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This peppermint espresso martini is the perfect cocktail to serve during the holiday season! Made with a homemade candy cane simple syrup, this is a creamy espresso martini that everyone will love.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It’s perfect for the holiday season! Serve this anytime throughout the holiday months. It is great for a Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years’ Party.
- This martini is similar to this baileys espresso martini. They are both rich & creamy sweet dessert-like drinks that are suitable as an after dinner drink or for a fancy, weekend brunch.
- The drink is made with a homemade peppermint simple syrup, which gives the drink a pure peppermint flavor. This homemade syrup tastes better, and is much cheaper than store bought peppermint syrup.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Candy Canes: Candy canes are used to make the peppermint simple syrup, which gives the espresso martini all of its candy cane flavor. Therefore, it is important to use classic, peppermint-flavored candy canes. The color of the candy canes will affect what color the syrup is, but the taste will be the same regardless of the candy cane color.
- Sugar & Water: Granulated sugar and water are heated together with the candy canes to make the simple syrup. Use filtered water to avoid any unpleasant tastes from tap water.
- Espresso: Use high quality, freshly brewed espresso. As a second best option, use strongly brewed coffee. As a last resort, use a good quality instant espresso.
- Kahlua: Kahlua is a coffee-flavored liqueur and works perfectly for this cocktail. You can also use Tia Maria, which is slightly less sweet, as a substitute.
- Vodka: Typically, all espresso martinis contain vodka. Use your favorite brand of vodka. Some vodka brands include Tito’s, Absolut or Smirnoff. This martini would also go well with a vanilla-flavored vodka. If you don’t like vodka, you can substitute it with rum or gin. Or, try this gin espresso martini for a purely gin-based espresso martini.
- Cream: A dash of heavy cream is what gives this drink its rich, creamy texture. However, if you prefer, you can leave it out for a stronger coffee flavor.
- A saucepan to make the candy cane simple syrup in.
- A cocktail shaker to make the espresso martini in.
- Coupe glasses or martini glasses to serve the cocktail in.
Step By Step Ingredients
Step 1: Add the crushed candy canes, sugar and water to a saucepan. Heat over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally.
Step 2: Bring the mixture to a very gentle simmer. If it begins to boil, reduce the heat. Continue to stir until the candy canes have completely melted, about 7 minutes. Remove the syrup from the stove and let it cool.
Step 3: Add the Kahlua, vodka, peppermint syrup, heavy cream and espresso to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds. Strain and pour into a chilled martini glass.
- Use hot espresso. Even though the martini is served chilled, using hot espresso that has been freshly brewed creates the most creamy foam when shaken. Make sure the espresso is the last ingredient added to the cocktail shaker so it doesn’t have time to melt the ice.
- Rim the glasses with candy canes. To rim the glasses with crushed candy cane pieces, dip the edge of the martini glasses in peppermint syrup, followed by the crushed candy cane pieces. Press well so the chunks of candy cane stick. Then, let the glasses sit upside down for a few minutes so the syrup can solidify.
- Use garnishes. Besides the candy cane rim, you can also garnish this espresso martini with a sprinkle of cocoa powder as well as 3 coffee beans floating on top of the drink.
- Make a large batch of peppermint syrup. You can make a large batch of peppermint syrup ahead of time and store it in the fridge for the night of your party. This will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes you to prepare the cocktails fresh for your guests.
- Adjust the sweetness. This is quite a sweet dessert espresso martini. If you don’t like sweet drinks, decrease the amount of peppermint syrup by half. You can also double the amount of vodka and/or espresso.
Use hot, freshly brewed espresso. Hot espresso creates more frothy foam when it is shaken.
Store leftover peppermint syrup in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to 1 to 2 weeks.
If you have extra peppermint syrup, you can use it to make a bunch of other drinks including peppermint lattes and peppermint mocha hot chocolate. See the full peppermint syrup recipe for more ideas.
Yes, you can use store bought peppermint syrup, but it may give the drink a more artificial flavor. You also may need to adjust the amount of syrup added as some syrups are stronger than others.