tinkers with familiar American and Californian ingredients and recipes, including the almighty espresso martini. Tito's Handmade Vodka is the base spirit, along with Kahlua as the creamy coffee liqueur, and cold-brew coffee. What really differentiates this one, though, is the addition of horchata, the cinnamon-infused Mexican rice milk that lends a pleasant nuttiness and sweetness to the drink.

A Sip Above All at Seven Reasons - Washington, D.C.

At Seven Reasons, the posh Latin American fine dining restaurant from lauded chef Enrique Limardo, the espresso martini may be an after-dinner drink, but it's far from an afterthought. Tucked away at the end of the menu, perfectly matched with stunning desserts like the Crispy Banana Bomb and the tropical Guava Cheesecake, this espresso martini riff is called "A Sip Above All," indicative of just how special this dessert-worthy sipper really is. 

For starters, it's made with Santa Teresa 1796, a rare and vintage rum from Venezuela, which instantly distinguishes this grand-finale cocktail from most vodka-based versions. It's also got The Funk Jamaican Rum to double down on the booziness, and smooth-as-silk amaro from J. Rieger Co. Rounding it all out, Martini Bitter and chocolate bitters lend some added depth and aroma. It's all shaken up to acquire that signature espresso martini-style froth, then poured into dainty little digestif glasses.

Espresso Martini at The Speckled Egg - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

At The Speckled Egg, a neoteric neighborhood diner in Pittsburgh's historic Union Trust Building, you can get classic breakfast and brunch fare like omelets, pancakes, and coffee — or you can level up with a chic espresso martini. It's the kind of sunny, all-American eatery where you can fill up on wholesome staples like avocado toast, patty melts, and fried chicken biscuits, while the drink list is surprisingly robust for a diner-style morning joint.

In addition to beer and wine, The Speckled Egg shakes up a mean espresso martini, made with spirits and liqueurs sourced locally. These include vodka from Boyd & Blair out of Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, and coffee liqueur from Maggie's Farm, a rum distillery on the banks of the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh. Rounded out with Averna Amaro, the cocktail is shaken to achieve a silken foam, and then poured into coupe glasses and dusted with a delicate line of espresso powder.

Spro Tini at Stitch Cafe - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

It's martinis with a side of breakfast tacos, tarts, and plants aplenty at Stitch Cafe, a sun-soaked cafe attached to a plant shop in Oklahoma City's Arts District. The bustling, modern cafe specializes in contemporary twists on familiar comfort foods, like chorizo-filled tacos and s'mores-inspired breakfast tarts, which just so happen to look like gourmet Pop Tarts. And the drinks, like its fragrant espresso martinis, are just as comforting.

A standout item on the cocktail list, which is impressively in-depth for a daytime-only counter-service cafe, the Spro Tini is an elegant martini made with vodka, Cointreau, a shot of espresso, and vanilla syrup, which altogether make for a drink that's subtly sweet with a slightly bitter bite. Bright orange notes — via fresh zest and oil, with an orange garnish — add some depth and fragrance to the cocktail, which is poured into a tall-stemmed glass and flecked with espresso beans.

Espresso Martini at Amsterdam Lounge - Boise, Idaho

Coffee-infused cocktails are so popular at Amsterdam Lounge, a dimly lit and crimson-hued bar in downtown Boise, that the swanky spot dedicates an entire section of its drink list to the caffeinated libations. The classic espresso martini takes top billing, of course, here made with vanilla vodka from Five Wives Distillery out of nearby-ish Ogden, Utah, along with creamy Kahlua and fresh espresso. It's all served in a martini glass with a pretty pattern of espresso powder on top.

If that wasn't enough, the bar also offers a dizzying array of inventive riffs to choose from, including the decadent Jameson- and Frangelico-based Runaway Soul with espresso, Bailey's, nutmeg, whipped cream, and caramel drizzle; the Morning Rooster with Maker's Mark bourbon, tequila, espresso, vanilla, caramel syrup, and cinnamon; and the warming Nutter Butter, a veritable dessert-in-a-glass made with Irish coffee and peanut butter whiskey, served hot.

Chocolate Espresso Martini at Halcyon - Austin, Texas

Part coffee shop and part late-night bar, Halcyon in Austin is one of the rare spots where you can sip regular espresso by day, and then seamlessly transition over to masterful espresso martinis come evening. The lofty, industrial-chic cafe and bar does it all, including hearty snacks like breakfast burritos, avocado toast, and pimento gilled cheese to soak it all up.

On the drink list, Halcyon uses Katz Coffee from Houston, used for everything from Vietnamese coffee to pour overs. But as evidenced by the enormous bar, there are plenty of boozy options as well, including spiked milkshakes and seasonal cocktails. Then there are the dedicated coffee cocktails, including the Chocolate Espresso Martini, a creamy, smooth, and sweet symphony of vanilla vodka, cafe del fuego coffee liquor, espresso, and rich Godiva chocolate liquor. Poured into deep martini glasses, the drinks are adorned with a delicate smear of chocolate around the rim. Other interesting options include the Voodoo Lady with chai-infused rum, Rumchata, and a coffee ice cube, and the Long Island Iced Coffee, a deceivingly strong mocha latte variation that just so happens to have seven types of alcohol in it.

Foxtail Espresso Martini at Orlando Milkhouse - Orlando, Florida

Decked out like a kind of makeshift mini food hall in Orlando's Milk District, Orlando Milkhouse is the convenient one-stop shop for food and drink in all forms, from coffee and lattes to ice cream, fritto misto, burgers, and ice cream. Oh, and a staggering selection of well-balanced cocktails, some of which incorporate java from Foxtail Coffee, which is located in the same building.

