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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 |

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.


Vanilla Honey

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



  • 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. 


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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  1. I’ve never managed to get frothy espresso Martini but now i read I’m not mixing it long enough.
    Thank you will give it a try.

  2. I made this last week. Such a cool combo of vanilla, honey, and espresso. A different and delicious variation on an espresso martini! I wouldn’t be adverse to topping it with a dollop of whipped cream!!

  3. I made your vanilla expresso martini for Thanksgiving day and it was so easy and twice as good! I use so many of your recipes and so enjoy your blog. Have a wonderful holiday season and keep them coming!!!!

  4. I think we’re wimps- too strong for us, but it was fun to make. Looking forward to trying another of your cocktail recipes!

  5. 5 stars
    Oh my lord! Tried this tonight and everybody LOVED IT!!! Tried and tested and definitely making this again very soon!! Super. I used vanilla essence and instant coffee – still turned out fab. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to try out the other drinks.

  6. 5 stars
    Made these this morning… they’re really delicious. Great for a fancy holiday breakfast or an after dinner drink. Will def make them again!
    *I did add a splash of cream to them, seemed appropriate for a coffee cocktail.

  7. Excited to try the vanilla espresso martini and I’m obsessed with the goblet, in your pics. Do you remember where you got that goblet?

    Thanks so much for all your hard work!


    1. Hey Alli,
      You will use the whole pod. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions. Happy Thanksgiving! xTieghan

  8. Can’t wait to make this! Quick question… it says to bring water, honey, and vanilla to a boil to make the syrup, but I don’t see water listed in the ingredients. Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t supposed to add any water to the money mixture. Thanks for the wonderful recipes.

    1. Hey Melissa,
      You are going to use 1/4 cup of water. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions. Happy Thanksgiving! xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    love white russians too and that this was the inspiration for these martinis, another fun cocktail for, as you write, kicking off the holiday season, so thank you!

  10. Hello! I am also a huge fan of White Russians. My sister and I made your whipped coffee version and it was awesome.

    For this one I’m curious as to what type of vanilla bean you used and where you get them? The good ones can be expensive. Nonetheless I’m thinking this Christmas will need that delicious speed ballin’ alcohol and caffeine combo. 😉 Thanks for your awesome recipes!