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Officially kicking off the holiday season with this cozy Vanilla Espresso Martini. Homemade vanilla and honey simple syrup, mixed with the classic espresso martini ingredients of vodka, Kahlúa, and a shot of espresso. This is the perfect subtle twist on the classic espresso martini cocktail, and it’s a delicious holiday treat to cap the night with.

side angled photo of Vanilla Espresso Martini

When I was dreaming up the last cocktail Saturday before Thanksgiving, I knew I wanted it to be the perfect after-dinner drink to officially welcome the start of the holiday season. My first thought was a new twist on a White Russian. I love a White Russian more than you know. It’s been a favorite cocktail ever since I created my The North Pole Cocktail a few years back. It’s a holiday favorite.

But, I was bored. Yes, White Russians are great, but I’ve shared a few, and I wanted to try something new. Maybe something I wasn’t even thinking of. So, I put the feelers out to my family. My cousin Maggie came back immediately with an espresso martini. And then within seconds, my sister-in-law Lynds said the very same thing.

I took that as a sign and ran with the idea, adding only a small twist, but one that really makes all the difference. Lynds was against any major twist, so I settled on a homemade vanilla honey syrup that adds that special touch I was really looking for. Normally, I’m not one for a martini, but this espresso martini has changed everything for me. It’s similar to a White Russian, just minus the cream.

close up photo of Vanilla Espresso Martini

Here is how to make a vanilla espresso martini.

It’s EASY. Start with the honey syrup, which is literally just honey and a vanilla bean simmered together until the vanilla infuses the honey with flavor. Two simple ingredients that make all the difference.

Shake the honey syrup with vodka, Kahlúa, and a shot of espresso. You’ll get a sweet martini, with just the right amount of espresso, and hints of vanilla. Simple to mix up, but oh so GOOD.

The key to a good espresso martini is all in that frothy top. I know it might seem like a hard thing to achieve, but it’s actually very easy. You just need to really shake the drink together with ice for a good minute to create the froth. The harder you shake, the more froth you’ll get. If you’ve got some anger to work out, this is a great task.

I wanted to make the drink sparkle and shine, so I rimmed the glass with a sweet vanilla sugar (simply sugar mixed with vanilla bean seeds). It’s so simple to make, but creates an extra-special drink that’s really fitting for a holiday night.

And that’s pretty much it. It’s a classic, but with a small twist that makes it even better. This one is perfect for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Enjoy guys!!

Vanilla Espresso Martini | halfbakedharvest.com

Looking for other easy after-dinner holiday drinks? Here are my favorites: 

Spicy Pomegranate Moscow Mule

Vanilla Chai Old Fashioned

Spiced Cranberry Rosé Spritzers

Lastly, if you make this Vanilla Espresso Martini, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Vanilla Espresso Martini

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories Per Serving: 724 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Vanilla Honey

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 vanilla bean ( or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
  • vanilla sugar, for rim (optional)

Martini

  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) vodka
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) Kahlúa
  • 1 ounce espresso

Instructions

  • 1. To make the vanilla honey syrup. In a medium pot, bring 1/4 cup water, the honey, and vanilla to a boil over high heat. Boil 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat. Let cool. This syrup makes enough for about 6 drinks.
    2. If desired, rim your glass with vanilla sugar.
    3. In a cocktail shaker, combine 2-3 teaspoons honey syrup, vodka, Kahlua, and espresso. Add ice and shake vigorously for 1 minute. Strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a couple of coffee beans, if desired. 

Notes

Vanilla Sugar: Mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder or 1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds scraped. 
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made these last night. They were delicious ? and super easy to make. I didn’t have vanilla beans in hand and added vanilla extract as a replacement and it was perfect. Planning to make these again as an after dinner drink for Thanksgiving day! Yum!!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this last night, and OMG! Honestly the best espresso martini I’ve ever had and it was made at home! Wow! Great recipe, thanks!

    1. Hey Venus,
      I would make these one by one. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey there,
      Yes, you can use 1 tablespoon of extract. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  3. We tried this and really enjoyed it, but noticed that the syrup hardened very quickly and didn’t seem to mix in with the rest of the drink in the shaker. What can we do to avoid this?

    1. Hey Evelyn,
      So sorry about this! I am thinking your syrup was cooked for too long, next time be sure to only cook for 2 minutes. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  4. I see orange zest and vanilla in the recipe but not on the ingredients list. Can you let me how much orange zest and vanilla to add? Thanks!

    1. Hey Elanie,
      So sorry for the confusion, the recipe is fixed, no orange:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    Uhm… vanilla honey, Vodka & Kahlua?! I’m obsessed, this sounds SO good! I seriously love all your Holiday cocktails!

      1. Hi Nettie,
        Espresso is best made fresh:) But you could certainly make the syrup ahead of time. Please let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

    1. Hey Jann,
      I use brewed espresso for this recipe. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  6. Quick question . . . The recipe, in Step 1, states “ Stir in the orange zest and vanilla. Let cool”. There is no vanilla listed in the ingredients?? Can you please clarify? Thanks?

    1. Hey Liz,
      You are going to use 1 vanilla bean. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan