The perfect holiday martini exists and it's this gingerbread espresso martini right here! It's dangerously tasty and easy to sip with the classic flavors of vodka, strong espresso, and creamy baileys but a touch of sweet and spicy thanks to the addition of gingerbread syrup.
I can guarantee these are going to be a hit at your holiday party!
The holidays are here and what better time to ring them in than with a festive cocktail, right?
This Christmas espresso martini is a spin on my pumpkin spice espresso martini and of course, a real espresso martini. Honestly, it also very similar to a boozy version of a gingerbread latte.
No matter what the inspo, it's positively divine.
Ingredients & Substitutions
What better than a drink recipe you don't need an advice culinary degree to prep? This recipe is super simple. The only prep work other than opening the physical liquor bottles is making a quick batch of gingerbread syrup and brewing some espresso.
Vodka - use your favorite brand or even vanilla vodka for a more dessert-y flavor
Espresso - regular or decaf. If you don't have espresso you can definitely substitute cold brew coffee 1:1.
Irish Cream Liqueur - of course, Bailey's is the brand that everyone is most familiar with, but use what you have access to, something creamy and a little boozy!
Garnish - the classic garnish on an espresso martini is 3 espresso beans, but I used mug hanging gingerbread cookies for mine. You could also do a sugar and spice rimmed glass or crushed gingersnaps and meringue like in this gingerbread eggnog.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make a Gingerbread Espresso Martini
If you're planning on serving these to a group or just while entertaining, feel free to prep the ingredients ahead of time! The espresso nor the gingerbread syrup doesn't need to be hot.
Make the gingerbread syrup. Heat the ingredients over medium heat, stirring until combined. Bring to a slow boil, turn off heat, and let cool.
Brew the espresso. In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka, baileys, espresso, and gingerbread syrup.
Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with gingerbread cookies or the classic 3 espresso beans!
Hint: For restaurant-style cocktails at home, fill the martini glass with ice and a splash of water to chill the glass while you prepare the drinks!
Your favorite brands! Personally, I'm usually reaching for Ketel One or Stoli for a plain or flavored vodka - but use whatever you prefer. For the Irish Cream, typically I keep the not-brand name in house because its less expensive and to me it tastes the same. So truly, its your personal preference.
This may be the best part! The three coffee beans in an espresso martini traditional stand for health, wealth, and happiness. I'll drink to that!
The cocktail is classically served 'up' in a martini glass with no ice.
You can always serve the 'dirty rocks on the side' which just means putting the ice you used to make the drink in a rocks glass in case your drink starts to get warm as you sip.
What Do I Need for Bar Equipment?
You can get as fancy or as basic as you want! Do you need fancy bar equipment to make this? Absolutely not. A mason jar with a lid makes a great cocktail shaker, then just use the lid to cover most of the jar while you strain the ice.
If you want classic barware, you'll need martini glasses (mine are from Crate & Barrel), a cocktail shaker (the one in the photos is from Target), and I'd recommend a jigger of some sort. I typically use this OXO plastic measuring cup one so I can see the ounces while recipe testing, but something like this double jigger is more traditional for bars and restaurants.
Easy math for big batches
If you're planning to serve this for a large crowd, I would recommend making a large batch in advance and then just shaking what you need over ice and serving when needed.
The easiest what to batch is multiply the ounces in the recipe, by how many drinks you think you'll need, then convert that into cups.
- 2 ounces = ¼ cup
- 4 ounces = ½ cup
- 6 ounces = ¾ cup
- 8 ounces = 1 cup
So if I need to make 8 of gingerbread espresso martinis...
- 18 ounces vodka = 2 cups
- 8 ounces baileys = 1 cup
- 8 shots espresso = 1 cup
- 8 ounces of gingerbread syrup = 1 cup
Sounds hard, but its really easy!
What Goes Well with an Espresso Martini?
Is 'good company' too cheesy to say? An espresso martini is perfect for sipping after a delicious meal, so I'd recommend pairing something on the sweet side.
If you loved this recipe, I'd appreciate it if you would leave a star rating in the recipe card and comment below! Don't forget to tag @hungerthirstplay when you post on Instagram and Facebook so I can toast you from across the internet!
Gingerbread Espresso Martini
- cocktail shaker
- martini glass
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce baileys
- 1 shot espresso (see notes)
- 1 ounce gingerbread syrup
- ¼ cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup water
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Make the gingerbread syrup. In a medium size saucepan, combine the ingredients. Heat over medium heat, stirring until combined.¼ cup brown sugar, ½ cup granulated sugar, ¾ cup water, 3 tablespoons molasses, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar melts and does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the liquid reaches a slow boil and the sugar is completely melted, turn off the heat and let cool in the pan.
- Brew the espresso. In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka, baileys, espresso, and gingerbread syrup. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Strain into a martini glass.2 ounces vodka, 1 ounce baileys, 1 shot espresso, 1 ounce gingerbread syrup
- Espresso can be brewed in advance and used cold.
- My espresso machine brews about 1 ½ ounces of espresso per shot. A standard single shot of espresso is 1 ounce, a double is 2 ounces. You can modify this recipe for a single or double shot based on your liking for coffee flavor. A double shot will make the recipe less sweet and more coffee, a single shot will make the recipe more sweet and less coffee.