The Foxtail Espresso Martini is perfect in its refined simplicity and light body, made with espresso bean draft cold-brew, a splash of Kahlua, and Absolut Vanilla vodka, all shaken up to smooth things out and aerate the medley before it's poured into a coupe and sprinkled with a few espresso beans. For a tequila-infused variation, opt for the Café Con Leche, an espresso martini twist that uses the same draft cold-brew and Kahlua, but swaps tequila in place of vodka, and adds condensed milk for added richness.

Espresso Martini No. 2 at Fox Bar & Cocktail Club - Nashville, Tennessee

Dashing and debonair, the high-end cocktails at Nashville's Fox Bar & Cocktail Club are just as impressive — and photogenic — as the striking decor and romantic ambience. Known for its intricate mixology and dynamic drinks list, which frequently tinkers with classic cocktails in newfangled ways and with unexpected ingredients.

That philosophy certainly holds true of its Espresso Martini No. 2, a snazzy cocktail that's so perfectly balanced, shaken, and poured that it looks like a picture-perfect art piece. Grey Goose vodka is the base spirit, layered with cold-brew coffee from local Elegy Coffee and Amao Averna, a Sicilian digestif exuding complex notes of caramel, citrus, spices, and herbs. Pinches of sea salt and sugar tie it all together, and once poured into a coupe with a precise pillow of frothy foam, the drink is dotted with a few espresso beans, like the cherry on top of a sundae.

Espresso Martini at The Red Door - Salt Lake City, Utah

Boasting one of the mightiest cocktail lists in Salt Lake City, The Red Door takes a something-for-everyone approach to mixology, with a lengthy menu that runs the gamut from classics to a wide range of martinis. The latter is the bread and butter of this hip, clubby watering hole, with numerous martinis divvied into different categories, from booze-centric High Octane Martinis to Martinis With Extra. Under the Decadent section, you'll find the Espresso Martini sandwiched between the Death by Chocolate and the Dirty Girl Scout.

The Espresso Martini here hews fairly classic and familiar, but it's perfectly balanced and well made — and most importantly, it's as decadent as anything else on the list of drinkable desserts. The Red Door's version is a combo of vanilla and chocolate flavors, made with vanilla vodka, a shot of fresh espresso, Kahlua, and a chocolate-covered espresso bean for some sweet crunch.

Oh, What's That? at Here and Now - Los Angeles, California

One of the prettiest espresso martinis in the country is hiding in one of the most unexpected settings — a wanderlust-themed cocktail nook in downtown Los Angeles replete with travel-inspired art and snug booths reminiscent of vintage train cars. In addition to vintage vibes, Here and Now also clearly has a penchant for mixology, as evidenced by the sheer elegance and sophistication of all its cocktails.

The house espresso martini here is called Oh, What's That?, and instantly distinguishes itself by using brandy instead of vodka. The fruit-based spirit hails from Argonaut California Bandy and brings a smooth sweetness to the equation that's nicely juxtaposed by Mr. Black cold-brew coffee liqueur and a shot of espresso from California's own Verve Coffee Roasters. Not only does the drink taste dynamite, but it looks just as awe-inspiring too, poured into a delicate glass that looks like a tall teacup.

The Espresso Martini at Gabbiano's - Portland, Oregon

Considering Italy's predilection for espresso and cocktails, it makes perfect sense to create an espresso martini with some Italian influence. And that's precisely the name of the game at Portland's Gabbiano's, a funky, hip, and modern homage to Italian-American red sauce joints, complete with comfort food and spiffy mixed drinks.

A far cry from your typical espresso martini, the only similarity to tradition at Gabbiano's is that their version has vodka. Aside from that, nearly everything is a stark, flavorful departure. Italian espresso liqueur provides some heady heft, while Cynar (a bitter Italian digestif made from artichokes) is an unexpected — and totally welcome — plot twist that imbues the typically dessert-y drink with more spicy and herbaceous notes. To prevent the cocktail from being too bitter, though, it's all finished with an orange oil and brown sugar syrup, which blends perfectly with the bracing notes in the Cynar and espresso liqueur.

False Dawn at Bad Luck Bar - Detroit, Michigan

Some espresso martini variations are so exotic and inventive, with layers of texture and flavor, that they ascend to a greater plane entirely. Such is the case at Bad Luck Bar in Detroit, home to some of the craftiest and most elaborate drinks in town. Alluring and dark, the bar exudes mystery and mysticism, as evidenced by the fact that the front door is always locked (customers need to knock or call for entry) and that certain cocktails come with Tarot cards. Each drink, too, comes with intricate descriptions not only of ingredients, but of Tarot-like elements they represent. One example is the False Dawn, an over-the-top (literally, foam erupts over the rim of the glass like a soufflé) espresso martini spin-off that the menu says contains stamina, power, and energy.

The decadent drink is made with vodka from Detroit-based Valentine Distilling, which the bar infuses with coffee from Dessert Oasis in nearby Rochester, Michigan. From there, it gets layers of mint flavor from Fernet Branca Menta, while coconut cream and dairy cream lend richness and body. Coffee liqueur amps up the caffeine, along with cascara, which is the dried skins of coffee cherries. There's also lemon and soda water to help cut through all that richness. With all that coffee in various forms, it's no wonder this extravagant creation provides plenty of stamina, power, and energy.