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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. 5 stars
    Fabulous take on an espresso martini….the vanilla syrup adds a great twist. Have made (and enjoyed) this one many (a lot) times!

    1. Hey Tracey,
      Happy Friday!! I appreciate you trying this recipe and sharing your review, so glad to hear it was a hit!⛄️ xT

  2. 4 stars
    I made this for my husband and me for New Year’s Eve. It’s got all the things I love! My only question would be about the syrup. I made it as instructed, but it basically got cold in the shaker and didn’t incorporate into the drink. I think if I make again, I’ll put it in the espresso cup so it incorporates with the espresso before it’s chilled.

    1. Hey Rachel,
      I appreciate you giving this recipe a try and sharing your review, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Yes, you definitely want to incorporate nicely. Happy New Year! 🎊🎈

  3. 5 stars
    What a hit! This espresso vanilla martini is delicious. The vanilla honey syrup made it extra yummy. file:///var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments/d9/09/0EB6FA6C-1961-4BEC-9BCF-073F41FCF742/View%20recent%20photos.jpeg

    1. Hey Nancy,
      Happy Monday!!☃️ I truly appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your review, so glad it was enjoyed! xT

  4. 5 stars
    Really enjoyed this recipe. The vanilla sugar on the rim and the honey syrup made the drinks extra special. Will DEFINITELY be making this recipe again!

    1. Hi Carrie,
      Thank you so much for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was a winner! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! xx

  5. I have a jar of instant espresso that I haven’t found a use for – would that work here? After following the directions and mixing with hot water of course

    1. Hey Evelyn,
      Yes, maple syrup will be great to use in place of the honey! Please let me know if you have any other questions! Cheers! xx

  6. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! A little advance work, but worth it. Best martini I’ve ever had, let alone made. One warning: these go down smoothly and quickly.

    1. Hi Monica,
      Sure, just increase your serving size to the number of your liking and the ingredients will adjust for you. Please let me know if you have any other questions! Cheers! xx

    1. Hey Brittany,
      Sure, that should work well for you! Please let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! Cheers! xx

    1. Hi Lisa,
      I always recommend that if the nutritional information is important to you, you use your own personal calculator. Ours is automatic and controlled by google. It’s not something we’d prefer to be using. We are required to. I’m sorry for the trouble, we do our best! Hope you enjoy the recipe! xT

  7. 5 stars
    Yum! These are so so good! We made these for a girls brunch and they were a hit. The vanilla honey makes this drink extra delicious. Love!

    1. Hey Dara,
      Wonderful! I am thrilled to hear this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for giving it a go! Happy New Year!? xTieghan

  8. Hi! With the vanilla honey do I use the entire vanilla bean? The jar I got has 2 very long ones and wasn’t sure if I need to just use a small piece or the whole thing?! Making these NYE ?

    1. Hi Laurie,
      You will want to use the whole vanilla bean. Please let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! Cheers! xTieghan

    2. 5 stars
      I made your espresso martinis last year for Christmas and they were delicious! Did you have a recipe with a chocolate rim? I’m struggling to find it!

      1. Hey Kate,
        Thanks so much!! So sorry I don’t, but you could easily make a chocolate rim! Please let me know if you have any other questions! Cheers! xT